Wheat and barley are both very popular grains that are farmed and used all over the world. Both in animal food and ours, the cereals serve a great function in everyday life for millions of people and animals around the world. However, there are key differences between these two grains that set them apart from each other.
Wheat is a part of the grass family and the grains are actually the fruit of the wheat plant. Though when processed it looses many of its health benefits, consuming wheat in its whole grain form can bring a mirage of health benefits. It is relatively high in protein, a great source of fiber, and a significant source of manganese. Whole wheat also contains other important minerals such as copper, zinc, iron, and phosphorous. It is also a great source of niacin, different types of vitamin B, and vitamin E. However, it is important to remember that when wheat is processed, the parts of the grain that contain these health benefits are often thrown out, meaning that many of these health benefits diminish in final products. Wheat is also most often not eaten by itself, but is rather used to make other things, meaning the nutritional value of wheat products also depends on the other ingredients of the food.
Similarly to wheat, barley is also a part of the grass family, with the fruit of the plant being used in products. Barley is a great source of fiber, especially because it still contains a lot of fiber even after being processed. specifically, it has a special type of fiber that is great for lowering bad cholesterol and balancing blood sugar. It is also a good source of copper, magnesium, and zinc. Barley also provides thiamine and riboflavin, which are important for maintaining healthy bodily functions. Similarly to wheat however, barley also loses many nutrients during processing.
Overall, both grains have similar qualities. However, if you are looking to boost your fiber intake, barley is the way to go!