Barley is one of the largest feed grain crops produced in the world. Barley can be used for livestock feed, human food, and malt production. The total production of barley in the year 2019-20 stood approximately at around 156.41 million tons. This was an increase from the production of 140.6 million tons in the year 2018-19. Barley is one of the earliest grains to be cultivated by early humans across a wide range of climate and geographical areas. The origins of the barley can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The crop is grown in approximately 70 million hectares around the world. Developing countries alone account for about 18% (26 million tons). Some of the leading producers of barley in the world are the EU, Russia, Canada, and Ukraine. In India, the leading producers of barley are the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. Owing to its several applications, Barley has become one of the most traded commodities in the domestic as well as international market. Importers are procuring barley in bulk because of its great demand in recent decades. It also has several nutritional benefits. Some of them have been listed below-
- Helps in weight reduction: Regular consumption of barley helps in reducing hunger and providing a feeling of fullness, both of which indirectly lead to weight reduction. Beta-GLUCAN a soluble fiber is present in barley responsible for controlling unnecessary hunger. The fiber forms a gel-like substance that slows down the digestion process and absorption of nutrients. Research conducted has conclusively proved that Beta-GLUCAN is one of the most healthy fibers in circulation.
- Gallstone prevention: Sustained consumption of barley can assist in gallstone prevention that requires gallbladder surgery. Insoluble fibers present in the barley are the chief reason for preventing gallbladder surgery. Gall stones are solid particles that are formed spontaneously in the gall bladder. With time, stones can get stuck in the duct of the gall bladder causing intense pain. Such cases often lead to the removal of the gall bladder.
- Prevention against colon cancer: Barley is a grain-rich item. Regular consumption of whole grains helps in the prevention of many chronic diseases including certain cancer, especially those of the colon. The high fiber content of the barley is the chief reason for such preventions. Insoluble fibers help in reducing the time taken to clear the food from the gut. Soluble fibers also help in binding o harmful carcinogens in the gut and removing them from the body.
Uses in Malt-
Barley is extensively used for malt production. Globally, 30% of the total production is used for the production of malt and the remaining 70% for feed use. The reason for barley being used for malt is its husks. It protects the coleoptiles during the germination process and filtering. More than 90% of the malted barley is used for malting beer and the remaining for food substitutes. Barley malt can also be substituted into a lot of foodstuffs such as cake, biscuits, bread, and desserts.
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