World barley production is over 155 million tonnes annually. Most of the world’s barley is grown and produced in regions where cereal crops like maize and rice cannot grow well.


Barley (Hordeum VULGARE) is an ancient cereal grain crop that ranked fifth in dry matter production in the world. It is known as Jow. Barley belongs to the poaceae family and genus Hordeum; there are 32 species and 45 taxa in Hordeum.

World barley production is over 155 million tonnes annually. Most of the world’s barley is grown and produced in regions where cereal crops like maize and rice cannot grow well. Barley is the most widely adapted cereal grain species grown at higher latitudes and altitudes.

Barley grain crop has a long, twisted appearance. Its grain contains embryo, endosperm, aleurone, pericarp, Testa, and husk. Today, barley remains important in some cultures, particularly in Asia and North Africa, due to its high nutritional value.

Barley is used as a whole grain meal and provides fibre, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients may enhance heart health, help prevent cancer, and reduce inflammation. Barley has beta-glucan compounds in it, which is why it can also be used for the production of Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic beverages and many more.

Barley is considered the most genetically diverse grain because it is classified as winter or spring barley , two-row or six-row barley, hulled or hull less barley.

Genetic diversity provides a strong opportunity to identify barley varieties for specific use and value. Barley was used mainly as nourishing human food, but later on, barley largely evolved into Animal feed and Malting in most parts of the developed world.

According to recent food health claims from the USFDA (2006), EU EFSA (2011), and Health Canada (2012), Barley grain crop can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease and have the ability to reduce the rise in blood glucose after a meal.

Studies show that over 360,000 people with the highest consumption of whole grains, such as barley, had a 17% lower risk of death from all causes, including cancer and diabetes, as compared to those with the lowest whole-grain intake.

Many medical associations, such as the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association, recommend including whole-grain cereals such as barley in your daily diet. Barley has a high dietary fibre content, which is beneficial for diabetics, especially due to its water-soluble -glucan.

Also, its favourable effect on diabetes may be related to its high content of chromium. In addition, its combination with other foods results in a significant improvement in postprandial glycemic response due to increased gastrointestinal viscosity.

Most commonly, barley grain contains fibrous hulls that stick to the caryopsis. Barley is also a rich source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, and pyridoxine, which is vitamin 6. The main components of barley grain are carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, ash, vitamins, and phenolic compounds.

A typical grain of barley contains 60.7% starch, 15.1% protein, 2.7% fat, 1.5% sugar, 5.7% -glucan,  20.6% dietary fibre, and 2.1% ash, depending on the variety, whether covered or naked barley. Barley is used in cereals, stews, soups, porridge, baking flour mixes, and baby foods.

With the development of technologies, functional components in barley grains, such as -glucan and tocols, can be efficiently extracted and concentrated, and with the development of barley genome sequencing and gene-editing technologies, the production and health benefits of Barley will be enhanced.

Barley is a cereal grain that has a nutty flavour and chewy texture. Archaeological evidence shows that barley was grown in Egypt 10,000 years ago. Through-pearl barley has nutritional value, but hulled barley is healthier because of its higher fibre content.

One-half cup (100 grams) of uncooked, hulled barley contains the following: calories: 354, carbs: 73.5 grams, Fibre: 17.3 grams, Protein: 12.5 grams, Fat: 2.3 grams, Thiamine: 43%; Riboflavin: 17%; Niacin: 23%; Vitamin B6: 16%; Folate: 5%; Iron: 20%; Magnesium: 33%; Phosphorus: 26%; Potassium: 13; Zinc: 18%; Copper: 25%; Manganese: 97%; Selenium: 54%.

Barley husk usually contains about 10–16% of the total dry weight of the grain and consists mainly of arabinoxylan, cellulose, lignin, other phenolic compounds, and protein. In naked barley, the husk is removed during threshing, while in covered barley, the husk remains associated with the pericarp tissue. Barley comes in a variety of different forms, including pearl barley, hulled barley, barley flakes, and barley grits.

However, like all whole grains, barley also contains anti-nutrients, so try soaking and sprouting the grain to reduce the anti-nutrients. Barley can largely lessen hunger and thus aid in weight loss. Research suggests that consuming a diet rich in vitamin B-6 and folate may help reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine.

Having high levels of homocysteine increases the risk of heart disease. Barley contains gluten, so it is not suitable for people with celiac disease.

We can use barley in our diet by trying barley flakes as a breakfast porridge instead of oats, adding it to soups and stews, mixing barley flour with wheat flour in baked goods, making a grain salad with cooked barley, vegetables, and dressing, eating it as a side dish instead of rice or quinoa, and trying drinking barley water.