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A member of the grass family that serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Like wheat and rye, barley contains gluten which makes it an unsuitable grain for consumption by those with celiac disease.

Barley is a widely adaptable crop. It is currently popular in temperate areas where it is grown as a summer crop and tropical areas where it is sown as a winter crop. Its germination time is anywhere from 1 to 3 days. Barley likes to grow under cool conditions but is not particularly winter hardy. Barley is more tolerant of soil salinity than wheat. Barley has a short growing season and is also relatively drought tolerant.

As Algicide: Barley straw is placed in mesh bags and floated in fish ponds or water gardens to help reduce algal growth without harming pond plants and animals.

As Animal Feed

As an ingredient for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage: A large part of the remainder is used for malting, for which barley is the best suited grain. It is a key ingredient in beer and whisky production. Non-alcoholic drinks such as barley water and barley tea have been made by boiling barley in water.

As Food: Barley contains eight essential amino acids. Eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar (i.e. reduce blood glucose response to a meal) for up to 10 hours after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain wheat, which has a similar glycemic index. The effect was attributed to colonic fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates. Barley can also be used as a coffee substitute.

Nutritional Composition:
Raw barley Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 1,474 kJ (352 kcal)
Carbohydrates 77.7 g - Sugars 0.8 g - Dietary fiber 15.6 g
Fat 1.2 g
Protein 9.9 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.2 mg (17%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.1 mg (8%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 4.6 mg (31%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.3 mg (6%)
Vitamin B6 0.3 mg (23%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 23 μg (6%)
Vitamin C 0.0 mg (0%)
Calcium 29.0 mg (3%)
Iron 2.5 mg (19%)
Magnesium 79.0 mg (22%)
Phosphorus 221 mg (32%)
Potassium 280 mg (6%)
Zinc 2.1 mg (22%)

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