Malted grains are a great source of protein, fiber, and B vitamins. They also contain some carbohydrates, which can be converted into energy by the body.
These types of grains are usually found in cereals like oats or wheat and can take a number of different forms including flakes, puffs, or even granules.
We took a closer look at malted grains, including their nutritional benefits and how to cook them.
What Are Malted Grains?
Malted grains are simply grains that have been germinated (sprouted) before being dried. This process allows the grain to grow more quickly than it would if left alone.
The sprouting process is what gives malted grains their unique flavor and texture.
The Most Common Malted Grains
The most common malted grains include barley, rye, oats, and wheat, and we took a closer look at these below.
Barley is one of the oldest cultivated cereal crops and has been used for thousands of years as a food staple.
It’s often referred to as “the staff of life” because it contains all eight essential amino acids needed by the human body.
Barley is rich in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, vitamin E, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, calcium, sodium, and selenium.
Rye is another ancient grain that was first domesticated around 10,000 BC.
Like barley, rye is an excellent source of nutrients, including minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It’s also high in fiber, making it a good choice for those looking to lose weight.
Oats are a nutritious whole grain that’s packed with antioxidants and other important nutrients.
Oats are gluten-free, so they’re a great option for people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. They also offer a good source of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels.
Wheat is the most popular grain on Earth, accounting for over half of global production.
Wheat is a complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids, plus many other nutrients. It’s a good source of dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and iron.
How Are Malted Grains Processed?
Malted grains are processed by soaking them in water, then drying them out using heat. During this process, the grains undergo a fermentation process called saccharification.
Saccharification occurs when enzymes break down complex sugars into simple sugars, allowing the grains to ferment and produce alcohol.
This type of processing makes malted grains easier to digest and absorb. In addition, the process creates a softer texture and richer taste.
Once malted grains are processed, they become ready to eat. However, there are two main ways that malted grains are prepared: through brewing and through baking.
When malted grains are brewed, they undergo a fermentation process similar to beer brewing. During this process, enzymes break down starches into sugars, creating alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.
Afterward, the fermented malt is separated from the liquid and dried.
In contrast, malted grains can be baked like bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, and pastries. When malted grains are baked, they undergo a different fermentation process.
Instead of producing alcohol, the grains create lactic acid, which produces a tangy flavor and tender texture.
Which Malted Grains Should You Buy?
There are several types of malted grains available today. Here are some of the best options:
1. Barley Malt
Barley malt is made from malted barley. This type of malt is commonly used in beers and ales. The color of barley malt ranges from light brown to dark amber.
The advantages of barley malt include:
- Low Glycemic Index
One of the main advantages of barley is that it has a low glycemic index (GI). A low GI means that your blood sugar will not spike after eating foods made with barley.
Low GIs help you avoid insulin spikes, which can lead to fat storage.
- High Fiber Content
Barley is a good source of dietary fiber, which may help reduce cholesterol and prevent heart diseases.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Barley contains more than 10% of the daily value of magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
These elements play an important role in bone health, immune system function, energy metabolism, and cardiovascular health.
2. Rye Malt
Rye malt is made from malting rye. This type of malt has a slightly sweet flavor and is often used as a flavoring agent in food products such as bread, rolls, crackers, and biscuits.
Rye malt has the following benefits:
- Low Glycemic Index
Like barley malt, rye malt has a low glycemic response. This means that your blood sugar won’t spike after consuming foods made with rye malt.
- High Dietary Fiber Content
Rye malt is rich in dietary fiber. It also helps lower cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.
3. Wheat Malt
As the name suggests, wheat malt is made from malts produced from wheat. This type of malt provides a nutty flavor and aroma.
Wheat malt also has a low glycemic response, and so it doesn’t cause a sudden rise in blood glucose levels.
This allows people who have diabetes or pre-diabetes to enjoy foods made with wheat malt without worrying about their blood sugar levels.
Oats are one of the most popular malted grains on the market. They are used for making oatmeal, oatmeal, and other breakfast cereals.
Oats contain many nutrients including vitamins B6, E, and K, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. In addition, oats are high in soluble fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract healthy.
5. Corn Malt
Corn malt is made by fermenting corn kernels. It is used to make corn syrup, corn starch, and corn oil.
Corn malt has a milder taste compared to other malted grains. However, this type of malt is still very useful because it adds sweetness to foods.
6. Sorghum Malt
Sorghum malt is made from sorghum seeds. Sorghum malt is similar to corn malt in terms of its nutritional content. However, it tastes sweeter than corn malt.
What Are The Benefits of Malted Grains?
Malted grains are widely used in the production of beer, ale, whiskey, and wine. They provide essential nutrients and minerals that contribute to human health.
There are also many benefits associated with consuming malted grains. Here are some of the top reasons why you should add them to your diet:
They’re Rich in Nutrients
Malted grains are packed full of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, and folate.
They also offer high levels of Vitamin B12, which can be hard to obtain even from a healthy diet, and this is important in
maintaining a healthy immune system.
Malted grains also contain high levels of calcium, which is important in helping to build and maintain strong bones, as well as iron – this is needed for red blood cell formation – and magnesium, an essential nutrient that helps build muscles and nerves.
It also contributes to normal muscle contraction and boosts overall health and well-being.
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance in the body. It also aids in nerve transmission and helps maintain proper muscle function, and can be found in malted grains.
They Have Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants protect the body by neutralizing harmful substances called free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to cells in the body and may lead to cancer.
Malted grains are high in antioxidants, so they can help reduce the risk of disease.
They Can Help With Weight Loss
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who ate whole-grain foods lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet.
Whole grains include bran, germ, and endosperm – all parts of the grain that are beneficial to health.
They Can Improve Digestion
Whole grains are easier to digest than refined grains, which means they provide sustained energy throughout the day. This makes them ideal if you suffer from digestive problems like IBS or constipation.
They Can Lower Blood Pressure
Whole grains are a great source of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the body. Fiber has also been shown to improve digestion, and research suggests it could play a role in lowering blood pressure.
They Can Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is found in animal products, but not in plants. Studies show that eating whole grains can significantly reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase good (HDL) cholesterol.
They Can Aid In Brain Health
The human brain consumes about 20 percent of our daily calories. Eating healthy carbohydrates, including malted grains, can boost memory retention and prevent cognitive decline.
Protein is an essential building block of cells and plays a crucial role in maintaining good health. Malted grains are a great source of protein, and can help you build strength and muscle.
Malted grains are often overlooked, but they can offer a wide number of health benefits and advantages that can make them worth adding to your diet.