In today’s agricultural landscape, people are bombarded with toxic chemicals, nutritionally-weak food, and harmful food practices. It can be overwhelming, to say the least, especially because marketing teams have caught onto people’s desire to be healthy and do everything they can to convince you that stuff that isn’t good for you actually is. When it comes to health and diet, the little choices you make every day add up. With that in mind, the following will explore just one positive tweak you can make: including more malt in your diet.
What Is Malt?
Before diving into methods of incorporating malt into your diet, it might be worth exploring what malt is and why you might want to get a little more of it in your days. If you’ve heard of malt, you probably associate it with malted milk balls or milkshakes, but it’s actually something that is incredibly versatile. There are lots of non-dessert uses for malt.
It’s a cereal grain, similar to barley, that has been dried out in a malting process. The grain is soaked in water so that it can sprout, and then hot air is used to dry the grain and stop germination. This process helps the grain produce an enzyme that breaks starches into shorter chain sugars. There are also enzymes that break proteins within the gran into amino acids that can be used by yeast. Malt labeled diastatic contains active enzymes, whereas malt labeled nondiastatic has the enzymes deactivated.
The flavour tends to be nutty and rich. Some people say it tastes similar to caramel. For these reasons, it’s used by some to replace sugary ingredients in certain meals and recipes.
Malt contains several vitamins as well as minerals, microminerals, dietary silicon (which helps support bone health), B-complex vitamins, and amino acids. It also supports digestive health by encouraging the growth of rich probiotic cultures in the gut. Further, malt supports healthy cholesterol levels, boosts mood, and enhances the digestibility of cereal grains by reducing the antinutrients found within.
One of the easiest ways to get more malt in your diet is to include it in the smoothies or shakes you’re already having. You can easily find packages of powdered malt and simply sprinkle some into your blender when adding all the other ingredients you enjoy. The nutty flavour tends to go well with fruits.
When making smoothies, it’s important to consider what packaged foods you include. Things like almond milk are not automatically healthy simply because they have a healthy ingredient (almonds, in this instance). Be sure to read the nutrition labels and note ingredients as well as things like the sugar content.
Some stellar ingredients to include in addition to malt are wild berries, spinach, chia seeds, and maca root. You might also like the zing of lemons or ginger.
As An Alternative Sweetener In Baked Goods
Malt can be used in place of sugars or other sweeteners when baking. It is important to note that it is technically classified as an added sugar, and this means that those who have to watch their sugar intake for a particular health reason like blood sugar issues, obesity, or diabetes should make sure that they’re following their doctor’s treatment plan. Just like fruits and other natural foods, you cannot assume that malt is complete without sugars.
Banana bread, nut bread, zucchini muffins, streusel bars, and brownies can all be made with malt powder. Of course, desserts shouldn’t be a staple in your meal plan, but having sweet treats, especially for special occasions, can be wonderful.
Malt Vinegar On Salads
One of the most fantastic ways to take your salads to the next level is to make your own salad dressing. At the minimum, a salad dressing can just be a healthy oil mixed with vinegar, but you can also add things like red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic, or other spices or herbs.
Consider using fresh and local produce that’s organic if you want to notch up the health of your salad. This is especially important for the lettuce portion of the meal, as lettuce has a large surface area, and this makes it particularly susceptible to pesticide residue.
Malt vinegar can be used in the pickling process just like other types of vinegar. In particular, they make stellar pickled onions. If you want traditional English-style pickled onions, you’re probably looking for pearl onions. Peel them and then leave them in a covered bowl full of cold water. Drain the water into a saucepan and add salt, boiling the water until the salt dissolves.
Let the brine cool, and then pour it over your onions, making sure that they stay submerged for 24 hours. Once that’s done, you can mix your malt vinegar, pickling spices, and bay leaves in a saucepan and boil it all for 5 minutes.
Rinse off your onions, dry them and add them to the saucepan, simmering for two to three minutes. Then pack the onions into a sterilized jar and make sure they’re completely covered in brine. If you want, you can add a dried chilli pepper into the mix to add a kick. Keep the sealed jar in a cool dark place for a minimum of six weeks before opening.
Sweedish rye bread, otherwise known as limpa bread. You’ll need:
- Boiling water
- A teaspoon each of fennel seed, cumin seeds, caraway seeds
- A quarter cup of cracked wheat
- 2 and 1/4 tablespoons butter
- 2 and 1/4 tablespoons barley malt
- 1 and 1/2s of rye flower
- 1 and 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 2 teaspoons of dry, active yeast
- 2 teaspoons of gluten flour
- 3 tablespoons of powdered buttermilk
- An orange for zesting
Combine your seeds, cracked wheat, butter, barley malt, and zested orange into 1 and ⅓ cups of boiling water. Let it soak for an hour. Then add your seed mixture along with baking soda, flour, yeast, gluten, and buttermilk powder into the pan of a bread machine. You’re aiming for a white bread/light crust setting.
The above information should have drawn your attention to several ways you can include more malt into your diet. It’s important to remember that when it comes to health, variety is key. It’s far better to have a little bit of a whole bunch of different healthy things than to have a ton of just one or two things. Likewise, it’s always ideal to find local sources whenever possible. Food begins to lose nutrition the moment after it’s picked (or cut from an animal, when it comes to meat), and this means the shorter the distance your food needs to travel before it gets to you, the higher the nutritional content.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.