Barley malt extract is a syrup created from the sprouting of barley seeds that are then ground and toasted. It could be seen as a method to turn complex carbohydrates into a simple sugar compound to produce a flavouring agent as well as a subtle sweetener. Barley malt extract is a vital component of the malt extract market. Barley malt extract is barley that is germinated and left outside to dry. The extract is then ground and mixed with water. The barley is then concentrated into a dissolvable fibre that is obtained by heating and sprouting the grain of barley. After the grain begins to sprout, enzymes that convert the barley starch into sugar are generated. The sugar is removed from the barley by soaking it in water. These are the steps needed to obtain barley malt extract that is dark coloured but tastes sweet with a syrup-like consistency.
Uses of barley malt extract
Along with being sweet, amino acids, simple protein and Vitamin B are found in barley malt extract. Barley is a widely-used sugar substitute in healthy foods and even as a sweetener in tonic beverages. Cod liver oil mixed with barley malt extract could be effective as a dietary supplement. The main medicinal use of barley malt extract is the promotion of bowel health by way of regular bowel movements.
Packed with nutrient goodness
Barley malt extract is stuffed to the brim with sugars and nutrients such as riboflavin and Vitamin A. Barley malt extract is an important part of confectionary and flavoured drinks. After World War II, it was quite popular as a cost-effective dietary supplement for an entire generation of underfed children who required a high carbohydrate and high vitamin intake. At that time, its flavour was typically combined with nutritious but unpalatable cod liver oil that is rich in Vitamin D. It was deployed as a strengthening medicine to shield against the occurrence of rickets. Barley malt extract can increase the Vitamin B content of any beverage it is used in as it is rich in niacin, thiamine, Vitamin B-6 and folate. The amount can differ depending upon the malt beverage in question. B vitamins play a vital role in metabolising fat, protein and carbohydrates found in food into energy. The vitamins also promote good vision, regulate the appetite and keep the skin fresh and healthy.
Health benefits galore
Malt extract has a number of health benefits when consumed in moderation. Some of the main ones are –
- Bone strength – Good nutrition goes a long way in bone health. While malt extract beverages are not directly responsible for the nutrients needed by bones for good health, they can help boost the intake. Along with calcium, malt extract drinks could contain magnesium and phosphorus that are needed to keep bones strong and healthy. These three minerals are the primary components of bones and magnesium is also required for regulating the hormones concerned with mineral metabolism.
- Amino acids – Malt extract is a good source of essential amino acids needed by the body to create protein. Malt extract beverages provide a very small amount of the essential nutrients that help boost the intake.
- Reduced hypertension – There are several occasions where science seems to contradict itself. In a study conducted in 2008, it was seen that men troubled by high blood pressure had a lower probability of a heart attack if they consumed alcohol in moderation! This is largely because drinking any alcoholic beverage such as beer in moderation increases the high-density lipoprotein i.e. the good cholesterol level in the body.
It must be remembered, however, that anything consumed in excess is harmful to the body. While it is fine to include malt extract beverages in the diet, they should only be one part of a healthy diet to ensure that the body receives all the nutrients required from all possible sources. Even the malt extract beverages so heavily promoted as a nutrient cornucopia still have a low protein and high sugar level, which is why moderation is key.