Sprouting has become quite popular and with good reason! Here are 6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sprouting, along with sprouting tips and yummy recipes.
Remember the science project we had in school to study germination? We placed a chickpea in wet cotton and waited to see a tiny little shoot popping out of it. Little did we know then that that little sprout would become a buzzword in the health food industry!
We’ve already learnt this in school, but just to refresh your memory, sprouts are seeds that have germinated. When seeds are soaked for many hours, germination begins, provided the conditions of temperature and moisture are adequate. When left to grow for about a week, we can begin to see tiny sprouts emerging.
So what’s the big deal with sprouts? Sprouts aren’t just plain plant food – they’re much more superior than the seed that became the sprout. You can sprout all kinds of foods – dried beans, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The most commonly sprouted foods we see are mung beans, alfalfa and soy beans.
While the nutrient profile of sprouts depends upon what was sprouted, in general they are found to be low in calories, rich in fiber, protein and several other nutrients. This is probably the reason sprouts are a big part of Ayurvedic diet plans. Let’s take a closer look at why sprouts are such amazing super foods.
6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sprouting
1. Increases Absorption of Nutrients
When seeds or grains are left to sprout, it’s naturally predisposed to have the maximum concentration of nutrients to help the plant grow fully. When we harvest them at this stage, we get all these nutrients! Sprouting increases the amount of protein, folate,phosphorous, manganese, magnesium and Vitamins – they area available in more quantity than the unsprouted plant.
Another fact is that sprouts help us absorb these nutrients better. Plants contain a certain amount of anti nutrients, which hamper our body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the plant. However, sprouting reduces the concentration of anti nutrients – as much as 87% – making them much more easily absorbed by our bodies.
2. Improves Digestion
During germination, some of the starch in the plant is broken down, which is why sprouted grains have less starch, making them easier to digest than unsprouted grains. This is great news for those with intolerance or allergies to grains.
Sprouting also increases the amount of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk and helps move things along the digestive tract, reducing constipation and other associated issues like bloating, gassiness and indigestion.
3. Aids Weight Loss
Now this is a benefit we can all go after! Due to the low starch content, sprouts are low in calories while being high in nutrients. Sprouts also control the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which means we are less likely to eat in between meals.
The fiber helps to increase satiety and preventing overeating. It also causes fat and toxins to bind to the fiber, eventually getting eliminated from the body.
4. Provides Protein
With most Indians lacking protein in their diets, sprouts is a very important food to consider including in our meals. Protein is necessary for all basic body functions, and sprouts are an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians to get their fill of protein.
Sprouts contain more amino acids than un sprouted plants, as much as 30% more. They also contain high concentrations of Vitamins A, B, C and E which bind to the protein and help them get absorbed easily.
5. Maintains Heart Health
Sprouts contain a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids which help increase the good cholesterol in the body and reduce the bad. The Omega-3 fats also reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system, improving heart health in general. What’s more, sprouts are rich in potassium, a nutrient that lowers blood pressure and releases tension in the arteries.
6. Boosts Immunity
With seasonal afflictions affecting everyone from babies to adults, sprouts come to the rescue by boosting our immune systems. Sprouts are high in Vitamin C, the help our white blood cells fight off infections more effectively. Sprouts are also rich in Vitamin A, which contribute to strengthening our immune system.
7. Protects against Cancer
Sprouts aren’t so popular for nothing – they’re also a good guard against diseases like cancer. With an impressive lineup of Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes like glucoraphanin, sprouts can fight cancer-causing free radicals about 20 times more than un sprouted foods.
Sprouts also help alkalize the body, offering it protection from cancers. They can also support cell regeneration and inhibits the growth of abnormal cells.
Besides these benefits, sprouts are also good for the environment. They are easy to grow without needing any grassland, and since they can be locally cultivated they protect us from pesticides, additives and pollution caused due to transportation.
Tips for Buying and Using Sprouts
To get maximum benefits from sprouts, it is advised to eat them raw. However, this also brings with it the risk of food poisoning. Sprouts are grown in a warm, humid environment which is also the perfect setup for bacteria like salmonella, listeria and E.coli.
To avoid this it is recommended to follow some safety tips:
- You can follow this tutorial for sprouting mung beans
- When buying sprouts, buy them only from reliable sources
- Read the ingredient list for sprouted grains to see if they form the main constituent
- Sprouts should be stored in the fridge, at a temperature below 48°F
- Always wash sprouts thoroughly before using
- In case of doubt, cook the sprouts before consuming
- Use up sprouts within 3-4 days
- Throw away sprouts that have a strong smell or which look slimy
You can get 100% natural, homemade sprouted products here:
Sprouts Recipes for Kids
- Sprouted Sathumaavu Powder
- Sprouted Ragi Malt
- Mixed Sprouts Curry from Flavourama
- Kosambari from Madhu’s Everyday Indian
- Sprouted Wheat Pancakes from Picky Eater Blog
- Moong Sprouts Tikki from Yummy Tummy Aarthi
- Sprouted Moth Beans Frankie
- Sprouted Sathumaavu Dosa
- Moong Dal Sprouts Dosa
- Moong Sprout Paratha from Scratching Canvas
- Sprouted Wheat Crackers from Real Mom Nutrition
- Sprouted Ragi Chocolate Muffins