We’ve talked about the health benefits of sprouted vegetables, but you’ve probably heard more about sprouted nuts, seeds, beans and grains lately. What’s the big deal? Why have them sprouted?
Grains, beans, seeds and nuts all contain phytic acid, the storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues. Parts of the phytic acid molecules in grains and nuts actually bind to other important minerals like calcium, iron and zinc. The phosphorus is not actually available.
Phytic acid also inhibits the enzymes that assist us in digesting our food, like pepsin and amylase. This is why a diet heavy in grains can be very harmful to a person’s health. If you are unable to digest your food, then you are unable to extract the nutrients necessary to thrive. The consumption of too many foods high in phytic acid can be especially detrimental to our bones because calcium binds to phytic acids and becomes insoluble.
During the sprouting process, enzymes are released and they break down protein and carbohydrates. This process makes the food easier to digest, which is especially helpful for those with a weak digestive system. Since all of the nutrients are broken down, the body can absorb them more easily and they are not lost in the digestive process.
Are you ready to try sprouting?
When most people think of sprouts, they think of those long stringy things that they may or may not enjoy on a sandwich. Those are often alfalfa sprouts, but other vegetables can be sprouted as well. Best of all, they provide extra nutrition and flavor.
What is a sprout?
Sprouts are essentially the first tender stems of a plant. Once a seed has been germinated, it begins to push out tiny leaves. Once they begin to sprout, they produce new enzymes that help them stay alive above the ground.
Benefits of sprouts
Sprouts are packed with nutritional benefits, but they all vary depending on the type of sprout. They may contain everything from vitamins A, B, C, E and K, to magnesium, calcium, amino acids and antioxidants. As sprouts grow, they actually convert some of their sugar to vitamin C, a great immune booster!
Save with sprouts
Sprouts are an affordable way to get additional nutrition. Just 1 pound of seeds can yield up to 8 pounds of sprouts! You’ll often find them at farmer’s markets and health food stores, but if you really love sprouts, don’t be afraid to grow them yourself. The possibilities are endless.
Which seeds can you sprout?
Here are a few to get you started. Remember that each will provide a different flavor.
How to eat sprouts
Add them to a sandwich, wrap or pita
Top off a salad
Add them to hummus or other dips
Top off a bowl of soup
Have you ever tried sprouting before? What kind of sprouts do you enjoy?