Featured Super Food: Fabulous Sprouts!

We all know two sprouts pretty well, alfalfa and bean sprouts. But did you know that you can sprout almost any bean, seed, or grain? Think pea sprouts, lentil sprouts, chickpea sprouts, wheat berry sprouts and sunflower seed sprouts. And did you know you can make your own sprouts, and time of year in your kitchen with just a few easy steps? Sprouts are also a lot more versatile than you think; think outside the box of sandwich toppings and stirfry’s. You can also add them to salads, make dips with them, top any cooked foods with them to ensure you are getting some raw enzymes and vitamins, make bread from them (manna bread), or crush them and add them to your baking or cooking.

So why would you want to make your own sprouts? Well for starters, germinated seeds, or sprouts, are ridiculously cheap, easy to do, fun to make, and are one of the most nutritionally dense foods out there. You can have fresh raw food any time of year, locally made, in your kitchen! Sprouting increases the nutritional value of the seed in many ways. Sprouting increases the content of vitamins B2, B5 and B6. Vitamin C is created from sprouting a seed that otherwise would not have it (sprouts were used centuries ago by Chinese sailors to prevent scurvy). Sprouting increases the Carotene content of foods, sometimes eightfold. Sprouting also neutralizes phytic acids found in grains which can inhibit the absorption of calcium, iron, copper, magnesium and zinc. The process of sprouting produces live enzymes that are readily missing from our diets today, and which help us break down our food properly. (The importance of enzymes cannot be overemphasized-a lack of enzymes in our diets and our bodies contribute toward a variety of developmental diseases) Traditionally prepared grains were always sprouted first, including the ones used in bread making. This allows us to better digest, breakdown and absorb the nutrients in grains, and limits any negative reaction to eating breads or grains (such as the array of digestive disorders we commonly see today). Unfortunately, today’s common farming and food processing no longer germinates the grains before turning them into food, so we are left to take charge ourselves and soak and sprout our seeds, and grains. Look for ezekial bread (sprouted wheat), manna or other sprouted breads in your health section of your grocer (and ooh they are delicious) and try to soak your grains, nuts and seeds before eating or cooking with them. This will ensure you get more from your food and limit any digestive side effects that may occur. In addition, experiment with different sprouts and include them in your diet every week. Your body will thank you with extra energy and vitality and improved digestion!

Sprouting Benefits

  • enzymes are activated (extremely valuable to your health-look for upcoming blog info on enzymes)
  • vitamin content increased 3 to 12 times
  • very inexpensive
  • proteins converted to a more easily digestible form
  • minerals are chelated (chemically bound to an amino acid) so more easiliy absorbed by the body
  • sprouted or germinated seeds contain vitamin C not otherwise found in the grain/nut/seed
  • increases our absorption rate of many minerals
  • Decreases gas and improves digestion

Sprouts truly are one amazing superfood that is perfect for this time of year when we are cleansing our bodies and diets and beginning to add more cooling, raw foods to our meals.

Posted on Friday March 20, 2009 by Kerri Cooper