Sprouting is the ultimate do-it-yourself way to work sustainable and nutrient dense raw foods into your meal repertoire. Soaking seeds and legumes unlocks protective enzyme inhibitors and prepares seeds for germination (growth)! Start this super-simple process at home in your kitchen, to reap the nutritional benefits of sprouts and do your carbon footprint a favour while you’re at it. Let’s check out the benefits of sprouting:
- Enzymes – Sprouts are packed with enzymes. When the seed starts to germinate it comes alive with enzymes to support its growth. Enzymes are beneficial for your body, helping to break down foods so your body can more readily absorb their nutrients. You can add sprouts to anything; sandwiches, salads, as garnish on soups or dips — just to name a few.
- High Net-Gain Food – Plants need nutrients in order to grow; seeds provide the first nutrients needed to nourish the sprouting plant before it takes root. As soon as the germination process starts, the sprouting plant starts breaking down the seed — conveniently this increases its bioavailability of nutrients and renders them more digestible.1 For example, carbohydrates start to break down into their simplest form; protein transform into amino acids and fats into essential fatty acids.2 The available nutrients become much more efficient for the plant to grow, and for the human body to use as nourishment.
- Zero Mile Diet – Especially during the winter months in northern latitudes, our produce travels a fair amount to reach our grocery markets. Sprouting at home is a great way to grow nutritious greens without having to venture to your nearest grocery or farmers market. You can sprout any seed or legume in a large mason jar, or micro greens (like pea shouts) in a sprouting tray.
- Chlorophyll – Chlorophyll’s primary function is its role in photosynthesis — essentially, chlorophyll is the blood of a plant. For human consumption, chlorophyll has antioxidant properties, containing essential minerals that make it a source of energy.3 Packed with chlorophyll, sprouts and micro greens are an easy way to add maintenance-supporting foods into your diet.
- Phytonutrients and Antioxidants – Phytonutrients are shown to host impressive health benefits, and sprouts have their fair share. For example, sulforaphane and glucoraphanin, compounds found in broccoli sprouts, have the potential to offer cellular protection and cardiovascular support due to their antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties.4,5 These benefits are specific to broccoli sprouts; however, there is a myriad of antioxidants, vitamins, and phytonutrients found in other sprouts as well.
Stay tuned for next week’s step by step guide to sprouting!
1Sulieman, Mashair A., et al. (2008) Effect of Sprouting on Chemical Composition and Amino Acid Content of Sudanese Lentil Cultivars. Journal of Applied Sciences, 8 (12): 2337-2340. Retrieved February 25, 2013 from: http://www.docsdrive.com/pdfs/ansinet/jas/2008/2337-2340.pdf
2Bewley, D., Black M. 1994 Physiology of Development and Germination. Plenum Press. P 293-295.
3Brazier, B. 2007. The Thrive Diet. Penguin Group. P. 48.
4“Sulforaphone Glucosinolate Monograph,” (2010) Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics,. P. 352-357.
5Brarakoti, Lotika, and Bains, Kiran. (2007) Effect of household processing on the in vitro bioavailability of iron in mungbean (Vigna radiata). Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 28, no. 1, The United Nations University. Retrieved February 25, 2013 from: http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/nsinf/03795721/v28n1/s2.pdf?expires=1361913646&id=73067283&titleid=41000042&accname=Guest+User&checksum=328568BA10D152F434307FBBC02A9A42
contributed to Vega Newsletter: http://myvega.com/blog/2013/supercharge-your-seeds-and-legumes