12 Reasons To Eat Sprouts, A Living Food With Amazing Health Benefits
A true sprout is the baby which comes out of the seed the day it is born to life. Sprouts when born are given all the nutrients they will ever need, including all enzymes and proteins. When you consume sprouts you are consuming a living food that metabolically works with the human body effortlessly. Considering the many health and environmental benefits, if you haven't considered adding sprouts to your diet, here are 9 reasons to why you should start.
The health benefits of grains are entirely dependent on how they are eaten. Refined, processed grains are stripped of most of their nutrients, as the bran and the germ are removed. This is done in order to be able to preserve the grain for longer periods. When making white flour, over half of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fibre are lost.
Eating refined grains has negative health effects, and they can directly contribute to problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, hyperglycaemia, and diabetes. True health comes from living foods. Eating sprouts can make you feel alive and energized. Here are the top 12 reasons to eat sprouts:
1. Experts estimate that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables. Enzymes are special types of proteins that act as catalysts for all your body’s functions. Extracting more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat ensures that your body has the nutritional building blocks of life to ensure every process works more effectively.
2. When you say protein, the first things on people’s minds are meat, chicken, fish, egg, and dairy products. What most people do not know is that sprouts are also very high in protein. In fact, they can contain up to 35 percent protein. Adding sprouts to your diet will give you the necessary protein intake required by your body minus the fat, cholesterol, and calories that typically come with animal meats. Sprouts are also highly recommended for vegans and vegetarians.
3. The quality and fiber of the protein in the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains improves when it is sprouted. Proteins change during the soaking and sprouting process, improving its nutritional value. The amino acid lysine, for example, which is needed to prevent cold sores and to maintain a healthy immune system increases significantly during the sprouting process. The fiber not only binds to fats and toxins in our body to escort them out, it ensures that any fat our body breaks down is moved quickly out of the body before it can resorb through the walls of the intestines.
4. Since sprouts are also high in fiber and low in calorie, they can contribute positively to any weight loss diet plan. Eating sprouts will let you enjoy nutrients without the extra calories. It will also make you feel fuller and stave off hunger longer. If you are looking for a way to lose weight, include sprouts in your diet.
5. Vitamin content increases dramatically. This is especially true of vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E. The vitamin content of some seeds, grains, beans, or nuts increases by up to 20 times the original value within only a few days of sprouting. Research shows that during the sprouting process mung beansprouts (or just beansprouts, as they are often called) increase in vitamin B1 by up to 285 percent, vitamin B2 by up to 515 percent, and niacin by up to 256 percent.
6. Essential fatty acid content increases during the sprouting process. Most of us are deficient in these fat-burning essential fats because they are not common in our diet. Eating more sprouts is an excellent way to get more of these important nutrients.
7. During sprouting, minerals bind to protein in the seed, grain, nut, or bean, making them more useable in the body. This is true of alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, and others than help us to balance our body chemistry for weight loss and better health. Their digestibility is rooted from the high amount of enzymes that they contain. Eating sprouts can be very helpful for people with digestive or bloating problems. They are also perfect for younger kids and elderly people.
8. Sprouts actually contain oxygen and regular consumption of raw bio-genic foods with their abundant oxygen is valuable to health. Bio-genic foods are a good source of essential fatty acids (the average western diet is generally deficient in these) which play a major role in the immune system defences.
9. Sprouts are the ultimate locally-grown food. When you grow them yourself you are helping the environment and ensuring that you are not getting unwanted pesticides, food additives, and other harmful fat-bolstering chemicals that thwart your weight loss efforts.
10. The energy contained in the seed, grain, nut, or legume is ignited through soaking and sprouting.
11. Sprouts are alkalizing to your body. Many illnesses including cancer have been linked to excess acidity in the body. Growth of cancer cells are initiated by a lack of oxygen and these cells, along with viruses and bacteria, cannot live in an alkaline and oxygen rich environment. Broccoli sprouts are especially effective at preventing gastritis, ulcers, stomach cancer and even allergy and asthma.
12. Sprouts are inexpensive. People frequently use the cost of healthy foods as an excuse for not eating healthy. But, with sprouts being so cheap, there really is no excuse for not eating healthier.
How To Sprout
Sprouting is very easy and you don't need any fancy machines or commercial products since everything you need is probably in your kitchen.
Sprouters are readily available to buy or its super easy to make your own. You may even find that a sprouter made from a glass jam jar is easier to use and gives you better results than many commercial sprouters. All you need to do is
- Find a decent sized glass jar, preferably with a lid.
- Drill small holes in the lid – 3mm is fine or punch them with a hammer and nail. Or you can dispense with the lid altogether and use some hessian or a piece of old shirt instead, attached with an elastic band (this is also a better option for very small seeds like alfalfa that can fall through the holes of a lid).
1. Put some seeds in the bottom of the jar and cover with water to soak for twelve hours. You can add just one type of seed or a mix of varieties, it’s fun to experiment. The seeds will expand a lot as they grow. Half to one inch (1cm – 2cm) of dried seeds will usually fill a jar. It varies between seeds – radish expand more than sunflowers, for example - you’ll quickly learn as you grow them (and it doesn’t matter if you put too few or many in).
2. After twelve hours rinse the seeds in water (ideally the water should be at room temperature – not too cold and not too hot), then drain the water out of the holes in the lid, leaving the seeds damp but not swimming in water.
3. Repeat the rinsing process at least once every 12 hours until the sprouts are ready – usually about 2 to 4 days.
4. Eat the sprouts straight away. Or transfer them to a plastic bag in the fridge where they keep well for several day.
Karen Foster is a holistic nutritionist, avid blogger, with five kids and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the healthiest path towards a life of balance.