Sprouts truly are the best locally-grown food, yet not enough people eat or grow them. Considering there many health and environmental benefits, it’s time to consider adding sprouts to your diet. Here are 10 reasons to eat more 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. The quality 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.
3. The fiber content of the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains increases substantially. Fiber is critical to weight loss. It 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 (which is the main place for nutrient absorption into the blood).
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. The energy contained in the seed, grain, nut, or legume is ignited through soaking and sprouting.
9. Sprouts are alkalizing to your body. Many illnesses including cancer have been linked to excess acidity in the body.
10. 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 GET SPROUTING AT HOME!
Growing your own is a great way to have a supply of gourmet varieties, ensure access to high quality fresh foods year round if you live in a colder climate, or simply to become more aware of the food you are eating.
I prefer the jar method which involves using a wide-mouth mason jar and either sprout lids from a health food store or cheesecloth and a rubber band.
You’ll need only a few basic supplies to get started sprouting. They include: organic sprouting seeds, nuts, legumes, or grains (such as mung beans, alfalfa seeds, clover seeds, broccoli seeds, and garbanzo beans.)
Avoid sprouting kidney beans as they are poisonous if eaten raw or sprouted. Make sure the seeds you choose are from a reputable supplier that can guarantee they haven’t been heated during processing, which prevents them from sprouting.
What You’ll Need:
1. Large wide mouth mason jars
2. Sprouting lids for jars (Sprouting lids are typically available in most health food stores but you can use cheesecloth and rubber bands over the top of the jars if you prefer)
Now you’re ready to get sprouting! :-)
Grow Your Own Sprouts
◾For hygiene’s sake, wash your hands before handling seeds. Use seeds, grains, nuts, or legumes. For simplicity, I’ll be referring to any of these items as seeds throughout the instructions.
◾Remove any broken or discolored seeds, stones, twigs, or hulls that may have found their way into your sprouting seeds.
◾Place one type of seed in the jar. Use about a teaspoon of seeds or one-third cup of beans. Remember they will grow in size during the soaking and sprouting process.
◾Cover the seeds with pure water. If you are using a few tablespoons of seeds, cover with at least one cup of water. If you are using beans, nuts, or grains, use at least three times the water of the amount of seed. In other words, one cup of water for one-third cup of mung beans, for example.
◾Allow the seeds to soak for about 6 to 12 hours. I find it easiest to start them before going to bed. They absorb the water while I’m sleeping and are ready to start sprouting in the morning.
◾Cover the jar with the sprouting lids or cheesecloth. If you’re using cheesecloth, secure over the top of the jar with a rubber band. Drain off the water.
Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and drain off the water again. Set upside down in a clean, cool spot in your kitchen area, preferably on a slight angle to allow excess water to drain off. Alternatively, use a stainless steel dish drying rack which gives the sprout jars the perfect angle for draining.
◾Rinse the sprouts a few times a day. Be sure to drain them well each time.
◾Once the sprouts are ready to be harvested (this amount of time differs for each variety; alfalfa or mung bean sprouts are ready in about a week), place them in a large bowl of cool water and stir them around to loosen hulls and skins from the seeds (this is an optional step). They’ll usually come to the top so you can remove them. Don’t worry about removing every hull. Doing so helps prevent spoilage so the sprouts will last longer. Drain sprouts well and store in the refrigerator covered for a week to 10 days, depending on the sprout type.
To increase the mineral content of your sprouts, add a piece of kelp or other type of seaweed to the water while the seeds are soaking.