Sprouting is the process whereby seeds are germinated and eaten either raw or cooked. Seeds of many kinds, including grasses, grains and beans, are used for sprouting. A variety of health and nutritional benefits can be obtained from sprouting. Take precautionary measures to stay safe and derive the greatest benefits.
Sprouts are veritable stars of the vegetable world. Their numerous and widely touted health benefits include high levels of dietary fiber, B complex vitamins and protein. Mung bean sprouts provide 32 calories and 0.84 grams of fiber per cup and 21 to 28 percent protein by weight. Sprouts also contain digestive enzymes and some of the highest known levels of certain antioxidants. One cup of sprouts provides 119 percent of your daily allotment of vitamin C. Of note are certain compounds not contained in sprouts that make them healthier. Harmful compounds, such as tannins, that are present in seeds are eliminated during the soaking step, which occurs prior to sprouting.
Blood Sugar Control
Antioxidants in broccoli sprouts called sulphoraphanes have received considerable research and popular attention for their cancer-preventive effects. A study published in the April 2012 issue of the "International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition" found that sulphoraphanes also reduce insulin resistance and may assist with blood-sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Study participants who consumed 10 grams of broccoli sprout powder daily for four weeks showed lower insulin levels.
Sprouting whole grains reduces the amount of starch they contain and boosts their nutritional value. Sprouted grains contain mildly elevated levels of nutrients, such as vitamin C, carotenoids and protein, compared to sprouted seeds. An advantage to sprouted wheat, rye and barley is that they contain less of the protein gluten, which is difficult for some people to digest, according to the University of California, Davis. Higher levels of the enzyme amylase make sprouted grains helpful for digesting carbohydrates into sugars. Sprouted grains also contain the enzyme phytase, which can prevent mineral absorption.
Bacterial contamination is a potential health hazard in seed sprouting. The fine root structures of sprouts can form a tangled mat that harbors microorganisms. Also, some seeds, such as broccoli and radish, have rough surfaces that make it easy for bacteria to cling to. According to the University of Illinois at Urbana, the time to ensure safe sprouts is when they are still seeds. Commercial sprout manufacturers sanitize seeds before beginning the sprouting process and test every batch, but testing procedures are not 100 percent accurate. Cooking your sprouts is a good way to be safe, though you will lose some of the nutrient value. Preparing sprouts with known antimicrobial foods such as vinegar, garlic and onions can also help kill any lurking pathogens. When growing sprouts at home, look for seeds that have been specially prepared for sprouting. They will be clearly labeled for this purpose and can be found in many health food stores. These have been cleaned and are less likely to contain pathogenic bacteria. Avoid seeds that are packaged for growing into mature plants. Such seed packets will likely include planting, growing and harvesting instructions and have not been cleaned for the purpose of being consumed as sprouts.
Sprouts have many valuable attributes in relation to human health. Back in the 1920's, an American Professor named Edmond Szekely put forward the concept and way of life of Bio-genic Nutrition
He classified sprouted seeds and baby greens as the most beneficial foods and recommended that they make up 25% of our daily food intake, calling them life-generating Bio-genic foods which he claimed offer the strongest support for cell regeneration.
In our daily life, various factors transpire to create free radicals within our bodies.
Free radicals are highly unstable oxygen molecules needing an electron to stabilise their entropy (chaotic state).
By stealing electrons from healthy cells the causal effects of this are the breakdown of vital biological structures and the alteration of DNA and RNA (a process called per oxidation).
Once this has occurred, the affected cell will only reproduce the altered version.These superfoods are a powerful source of antioxidants (minerals, vitamins and enzymes) which assist in protecting against this damage.
A healthy body is alkaline (i.e not acidic).Bio-genic foods have an alkalising effect on the body.
Raw foods contain oxygen and regular consumption of raw bio-genic foods with their abundant oxygen is valuable to health.
Double Nobel Prize winner Dr Otto Warburg found growth of cancer cells were initiated by a lack of oxygen and these cells, along with viruses and bacteria, could not live in an alkaline and oxygen rich environment.
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 and are one of the highest food sources of fibre.
When these superfoods are grown to the chlorophyll rich two leaf stage, it has been shown they have been effective in overcoming protein-deficiency anaemia.
Some women have found that daily consumption of these superfoods has given relief from hot flushes and supported hormonal function.
The supply of vitamins (B complex and C) existing in seeds can be increased by the sprouting biochemistry over several days by 100% to 2000%.
This biochemistry modifies the array of minerals in sprouts so that they are in a chelated form which is more easily assimilated in the body.
It also denatures protein into the amino acid building blocks so that we can digest them in half the time of cooked foods.