Use of sprouts as both food and medicine dates back about 5,000 years to ancient China. World War II sparked an American interest in sprouts as a quick source of nutritious high-protein vegetables resulted in sprouted soybeans as a wartime food crop.

Most people don't know that ANY products made with flour can have the same effect on blood sugar, whether the flour is produced from whole grains or not. This is because grinding grains into flour increases the surface area upon which enzymes work to more quickly convert starch into glucose. For diabetics or anyone trying to manage their blood sugars, the first meal of the day needs to be nutritious with a good balance of quality protein and low-glyceimic carbohydrate (i.e. a carb that metabolizes more slowly and does not cause an immediate sharp rise in BS levels).

About Sprouts and Sprouting Nuts and Seeds:

Sprouting raw nuts, seeds, beans and grains is one of the quickest, easiest ways to pack a group of nutrients into your body in just one handful. Sprouts harvested and left at room temperature will start to lose their nutritional value within an hour.

Basically soaking and rinsing the seeds will remove it's enzyme inhibitors and the seed will begin to germinate. In this process all of the resting nutrition in the seed will begin to break down into its simplest components. Proteins break down into separate amino acids, complex starches break down into simpler carbohydrates. Meanwhile, the plant starts to multiply in it's nutrient content to get ready to become a tree or full-sized plant. This results in a fiber-rich food packed with vitamins and minerals as well as protein and sometimes even essential fatty acids.

Why is Sprouting So Healthy?

Sprouts are incredibly nutritious; Studies show remarkable levels of B Vitamins, as well as Vitamins C, E and A (up to 15 times the original content!). Sprouting grains causes increased activities of hydrolytic enzymes, improvements in the contents of total proteins, fat, certain essential amino acids, total sugars, B-group vitamins, and a decrease in dry matter, starch and anti-nutrients. Decrease in phytates and protease inhibitors are the metabolic effects of the sprouting process.

Some folks refer to sprouts as "pre-digested" food due to this breaking down process in the sprouting stage of life. This makes the sprouts far easier to digest than the original seed, bean, nut or grain. The heightened quantity of enzymes is another factor that aids in their digestion. Sprouts can be eaten at any meal to help the digestive process along and keep raw living nutrition pumping through your blood. They give us the most concentrated natural source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids

Nutrients multiply with growth

Sprouts contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, carotene, chlorophyll, amino acids and trace elements. Depending on the variety, 20 to 35 percent of the calories in sprouts come from protein. They are very low in calories, with just 10 to 30 calories per one-cup serving. They are also high in enzymes, and bean sprouts are less likely to cause the flatulence that regular beans would produce.

Vitamins, by nature, are very perishable. The fresher a food is when eaten, the higher its vitamin content. The vitamin content of some sproutable foods can increase by up to 20 times their original value after several days of sprouting. When mung beans sprouts are compared to the dry legumes, the sprouts have vitamin B increases, of – B1 (thiamine) up 285%, B2 (riboflavin) up 515%, and B3 (niacin) up 256%. Six day growth of barley results in vitamin E going up from 7.4 units to 62.4, Beta carotene from 4.1 to 42.7, Biotin (0.16 to 1.15), Folic acid from 0.12 to1.05 ( all an increase of more than a min of 600%.

Sprouts are said to be rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals, as these are necessary for a germinating plant to grow. These nutrients are essential for human health. However, improvements in amino acid composition, B-group vitamins, sugars, protein and starch digestibilities and the desirable nutritional changes that occur during sprouting are mainly due to the breakdown of complex compounds into a more simple form, transformation into essential constituents and breakdown of nutritionally undesirable constituents. The increased contents of protein, fat, fiber and total ash are only apparent and attributable to the disappearance of starch. The reserve chemical constituents, such as protein, starch and lipids, are broken down by enzymes into simple compounds that are used to make new compounds

As the sprouts develop, the seed's food stores of starch convert to simple sugar and levels of vitamins quickly rise. The total amount of Vitamin C in fresh sprouts could increase by 600 percent in only a few days. Nutritional potency varies with the type of sprout.

A study on cowpeas demonstrated that the legumes allowed to grow for 48 hours contained the highest levels of digestible protein and starch.

What is sprouting?

To describe what sprouting is we must define the words – soaking and germination. Soaking is the process of putting any sproutable food – seeds, grains, legumes or nuts – in water for a period of time. When a seed is soaked it absorbs water. This triggers biochemical reactions inside the seed and germination begins.

Germination is the process through which a plant begins its growth and development from a seed. Sprouting occurs after the seed is soaked, begins to germinate and is allowed to grow.

Increased lipolytic activity during germination and sprouting causes hydrolysis of triacylglycerols to glycerol and constituent fatty acids. In sprouted barley, crude fiber, a major constituent of cell walls, increases with the synthesis of structural carbohydrates, such as cellulose.( an increase of 5.8% on 3 rd day to 14.1% on 7 th day). Crude protein increase ranged from 13.6% on 3 rd day to15.5% on 7 th day.

Increase of protein is not due to new protein being manufactured by the germination process but by the washing out of starch (carbohydrates) and conversion to fiber -- increasing the relative proportion of protein and carbohydrates easier for the body to use. In fact, sprouts are lower in carbohydrates and calories than the grains from which they were sprouted.

Because the grain has been allowed to germinate, it is the least processed (most resistant starch) and is chock full of B vitamins, minerals and enzymes. This germinating process also produces Vitamin C. Sprouted grains are good for the colon because they encourage the growth of healthy bacteria. Sprouted grains will help to keep you regulated and your bowel healthy which also contributes to maintaining fat loss.

Seeds suitable for sprouting

All viable seeds can be sprouted, but some sprouts should not be eaten raw. The most common food sprouts include:

Pulses (legumes; pea family):fenugreek, pea, chickpea, mung bean and soybean

Cereals: wheat, maize (corn), rice, barley, rye, kamut and then amaranth and buckwheat

Oilseeds: sesame, sunflower, almond, hazelnut, linseed, peanut.

How to sprout?

Typically the seeds are first rinsed to remove soil and dirt. Any vessel used for sprouting must allow water to drain from it, because sprouts that sit in water will rot quickly. The seeds swell and begin germinating within a day or two.

Sprouts are rinsed two to four times a day, depending on the climate and the type of seed, to provide them with moisture and prevent them from souring. Each seed has its own ideal sprouting time. After three to five days the sprouts will have grown to 2–3 in length and will be suitable for consumption. If left longer they will begin to develop leaves, and are then known as baby greens. A popular baby green is sunflower after 7–10 days. Refrigeration can be used as needed to slow or halt the growth process of any sprout.

Subjecting the sprouts to pressure, for example, by placing a weight on top of them in their sprouting container, will result in larger, crunchier sprouts. Sprouting is also applied on a large scale to barley as a part of the malting process. Malted barley is an important ingredient in beer and is used in huge quantities. Many varieties of nuts, such as almonds and peanuts, can also be started in their growth cycle by soaking and sprouting.

In addition, seeds containing amygdalin—apple, apricot, bitter almond,[ peach, plum, cherry, and others—when consumed in sufficient amounts, may cause cyanide poisoning. Other seeds that contain poisons include, cotton, custard apple, datura, uncooked durian, horse-chestnut, locoweed, lychee,The seeds of many legumes, including the common bean, contain proteins called lectins which can cause gastric distress if the beans are eaten without cooking. The common bean and many others, including the soybean, also contain trypsin inhibitors which interfere with the action of the digestive enzyme trypsin. Normal cooking processes degrade lectins and trypsin inhibitors to harmless forms.

Sprouted foods are a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads; A potential downside to consuming raw sprouts is that the process of germinating seeds can also be conducive to harmful bacterial growth and care has to be taken to avoid this.

It is best to consume fresh sprouts, made-in -home sprouts.



4 Replies

  • I eat boiled sprouts of four different legumes daily twice.Please enlighten me regarding the following two questions:

    !.will boiling them reduce their nutritive value?If so,how?

    2.Does consumption of sprouts over a long period lead to any physiological disorder?

    Thanking you in advance.

  • Soaking, Germinating, Sprouting and Fermenting is the order in which nutrients increase in seeds, lentils. Heating in a low flame or light frying is recommended to nullify the effects of certain acids in thse food items.

    Seeds, beans and lentils have antinutrients which prevent the body from absorbing nutrition from carbohdrates , proteins and fats which we eat. These antinutrients came about in grains and seeds as a means of defence mechanism preventing animals from eating them.! Exception to this is bovine animals ( with many stomach chambers).These antinutrients play havoc in our body. But when they are subjected to the above processes(1 only, or 1,2 only, 1,2,3 only or all thefour) these antinutrients come down significantly. A moderate amount of nutrients is needed for our well being.

    The science of phytates and your question of " How?" is explianed in my next blog on sprouts which also includes ideal ways of sprouting. Please read it.

    Reg your second question, we are only adding the sprouts as food supplements, when we take sprouts, in an easily digestible way.

    We are leading a good life style as I would like to call it..... Absolutely NO Harm...

  • very informative blog on sprouts and thier advantage to diabitis patients. To some extent we can substitute rice and similar grains as our main food to germinating sprouts etc.

  • A salad with small quantities of carrot, cabbage leaves, "Kakada" along with sprouted mung ( No other sprouts, since most of the others have to be fried/lightly cooked- Read Part II and III) with a spoon of cream and pitted olives or a spoonful of olive oil would be a good nourisher. With this as the first dish, I am able to drastically cut rice during lunch....

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