10 Reasons Why You Want To Sprout Food And How To Easily Do This

The process of germinating seeds to be eaten is called sprouting. The practice involves soaking the seeds, legumes, grains, or nuts, followed by an incubation period. You soak and incubate the seeds until they grow a tail-like protrusion. The soaking period increases the water content of the seeds and brings them out of a dormant period. 

After draining and then rinsing seeds, they will sprout.

Soaking and sprouting time is unique to each type of seed, nut, grain, or legume. For some seeds soaking for 20 minutes and two days of incubation is enough, for others, several hours are required for soaking and 4-5 days for incubation – depending on the type and size of the seed.

While the process may seem complicated, it is quite easy and does not require any special equipment. 

Many people swear by it because of the many benefits that come with sprouting. Considered a wonder-food; sprouts can be eaten raw, steamed, baked, or cooked. The can be added to salads or even used to make bread. Due to the high nutritional value, they offer many health benefits. 

1. Improves Digestion and Regulates Bowel Movement 

Sprouts contain various enzymes that eliminate waste and boost metabolic processes in the body, particularly digestion. Because of the dietary fiber found in sprouts, they pass through the digestive tract easier, they stimulate gastric juices and effectively build a microbiome that efficiently breaks down food. 

Specific sprouts such as broccoli sprouts are high in sulforaphane, a compound that enhances antioxidant activity by stimulating natural detoxifying enzymes. According to a study led by Akinori Yanaka of the Hitachi Medical Education and Research Center in Japan, eating broccoli sprouts every day can help normalize bowel habits because chronic oxidative stress often causes constipation. [1]

2. Prevents Iron Deficiency 

Sprouts help you fight anemia and the other symptoms of iron deficiency and undernourishment. This superfood contains significant amounts of iron and copper, which help the body maintain red blood cell count. When you have sufficient iron in your body, you also have optimum nourishment for your skin and hair, so you also look better when you consume sprouts regularly. 

3. Enhances Cellular and Muscular Health -great for anti-aging!

Sprouts are also rich in protein, the building block for your muscles, bones, skin, cartilage, immune cells, and blood. Proteins are involved in almost every bodily function. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein are more concentrated in sprouted foods and also more digestible and absorbable. 

According to a study led by Ebert Andreas of the World Vegetable Center in Taiwan, mung bean and soybean sprouts also have higher levels of phytonutrients compared to their mature counterparts. Vitamin C levels in sprouted mung bean were much higher compared to the mature mung beans. Soybean sprouts were also observed to contain higher concentrations of isoflavonoids, well-known phytoestrogens which promote heart health, bone density, cancer prevention, improved cognitive ability, and reduce menopausal symptoms. [2] [3]

4. Supports Weight Loss and Prevents Diabetes

As I mentioned, sprouting also increases the seeds’ fiber content; therefore, eating sprouts helps push waste and toxins out through the gut, improving digestion, and regulating bowel movements. The fiber in sprouts also keeps you feeling full for longer, helping you to avoid overeating. And while sprouts are high in nutrients, they’re very low in calories. 

Sprouting is also great for the prevention of diabetes: During the sprouting process, the seed’s outer layer opens, and young plant blossoms out. During its growth, it consumes some of the plant’s carbohydrates. The food becomes more abundant in protein and fiber, which reduce its glycemic index when consumed, not only making you feel fuller for longer but also making it a healthier option even for people with diabetes. Moreover, the increased fiber content of sprouts binds to fats and toxins and helps to remove them from the body quickly before they are absorbed.

5. Great for Brain Health:

Sprouting is excellent for brain health and the reduction of inflammatory processes due to the increase in essential fatty acid content during the sprouting process. Also, the increased lipolytic activity during germination and sprouting leads to the breakdown of fats.

6. Increases Energy and Vitality:

Sprouting is excellent for feeling energized and for improving heart health: Sprouting increases vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. B vitamins are essential nutrients that help convert our food into energy, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. The amino acid lysine is also significantly increased in the process of sprouting, which is used by the body to manufacture carnitine, which is used in the conversion of fatty acids into energy.

7. Great for Bone, Skin, and Eye Health:

Sprouting is great for bone health and helps your skin look younger because the amino acid lysine, which significantly increases during sprouting, also helps in calcium absorption and collagen formation. 

8. Sprouting is also great for eyesight: 

Vitamin A levels increased substantially after sprouting.

9. Helps Fight viral and Bacterial Infections:

Sprouting is great for fighting off infections. The sprouting process produces an array of antioxidants available for our body to utilize. Vitamin C, for example, is found in high levels in its absorbable form. Furthermore, by sprouting your grains and legumes, they also become more alkaline by nature due to the increased availability of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Alkaline foods have been shown to reduce the risk of viral and bacterial infection as these pathogens thrive in acidic environments.

10. Boost the immune system, and improve blood circulation

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties and because they are rich in antioxidants, they protect the body against cancer. Sprouts have even been linked to the prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration.

So, now that we understand the power of sprouting to increase nutrient density and support health, how do we do it?

Very easy.

Here is a simple 5 step by step guide to sprouting:

Requirements:

  • 1 cup of seeds
  • clean water
  • 1 small glass container 
  • 1 piece of 100% cotton cloth large enough to cover the seeds in the container.

Instructions:

  • Place the seeds in a glass cup or glass container
  • Pour water over the seeds and leave to stand uncovered for 8-15 hours depending on the seed:
  • Place the seeds in a sieve, drain the water and rinse the seeds thoroughly.
  • Wrap the damp seeds in the cloth and place at room temperature on a plate. Leave them to stand for another 12-15 hours, sprinkling with a little water every so often to make sure they do not dry up. By now the seeds will have sprouted and can be eaten raw, added to salads or can be used to prepare delicious bread
  • Enjoy!

As I mentioned, there are different soaking and incubation periods for different seeds. Here is a list of soaking and incubation times:

Soaking & Incubation Times

  • chickpeas – need18 hours of soaking with regular rinses and 3-5 days of incubation
  • alfalfa seeds, almonds, pinto beans, rice including wild rice – need 12 hours of soaking and 3-4 days of incubation
  • wheat – needs 10 hours of soaking and 3-4 days of incubation
  • broccoli seeds, lentils, mung beans, oats, sesame seeds, rye – need 8 hours of soaking and 3 days of incubation
  • flax seeds, barley,  buckwheat, fenugreek,  flax seeds, onion, pumpkin, radish, spelt and kale seeds – need 6 hours of soaking and 2-5 days of incubation
  • quinoa, teff, and amaranth –  4 hours of soaking and 2-3 days of incubation
  • Mung bean needs an  8-12-hour soak followed by about four days of incubation and rinsing. 
  • Lentils need 7 hours of soaking, and sprouting takes 2-3 days.

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References:

[1] J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2018 Jan; 62(1): 75–82. Published online 2017 Nov 3. doi:  10.3164/jcbn.17-42 accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5773831/

[2] Food Chem. 2017 Dec 15;237:15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.05.073. Epub 2017 May 17. PMID: 28763980 accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28763980

[3] Cornwell T, Cohick W, Raskin I. Dietary phytoestrogens and health. Phytochemistry. 2004 Apr;65(8):995-1016. accessible at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031942204001049