Superfood sprouts are wonderful little powerhouses of goodness and contain the highest intensity of nutrients a plant ever has. The seeds are storehouses containing all the nutrients the plant needs to start growing. Once the plant gets growing it’s able to draw what it requires from the soil and air around it, but in that first burst of life it needs a giant boost to get it going. So all the treasures held in the seed are released in a burst to do just that.
In that first tiny stalk and root are the highest nutrient density of any stage of that plants life. Once the seed sprouts the nutrients in the seed increase dramatically, with some nutrients increasing up to 2000%, and this magnified benefit is passed on to you when you consume it.
Suprisingly sprouts are a great source of protein. Sprouts grown to the chlorophyll rich two-leaf stage have been shown to be effective in overcoming protein-deficiency anaemia.
Unless you’re a vegetarian you’re probably getting most of your protein from fish, meat, dairy and eggs. Legumes and seeds are another great source of protein often used by vegetarians. Seeds and legumes in sprout form are actually up to 35 percent protein. Plus they have the added bonus over all the animal proteins that they don’t contain high cholesterol, fat or kilojoules. Plus they’re high in fibre making them an awesome food for weight control as well as health control.
High levels of enzymes in sprouts makes them really easy to digest, so they are perfect if you suffer from bloating or any other digestive issues.
When you eat a handful of sprouts you are eating hundreds of tiny plants instead of just one or two larger ones. With the power-pack of nutrients they deliver it means you are eating the equivalent of many more vegetables.
Unlike veges bought at the greengrocer or supermarket which start to deteriorate after they’re harvested (and often left sitting on shelves or in storage for long periods), the nutrients in sprouts continue to increase after you pick them.
“There is strong evidence that just two or three tablespoons of broccoli sprouts a day can help prevent breast cancer, gastric cancer, and other diseases.” Dole Nutrition News Story
It has been known for a long time that sprouts are a great source of nutrients but more recently it was found that they actually have therapeutic benefits that help to protect us from certain diseases as well.
Research shows that some of the substances in broccoli sprouts become isothiocyanates which may help to fight cancer. Bean sprouts have also been identified as potent anti-tumour agents. The phytochemicals in alfalfa, radish, broccoli and clover have great curative ability to protect us from disease, including from cancer.
Alfalfa sprouts are a wonderful source of saponins to help lower bad cholesterol and fat but not HDL (the good) fats.
Saponins also stimulate the immune system. As the saponin content in sprouted alfala is over 450% more than that in the unsprouted seed it’s quite obvious why sprouts are so much better than unsprouted seeds!
The abundance of antioxidants in sprouts prevent DNA destruction and help to protect against the effects of aging. Could it be that sprouts are the legendary ‘fountain of youth’?
In addition sprouts contain an abundance of phytoestrogens which help in preventing osteoporosis, and of benefit in heart disease and with the symptoms of menopause.
Raw foodies say all sprouts should be eaten raw, but some legumes, even when sprouted, need to be cooked and so can be lightly steamed. Cooking destroys the live food enzymes but makes them far easier to digest. Sprouts like radish, clover, broccoli as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds are fine raw, and in fact may be better for you when raw.
Benefits Of Sprouts
• Extremely alkalising, they help to balance out the harm done to your body by the typical Australian acid-forming diet. Remember, a healthy body is an alkaline body.
• Rich in essential nutrients – Vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B5, B6 and K; many minerals plus omega-3, bioflavonoids, anti-oxidants, plus more!
• Deliver a concentrated serve of vegetables
• Great vegetarian source of protein
• Easily digested
• Great low-kilojoule food for weight loss as they make you feel fuller longer and are low in fat and cholesterol. Bean and alfalfa sprouts are among the best for weight loss.
• High in oxygen for healthy cells
• Have therapeutic properties to help fight disease
• They can be grown on your bench so they’re always perfectly fresh
• Very low cost
Grow Your Own Sprouts
Last week I bought a Sprouter and I can’t wait to use it. It’s simply three plastic stacked dishes with covered holes through which the water can slowly seep. The seeds go in the top two dishes where they sprout in the damp conditions while the used water collects in the bottom dish to be discarded.
Very simple! I could have used a jar with a similar result but this is more convenient and isn’t that what we’re all looking for these days. My favourite seeds are mung bean sprouts (the iconic 70’s Hippy!) and I can’t wait to get some seeds and get started.
If you’d like to try sprouting for yourself here is a great little video with written instructions as well, showing you how to sprout seeds in a jar. Be sure to read the ‘Important Principles’ section. Or else you could go and find a sprouter (mine was only $8). The Biosnacky is a good one.
Seeds For Sprouting
A variety of suitable seeds are available from Health Food Shops. Try out alfalfa, mung beans, broccoli, radish, mustard, fenugreek, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans etc. You can also get ‘mixes’. Make sure the seeds are ‘For Sprouting’ – this is really important as those prepared for planting in the garden may have been treated with toxic fungicides.
If you’d like some ideas for using sprouts in your cooking apart from simply in a salad or sandwich here are some ideas.
It’s a week since I wrote this and I now have a beautiful crop of lentil and alfalfa sprouts and am starting those mung bean sprouts today. Looks like salads for dinner tonight.
So have fun and get sprouting. With the warmer days here what better time to add an abundance of healthy sprouts to your diet.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.