Have you ever wondered what “sprouted” meant when meandering the grain and legume isle of the supermarket? Or more importantly, why after consuming beans, we become musical? There are actually some very good reasons why that sprouted brown rice you see in the grocery isle is quite a bit more in price than its regular counterpart. I am happy to share why sprouting grains and legumes is truly beneficial for your health and digestive system. With a little bit of time, patience, and hardly any effort, you can maximize your health and wellness!
Now, sprouting isn’t a new concept whatsoever. In fact, sprouting was even referenced as far back as the book of Daniel in the Bible. It is even said that physicians from ancient cultures used to prescribe sprouts to their patients for a wide variety of ailments including digestive issues. So why is this? Well, by soaking your grains and legumes, you actually break down the hard to digest outside wall of the grain, nut and/or legume, which allows your body to easily assimilate the nutrients. To be more specific, sprouting (similar to the fermentation process) actually increases the nutrient values of the food by beaking down the difficult to digest phytic acid, which prevents vitamins and minerals from being absorbed.
Sprouted foods have lower amounts of anti-nutrients, which are substances that inhibit the absorption of nutrients and can cause harm to the digestive tract. Phytic Acid is a substance found in grains and many other foods. It can bind minerals like Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium and Iron and block them from being absorbed.
So, essentially, by soaking your grains, legumes and nuts, you not only are breaking down the hard to digest part of the food, but you are also ensuring you get the highest vitamin and mineral content it has to offer. In fact, the increased nutrient values are incredible: an average 300 percent increase in Vitamin A and a 500 to 600 percent increase in Vitamin C. Moreover, through this process, starches are converted to simple sugars, which also makes sprouts easy to digest. Lastly, the high fiber in sprouts helps to keep your colon in great health and prevents certain kinds of cancer. For me, this is a win-win!
Foods You Can Sprout
- Seeds – broccoli, celery, chia, clover, fenugreek, radish, kale, onion, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower
- Nuts – sprouted nuts just means they have been soaked for 2-12 hours, which makes them ideal for recipes as they are easier to cut and blend
- Beans – adzuki beans, chickpeas, green peas, lentils, mung beans, and soy beans
What you need: cheesecloth, large glass mason jar, rubber band, filtered water and 3 tbs of grain, bean, seed or nut
- First, rinse the item you want to sprout really well with filtered water and drain.
- Place the item in a large glass mason jar and cover with water.
- Next, place a piece of cheese cloth over your jar and fasten with a rubber band. Let it sit for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, drain and rinse your sprouts again. Make sure to rinse and drain your item really well to get rid of any residue. Replace cheesecloth. Then, invert the jar to a 45 degree angle so the water can continue to drain off and air can circulate. Allow the moist sprouts to sit another 24 hours in moderate sunlight. After another 24 hours, they should be ready to go, rinse thoroughly and enjoy. (Most sprouts are ready to eat in one to two days). The rule of thumb is, when you see two sprout tails come out, they are done. Your sprouts will store for 5-6 days. Be sure to rinse with filtered water before consuming.
*Note: be sure to keep your utensils and food items very clean, so that you do not have any issues with growing unwanted bacteria. I always cook my sprouts after the sprouting process, so I don’t have to worry about this. Use precaution when consuming sprouts raw.
Here is a handy chart to help you plan your sprouting/soaking time.
|FOOD||SOAKING TIME (hours)||SPROUTING TIME (days)|
|Almonds||8-12||No Sprouting (if pasteurized) 3 Days (if truly raw)|
|Brazil Nuts||3||No Sprouting|
|Sunflower Seeds||8||12-24 hours|
With all the digestion issues on the radar these days, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to incorporate this food preparation technique into your lifestyle. Plus, it is quite a miracle to see a tiny seed grow before your eyes! You may even take note that after consuming sprouted beans, you share much less “music” at the dinner table:)
In Divine Health,
Bauman, E. (2015). Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook, Part 1. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College
International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA). Sprout History. Retrieved from http://www.isga-sprouts.org/about-sprouts/sprout-history/
Han, E. Kitchn. (2014). “Sprouting Beyond Grains: Yes, You Can Sprout Nuts, Seeds & Beans.” Retrieved from http://www.thekitchn.com/beyond-grains-sprouting-seeds-nuts-and-beans-204708
Chart found at: Masters, T. (2013). Vegetarian Times. Veg Daily Blog. How to Soak and Sprout Nuts, Seeds, Grains and Beans. Retrieved from: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/blog/how-to-soak-and-sprout-nuts-seeds-grains-and-beans/