We need to eat to stay alive, but we need to eat well to stay healthy. One of the healthiest types of food you can find is sprouts because these tiny greens are a virtual treasure chest of nutrients.
There are many different types of sprouts and each has some unique benefits to offer as well as delicious flavours to enhance the taste of many dishes.
Sprouts are one of the cheapest yet most powerful sources of nutrition that we can include in our regular diet. These are nothing but germinated seeds of beans, lentils, grains, etc. and are rich in almost all types of nutrients, which make them a true ‘wonder food’.
Studies suggests that sprouting greatly increases the nutritional value of those foods by improving the digestibility and quality of certain nutrients, such as proteins.
Sprouts, are exceptionally good for your health due to the following reasons:
- They are more nutritious:
Nature is magnificent, and one of its greatest magics is to condense life to the size of a seed.
Every bean, grain, and the nut have the potential to turn into a fully-developed plant because it has all the nutrients necessary for growth. This is the reason why seeds are nutritious by default.
However, the essential vitamins and minerals in them are bound and they are released only when the seed is soaked and a new plant starts to grow from it. Therefore, in order to get the most nutrients from a seed, you need to make it sprout, but you should consume it before it turns into a real plant. Some sprouts can provide a dozen times more nutrients than the seed.
- They are easy to digest:
Chemicals that bind nutrients in seeds interfere with digestion. Even if they are well-cooked, they may cause stomach ache and other similar problems related to it. Sprouts, on the other hand, are free from these nasty agents, so your body can process them easily.
Even people with chronic digestive issues should be able to eat some types of sprouts safely.
- They allow you to absorb more nutrients from food.
It’s true that the nutritional value of sprouts is higher, by default. However, you need to understand that sometimes eating ‘rich’ foods isn’t enough because your body can’t absorb all the nutrients they can offer.
However, as this particular type of product comes in what’s considered a ‘pre-digested’ form, your body can process it most efficiently.
- They are packed with antioxidants.
All sprouted seeds, grains, nuts, and legumes contain huge amounts of different antioxidants. Therefore, they protect your body from the biggest danger we face daily; free radicals.
The damage caused by these particles is invisible, but it affects every cell in your body and weakens you from the inside, as well as speeds up the aging process.
- Different Types of Sprouts:
Sprouts can be of different types. From beans to grams to grains, you have tons of choices for growing sprouts at your home and taking care of your own health. Here, we have sorted out the most popular types of sprouts that can be added to our regular diet.
As a vegan or vegetarian, you are sure to have a wide collection of seeds, legumes, nuts, and grains in your pantry. All of them can be sprouted, so be sure to try this method of ‘cooking’ and see which type of sprouts you like the most.
- Bean Sprouts: Easy and Tasty
The question of ‘Why sprout beans?’ shouldn’t even cross your mind as they are considered one of the healthiest foods everywhere, and each type of these legumes has a unique flavour.
Sprouting them is exceedingly easy, and you are sure to grow a generous crop even on your first try.
These are the second most popular sprouts around the world. Almost all variations of beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, soy beans, pea sprouts, etc. can be used for growing sprouts and all of them are widely used in cooking due to their amazing health benefits and awesome flavours.
- Alfalfa Sprouts: Enhance Bone Strength
As we all know that, alfalfa plant has a lot of medicinal properties. Therefore, it is also used for growing sprouts in order to boost up our health.
Some types of sprouts get a huge boost in their vitamin content when compared to the original seed, but alfalfa falls into the opposite category.
These sprouts are one of the best plant-based sources of bone-building minerals, calcium, and magnesium and many more. They also contain a large dose of potassium, which is an essential element for muscle health.
Many of the alfalfa health benefits are connected to its ability to influence the production of specific hormones. If you suffer from a hormonal disorder, you should consult a doctor before including this plant into your diet.
If you want to strengthen your body physically and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, you should learn how to sprout alfalfa seeds. This won’t be hard as they aren’t particularly demanding.
They should be eaten raw because the nutrients in the sprouts are unstable and will fall apart if cooked. They taste rather delicious and crunchy, so you should enjoy adding them to your salads and sandwiches.
Fresh alfalfa sprouts can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for about 4 days.
- Gram Sprouts:
When it comes to adding sprouts to our regular diet, gram sprouts are always top the chart. You can go for Bengal gram (chola), green gram (moong), red gram (masoor), etc. as all of these lentils can improve our strength as well as vitality and their sprouts add amazing flavour to the dishes.
However, if you need to choose the best one from them, you should pick green gram sprouts as the offer many health benefits.
Sprouted green gram or moong beans or moong are called super food! They are packed with loads of fibre and are virtually fat-free. What’s more, they are a nutritious, filling, and an exceedingly healthy option. The major health benefit of the green gram is their rich source of cholesterol reducing fibre. Considerable amounts of anti-oxidants, magnesium, folic acid and vitamin B6, also contribute to heart health.
- Fenugreek Sprouts
You may not enjoy eating bitter fenugreek sprouts but they can be beneficial for your health. Fenugreek sprouts various nutrients but they are particularly rich in iron, fibre, and protein. Consuming fenugreek sprouts can keep your blood sugar levels regulated and even help in detoxification.
Fenugreek or methi has long been known for its excellent curative in nature and hence, their sprouts are also considered as quite beneficial for our healthen up help in detoxification.
- Sprouted Nuts: Facilitate Digestion
Like all other types of sprouts, nuts become more nutritious if they begin to germinate. However, sprouting them is a real challenge. Usually, people prefer soaking nuts as this increases their nutritional value and helps make them easier to digest.
Growing actual nut sprouts will help you discover some extraordinary flavours and ensure that even the most sensitive stomach can process them with relative ease.
- Health Benefits of Eating Sprouts:
Let us take a close look at numerous health benefits that can be enjoyed by including sprouts in our daily regime. They are as follows:
1.Sprouts contain essential enzymes for our body, which are almost 100 times more than raw fruits and vegetables. These enzymes play the roles of catalysts by extracting necessary nutrients from our foods and creating robust ‘nutritional building blocks’ for our body, thereby regularizing our bodily functions.
2. Sprouts are generally rich in high-quality proteins, which are even better than the actual beans, grams, nuts and grains. The procedure of sprouting itself improves the quality of proteins and induces more nutritional values in the sprouts.
3. Sprouts are a great source of dietary fibres, which is one of the most vital nutrients required by our body. In other words, they can keep us fit and healthy by warding off toxins as well as unwanted fat from our body, thereby promoting weight loss.
4. Sprouts comprise very high levels of vitamins mainly A, C, E and B complex, which is as much as 20 times higher than actual beans and lentils. Hence, they are definitely a healthier choice for us.
5. Sprouts have been found to be a great source of essential fatty acids. These are important for our health in order to burn excess calories and keep additional fat away.
6. Sprouts have lots of minerals bound to its proteins, which makes the body alkaline and maintains the right pH balance. As a result, we can stay away from a number of fatal diseases.
7. Sprouts can help us a lot in preventing unwanted aging. They are packed with powerful antioxidants, which fights against damaging free radicals and keep our skin youthful for long.
8. Sprouts are also known to be ‘protein powerhouse’, which is highly beneficial for pregnant women. Both mother and her fetus can get high level of nutrients from sprouts and stay healthy.
- Tips to Keep in Mind Before You Consume Sprouts
Here are a number of tips you should keep in buy when you choose sprouts from a vegetable shop or when you eat them.
- Eat raw sprouts. Don’t cook them as cooking will destroy the nutrients and proteins in them.
- Wash the sprouts 2-3 times well before eating them.
- You can steam the sprouts as steaming will retain the nutrients. However, don’t fry it or roast them as it can increase your calories.
- Sprouts are one of those foods that go very well with salads. You can even buy sprouted grain flours to use in cakes, sandwiches, risottos, and much more. When you add millet to sprouts flour, you can even make your own fresh bread.
- There are various culinary uses of sprouts and you can even sauté Brussels sprouts using butter. If you’re planning to steam them, you can use a vegetable steamer or just lightly steam using an inch of boiling water in a cup.
The best way to steam is to steam for two minutes, uncover the lid to get rid of the smell and finish by covering the pots and simmering for 15 minutes until they turn tender.
- Sprouting instructions to be followed:
While you can buy various bean sprouts in grocery and specialty stores, you may have to sprout certain varieties by your own. To start this, you’ll want to buy raw, dried beans, then follow these steps.
- Rinse your beans well to remove any kind of dirt or stones. Place them in a glass jar.
- Fill about 3/4 of the jar with cold water, then cover it with a cloth or mesh and secure it with a rubber band properly.
- Let the beans soak for about 8–24 hours or until they’ve expanded to twice their size. Usually, larger seeds require a longer soak.
- Drain the water from the jar, cover it again with the cloth, and turn it upside down to continue draining for a couple of hours.
- Rinse the beans gently and drain again. Repeat this step 2–3 times per day for 1–4 days or until the sprouts are ready to consume.
At the end of this process, you will notice sprouts growing from the seeds. The final size and length of the sprouts is up to you.
The longer you soak them in the jar, the more they’ll grow with more nutrients.