Sprouts: Why You Should Eat Them and How to Grow Them Yourself
Sprouts are the adorable tiny shoots of seeds, grains, nuts, or legumes and you may already be familiar with some of them. You may have seen them in a gourmet sandwich shop or the produce aisle of your grocery store. Despite their small stature, these little guys pack a mighty nutritional punch!
Benefits of sprouts:
Sprouts are rich in plant protein and amino acids, vitamins like A, B, C, and E among others, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
What gives them an edge over full-grown plants is their abundance in enzymes, making them easier to digest and thereby preserving your own enzymes for other important bodily functions. They are a good source of phytochemicals, which can help prevent many types of cancer and support overall health, and they help to alkalize your digestive pH.
Some even say that sprouts hold the energy of vitality and youthfulness because they are the source from which (plant) life is created.
What’s interesting about plant-based foods including seeds, legumes, and grains is that they contain a rich source of nutrients that ultimately become activated in the transformative process of growth, while also containing “anti-nutrients” to protect them. We can’t digest the good nutrients without neutralizing the harmful ones first through soaking and you guessed it… sprouting!
How to grow your own sprouts:
There’s more than one way to grow sprouts, but here’s a simple method you can try…
- Buy some organic seeds, lentils, or dried beans that are whole and healthy (alfalfa seeds, mung beans, or green lentils are great for beginners).
- Measure about ½ cup of the seed or legume you want to sprout.
- Wash thoroughly and place the seeds in a glass jar for smaller sized seeds or in a bowl for the larger sized beans.
- Add 2 cups of water, mix well, cover, and leave on the counter overnight (or about 8 hours if you’re starting in the morning).
- Drain the water and rinse the soaked seeds or beans thoroughly.
- Place the soaked, rinsed seeds or beans back in into their glass jar or bowl, this time without adding any water but with a paper towel or muslin cloth lining the bottom.
- Set aside at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
- Rinse the seeds or beans every 12 hours or so for about 3-4 days, up to 6 days for larger beans to sprout fully, and return them to the jar or bowl after each rinse.
- Place them in the fridge when they’ve sprouted – they’ll continue sprouting there but at a slower rate – and consume within a week.
What to do with your sprouts:
- Toss them on your salads
- Add them to wraps or sandwiches
- Blend them in smoothies
- Grab-n-go for a light snack
- Sprinkle over your tacos
- Use them as a bed for homemade sushi
- Eat as a side dish with a little olive oil and sea salt
The possibilities are endless!
At Integrative Nutrition, students learn to find simple ways to maximize their nutrition every day. Sprouts are a perfect first step to incorporating superfoods into your daily diet since they can be added to almost every dish. As an added bonus, you can get the whole family involved because they’re so easy and fun to make!
What are your favorite types of sprouts? Share in the comments below!