Many seeds boast impressive nutrition profiles that can immensely benefit the body. However, the body may fail to properly absorb these nutrients due to a seed's hard, outer layer.
Fortunately, sprouting can solve this problem. The process involves soaking seeds in a jar for a few hours before allowing them to grow for a couple of days. Depending on the type of seed, you can expect to grow sprouts in as fast as two days.
Sprouting also tends to increase a seed's nutrient content. Several studies have shown that sprouting led to a higher amount of amino acids, dietary fiber and vitamin C in vegetable seeds, nuts, beans and legumes.
Regular consumption of sprouts provide the body with the following health benefits:
Sprouts contain high amounts of antioxidants that boost immune functions including white blood cell production. Antioxidants also prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals that can lead to chronic diseases.
Sprouts are excellent sources of protein, a macronutrient that aids metabolism by encouraging the body to burn more calories. Protein also plays an important role in cell growth, bone development and collagen production.
Support cardiovascular health
The omega-3 fatty acids found in various sprouts reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream. As a result, omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke.
Many sprouts contain high levels of dietary fiber, which can improve digestive health and regulate bowel movement. As a result, sprouts can prevent indigestion, constipation and diarrhea.
Iron deficiency increases the risk of anemia, a condition marked by nausea, fatigue and digestive disorders. Fortunately, some types of sprouts, such as mung bean sprouts and broccoli sprouts, contain high amounts of iron that can help prevent the development of this condition.
Aid in weight loss
Regular consumption of sprouts can greatly aid in weight loss due to their low calorie contents. Sprouts also contain dietary fiber that promotes satiety, thereby discouraging overeating, binge eating or snacking in between meals.
Lower the risk of birth defects
Folate is commonly found in different types of sprouts. Consuming ample amounts of this essential B vitamin is known to support healthy fetal development. On the other hand, folate deficiency is likely to result in neural tube defects that target the fetus's brain, spine or spinal cord.
Maintain eye health
Many sprouts contain antioxidants like vitamins A, E and C that support various body functions. Vitamin A, in particular, is commonly associated with eye health due to its ability to lower the risk of macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.
Treat cold sores
Many vegetable sprouts contain lysine, an amino acid that is especially potent against painful cold sores. Lysine also promotes wound healing by stimulating the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure to skin, bones, tendons and ligaments.
Relieve allergic reactions
Sprouts that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as broccoli sprouts and bean sprouts, are known to relieve allergic reactions.
Different types of seeds, nuts and legumes can be sprouted. Here are five of the most common sprouts available on the market:
Mung beans, soybeans and kidney beans typically take no more than two days to sprout. Beans also often yield a generous harvest – even for beginners. Bean sprouts also contain high amounts of immunity-boosting vitamins including folate and vitamin C.
Individuals who are looking to cut back on meat can benefit from adding lentil sprouts to their diet. Lentil sprouts are not only excellent sources of protein, but they are also low in calories.
Alfalfa sprouts contain high amounts of calcium that supports bone development. These sprouts also contain potassium, an essential mineral that plays an important role in blood pressure control and detoxification.
Radish sprouts boast an impressive amount of antioxidants and potassium that greatly aid liver and gallbladder functions.
Like many cruciferous vegetables, broccoli sprouts contain anti-carcinogenic compounds known as glucosinolates. Research shows that glucosinolates can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and induce programmed cell death.
Wheatgrass is an excellent source of antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent against hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
Sprouts are nutrient-dense foods that you can purchase or grow at home. Many varieties of sprouts are best eaten raw because cooking can reduce the sprouts' nutrition profile. Other common sprouts that you can include in your diet include soybean, green pea, buckwheat, quinoa, pumpkin, sesame, beet, clover, cress and fenugreek.