Sprouts- Nutrition, Health Benefits, and Cultivation

Sprouts are everybody’s friend and foe. Children will probably never be convinced to eat sprouts even if you list a million of its benefits. Adults struggle to eat it but the wisest are aware of the power of the same and are clever enough to assimilate it in their diets by combining it in tasty recipes or force feeding it down their own throats as well as the throats of their family members. The health benefits of it are numerous, and you can’t go anymore greener than including Sprouts in your diet plan on the road to healthy eating. The term sprouts generally means taking seeds and forcing them to sprout which you can then consume either raw or cooked. They’re very popular in the vegan food market and rightly so. Although the FDA views sprouts as hazardous owing to the presence of bugs in them; everyone else, everywhere in the world recommends sprouts as the top nutritious food that everyone can benefit from. Sprouts is essentially fresh produce and before utilizing it in cooking and especially before consuming it raw, ensure that your sprouts are thoroughly washed and checked for tiny bugs. Even store-bought, packaged sprouts must be cleaned before they’re ready for the plate. There are a lot of skin and hair benefits of sprouts. Below is a thorough guide about everything related to Sprouts for everyone planning to finally include them into their diet plan:

Nutritional Value of Sprouts:

Let’s get right into the science and list all the nutritional benefits:

  • The Sprouting process in itself stimulates enzymes into action which are greatly beneficial for digestion when consumed.
  • They are devoid of all the unhealthy constituents that make up most of our food today. They’re devoid of saturated fat and sodium and have almost 0 cholesterol which makes them a perfect alternative to all the high sodium foods making up our daily diets.
  • Mung Bean Sprouts contain 62 calories, out of which only 2 calories are fat. The total fat constituent in a cup of Mung Bean sprouts is about 0.26 grams and about 0.15 grams of poly and monosaturated fat. This is a very healthy proportion making sprouts an excellent choice for all diets.
  • Sprouts are protein rich and contain healthy levels of vitamin C. They also are high in fibre along with being cholesterol and fat free. They make the list of top vegan protein food.
  • A cup full of Broccoli sprouts contains up to 7.5 mg of Vitamin E which is very much higher when compared to the level of Vitamin E in raw or cooked broccoli.
  • Minerals present in Sprouts include Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Iron, and Calcium which are all immensely beneficial to the body.
  • Soy Bean Sprouts are rich in B-complex vitamins along with Vitamins A and C. Soy Bean sprouts also lose their starches since they’re converted to simple sugars owing to the sprouting process.
  • Kidney Bean Sprouts have vital nutrients including Vitamins B-12, B-6, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin.
  • Compounds such as Tannins that are generally harmful for consumption, present in seeds are removed during the sprouting process.
  • When Beans, Nuts, Seeds, or Grains are sprouted; their fibre content is greatly increased.
  • Sprouted Wheat, Rye, and Barley have lesser gluten and are easily digestible.
  • Brussel Sprouts contain total glucosinolate content higher than that found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli.
  • Sprouted Barley sees an increase in crude fibre that forms its cell walls owing to the synthesis of structural carbohydrates like cellulose and hemicellulose.
  • Brussel Sprouts are remarkably high in antioxidants, especially in Kaempferol which is an anti-oxidant.
  • Mature seeds of Mung Bean sprouted raw are an excellent source of Pantothenic acid and Folate.
  • Cooked Mung Bean sprouts have a healthy proportion of carbohydrates with one cup of cooked mung bean sprouts containing 13 grams of carbohydrates.
  • Sprouts see an increase in proteolytic enzymes that help in easy digestion of proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Broccoli sprouts contain a significantly higher number of inducers compared to the whole plant. Each sprout is known to contain the same number of phytochemicals.
  • Lentil Sprouts contain a healthy proportion of Amino acids including Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Cystine, Phenylalanine, and other essential Amino acids.
soruce- mercola

Cultivation of Sprouts:

1. Brussel Sprouts:

Brussel Sprouts, are a slow-growing crop that thrive in cool or lightly frosty weather. Brussel Sprouts include Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, and Kohlrabi. These sprouts grow on the axils of leaves and are a rich source of nutrition. Seeding must be initiated indoors. They must then be transplanted and protected against pests. Harvesting must be done from the bottom of the stalk and maturing time required for these sprouts is up to 100 days. Brussel Sprouts prefer moist soil at all times and must be watered well in dry weather.

2. Alfalfa Sprouts:

Alfalfa Sprouts can either be grown in a jar, or clay tray. You can use a mason jar and cheese cloth to sprout Alfalfa seeds. Your Alfalfa sprouts jar must be stored away from direct sunlight. Alfalfa sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Add 2 tablespoons of the Alfalfa seeds to your mason jar and add cool water. Cover your jar with a sprouting mesh and store your seeds overnight. Rinse and drain the seeds several times until you see little sprouts appear.

3. Bean Sprouts:

Mung Beans sprout faster than all other sprouts. Wash your Mung Bean seeds thoroughly and soak them in a jar for about 8 hours. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth. Rinse and drain the sprouts repeatedly. When you see tiny sprouts in your Bean seeds, continue rinsing and repeating until the sprouts grow up to the length you want. Mung Bean sprouts have a nice smell and are loaded with flavour. Buy high quality mung beans and wash them thoroughly to rid them of bacteria.

4. Lentil Sprouts:

Lentil Sprouts are as nutritious as they are delicious. To grow Lentil Sprouts, add lentil seeds into a sprouter or bowl. Soak the seeds for about 8 hours and drain them. Place them in indirect sunlight, do the rinse and dry repeat method every 8 hours for up to 3 days. When the tiny sprouts show themselves transfer them to a zip lock container or a bowl and refrigerate your lentil sprouts to be used as you require them.

5. Chickpea sprouts:

Chickpeas sprout quickly but may be gripped with mould if you’re not careful. It is also recommended that you do not consume your chickpea sprouts raw instead lightly boil or steam them to use in cooking. The method of cultivation of chickpea sprouts is similar to all the other sprouts mentioned above except that they must be rinsed and dried every few hours in a day and must have plenty of air to prevent mould formation. Chickpea sprouts must also be stored in the refrigerator for not more than 3 days.

Consumption of Sprouts:

1. Brussel Sprouts: A healthy recipe for consuming Brussel sprouts would be to boil water in a pan and steam the sprouts for about 5-6 minutes and toss with some Honey-Mustard Sauce. Brussel Sprouts must be exposed to minimum heat and must be cooked for a minimum duration. Also, minimum food surface contact with boiled water must be maintained to ensure that they’re cooked to perfection. Don’t forget to rinse the sprouts thoroughly to check for bugs.

2. Alfalfa Sprouts: Alfalfa Sprouts may be tiny, but they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and the most healthy nutrients. You can eat them raw but before you do, rinse them thoroughly in water to remove dirt and bacteria on the surface, even if they’re store-bought and packaged. If you decide to cook Alfalfa sprouts or add them to your favourite recipe, ensure that they receive the maximum cooking time until they’re steaming hot to kill any hidden bacteria and to extract maximum nutritional value from them.

3. Bean Sprouts: Mung Bean Sprouts are an excellent source of nutrition, both when they’re cooked as well as when they’re used in a raw salad. Raw mung bean sprouts can be sprinkled on chaats, salads or tacos if they’re thoroughly washed. Cooked Mung bean sprouts can be used to make curries that go well with rice or bread and can be included in your diet as a simple, nutritious, and everyday meal. They can also be slightly undercooked and sliced, grilled or stir-fried.

4. Lentil Sprouts: Sprouted Lentils are easy to cook orcan be eaten raw in a salad. Lentil Sprouts are commonly stir-fried or used in soups. You could also make lentil sprout spring rolls with chopped vegetables. Rinse lentil sprouts thoroughly and check for bugs before using them in raw salads. Lentil sprouts are best suited for immediate consumption so use them for cooking or eat them raw as soon as they sprout.

5. Chickpea sprouts: Chickpeas sprouted over 2 days are incredibly crunchy and make the perfect snack. You can roast them with some herbs and spices or make a soup or stew out of them. Other ways to consume Chickpeas include in dips or spreads, in raw salads, or as toppings for raw salads. Chickpeas can also be used to make Hummus. They can also be ground to make a flour which can then be used to make flatbread.

Source- steadyrun

Health Benefits of Sprouts:

1. Brussel Sprouts:

Brussel Sprouts contain Glucosinolates that activate enzymes in the body responsible for detoxification. A ¾ cup of Brussel Sprouts everyday provides the required amount of Vitamin K. Vitamin K promotes bone health by boosting calcium absorption. Brussel sprouts contribute towards keeping blood sugar levels down. The high fibre content in Brussel sprouts helps control blood sugar levels from surging or dipping. The fibre travels undigested through the blood stream and lowers sugar absorption in blood.

2. Alfalfa Sprouts:

Alfalfa Sprouts contain isoflavones and phytoestrogens which are known to reduce the risk of breast cancer. These are essentially plant compounds that act as human Estrogen. Owing to the dietary fibre present in Alfalfa sprouts, they’re recommended for people suffering from Chronic Constipation. Regular consumption of Alfalfa Sprouts accelerates the wound healing process due to the presence of Vitamin K. Alfalfa Sprout consumption also aids weight loss since it has low sugar, calories, and fat.

3. Bean Sprouts:

Mung Bean sprouts have high iron and Vitamin C and are recommended for Anaemic patients. Bean sprouts also have folate which are good for the eyes. Regular Bean sprouts consumption provides a steady supply of Folic Acid, Vitamins B6 and B12 which are helpful in slowing down age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin K in Mung Bean sprouts is helpful for blood clotting. The bone mineralization process is controlled by the Vitamin K in Mung Bean Sprouts and bone density is maintained by them.

4. Lentil Sprouts:

Sprouted Lentils are a great source of protein. They have a good amount of solublefibre that creates satiety and prevents over-eating. Folate and Potassium are present in Lentil Sprouts. Folate aids iron production and cell creation. Potassium helps in healthy functioning of heart and muscles. The antioxidants present in Lentil Sprouts greatly reduce the risk of Atherosclerosis. Lentil Sprouts create satiety and are helpful for people trying to lose weight.

5. Chickpea Sprouts:

Chickpea Sprouts are a healthy source of calories and are a great substitute for unhealthy snacking. Chickpeas are complex carbohydrates, which means that they’re digested by the body pretty slowly and are used as energy. Chickpeas make the best addition to low-carb diets. Chickpea Sprouts help control hunger since they have a low glycaemic index. Although they provide faster satiation, they don’t leave you deprived of energy. Chickpea Sprouts are a recommended non-meat source of protein.

Sprouts are the healthiest thing you can eat and work best when eaten raw. But the biggest concern that food regulatory boards have with sprouts is that they’re more prone to spread bacterial infections. Even if they’re store-bought and packaged well or home grown, you must wash sprouts well and check for bugs and insects before consuming them. But sprouts are the healthiest food that everyone can enjoy. There are several ways to cook them and make them tastier. In fact, sprouts must be a part of daily diets for people of all ages.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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