Remember in elementary school when you were given a larva egg in a jar filled with oatmeal and every morning you’d rush into school to see if it had grown? Then one day, you came into class to see your egg had now hatched to a beetle?
I know it seems kind of odd now, but remember how exciting that was? That’s how I feel about sprouting.
I turn into a 6-year-old waking up every morning to rush and see how my sprouts are doing. I swear I don’t live a totally lame life and this is the only exciting thing happening to me. You’ll understand when you give it a try following by apologizing for judging my lack-of-excitement life under your breath.
I forgive you.
Aside from the giddiness act of sprouting, it is a small but extremely effective way to boost nutrients in your diet.
THE BENEFITS OF SPROUTING:
Many nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains contain an outer layer that inhibits our body’s ability to break down and metabolize the nutrients the food contains. This outer layer is called phytic acid. Phytic acid is also very hard to digest often causing bloating or discomfort after ingesting.
For example, I have a very difficult time digesting quinoa if it hasn’t been soaked or sprouted. Allowing it to soak for even 12 hours with a splash of acidic substances like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar allows me to enjoy it without any gastrointestinal issues. A fancy way of saying, without bloating or farting.
Foods like lentil contain small amounts of anti-nutrients which again, interfere with being able to absorb vitamins, nutrients, and minerals being provided by the lentil itself. A simple soak or sprout minimizes this effect ensuring you are reaping the benefits of this nutrient powerhouse of a food.
INCREASES VITAMIN, MINERAL, AND PROTEIN CONTENT
Speaking of ‘nutrient powerhouses’, sprouting foods boosts the number of vitamins, minerals, and protein content. Sprouting has been said to increase the levels of essential amino acids (what protein is made up of) in some foods by up to 30%!
Sprouts have said to aid in repairing blood capillaries and improving blood circulation. Blood circulation is critical for supplying oxygen throughout our bodies. Specifically to our brain and organs. This circulation and repairing of capillaries also support cell growth including hair! Move over cheesy gummy hair adds. Sprouting is the real deal!!
As mentioned above, sprouts pack a ton of nutrients but at a low-calorie cost. This supports us in feeling full and satiated compared to when we eat nutritionless foods like fast food or highly processed foods. When we indulge in these foods we tend to overeat as our body is searching for these valuable vitamins and minerals. That’s why eating a whole foods-based diet will always be number 1 when it comes to weight loss and feeling great.
The high content of fiber in sprouts also contributes to weight loss as it supports regular bowel movements, keeps us feeling full longer, and inhibits the release of ghrelin, our ‘hunger hormone’ that triggers the brain to keep eating. Sprouts may also benefit those who have type 2 diabetes as they have been said to support balancing blood sugar levels.
Sprouting raises the levels of vitamin C in the nut, seed, legume, or grain which directly supports our immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells which we need to fight off against antigens, harmful diseases, and infections.
Sprouting is incredibly easy, taking little time but as you’ve read above, it has major pay off. If you don’t have time to sprout before preparing your meal, a simple soaking of the nut, seed, grain, or legume is also incredibly powerful. Although it doesn’t boost nutrients it does make a major difference in allowing the body to absorb the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals the food contains.
Here’s how to do both:
How to soak:
- Rinse lentils under the tap.
- Place lentils in a large pot or bowl. Cover with room temperate water.
- Add a tbsp of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
- Give the lentils a little stir and cover with a lid.
- Allow to sit for a minimum of 12 hours.
- When ready to prepare, rinse, and cook according to package.
Perform the soaking steps above.
After lentils have soaked for a minimum of 12 hours, place into a large jar and cover with a mesh material or cheesecloth.
Lay the jar on its side with a slight angle allowing any excess water to drain out.
In the morning remove mesh covering and fill a jar with water. Give it a swirl mixing the lentils with the freshwater before draining, placing the lid back on the jar, and laying the jar back on its side. Repeat this step at the end of the day and for the 2-3 days following. Think of it as watering a plant.
After day 1, you’ll start to see a little tail come from the lentil. After day 3, your lentils will have a full-grown sprout as shown in the photo below.
This process can be done with many different types of seeds, nuts, and grains such as rice, almonds, amaranth, buckwheat, alfalfa seeds, and more. Personal favorites are quinoa, mung beans, sunflower seeds, as they tend to sprout quickly. I truly feel like I’m back in elementary watching my little ‘art’ project grow.
Here are 3 of my favorite recipes that use sprouted foods: