Everything You Need To Know About Sprouts!

What are Sprouts?

Sprouts are nothing but seeds of grains or legumes that are germinated to produce the ultimate superfood. They are called living food and are packed with protein, calcium, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

Why should we eat sprouts?

  1. Sprouts contain more available nutrients and also help the better absorption of vitamins and minerals.
  2. It comprises other beneficial compounds as well.
  3. The process of sprouting reduces the presence of “anti-nutrients” such as phytates.
  4. Sprouts break down the complex starches and hence it is easy to digest.
  5. Sprouts are quicker in both cooking and consuming as compared to raw grains.
  6. It eliminates toxins out of the body and purifies the blood as well.

Kinds of sprouts

  1. Pulses, legumes, beans, and pea sprouts.
  2. Vegetable or leafy sprouts including broccoli sprouts, mustard greens, and fenugreek sprouts.
  3. Sprouted grains including Ragi, Kuttu, quinoa, and amaranth sprout.
  4. Nut and seeds sprouts.

What are the nutritional benefits of sprouts?

  1. It multiplies the nutritional profile of grains and pulses.
  2. It contains 35% of calcium, 300% of Vitamin A, 60% of Vitamin C, and 80% of Potassium.
  3. It has the property of increasing the bioavailability of nutrients.
  4. For example, One cup of boiled moong dal sprouts provides you:
Calories/ Energy 215gProtein 16gCarbohydrates 38gFat 0.8gFiber 16gCopper 19% of the RDIZinc 11% of the RDI
Folate 80% of the RDIManganese 30% of the RDIMagnesium 24% of the RDIIron 24% of the RDICalcium 16% of the RDIPotassium 15% of the RDI 

Note: RDI refers to the Recommended Dietary Intake.

  • Sprouts are rich in essential amino acids such as phenylalanine, leucine, valine, lysine, arginine, etc.
  • It is loaded with fiber.
  • Sprouts are a complete and even a rich source of protein.

What health benefits do sprouts offer?

  1. As sprouts are loaded with a good amount of fiber, it is good for the digestive system, keeps you satiated, delays gastric emptying time, and prevents binge eating and constipation. Sprouts consist mostly of insoluble fiber which doesn’t dissolve in your stomach and instead acts as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria in your intestines.
  2. It helps control and reduces cholesterol.
  3. It helps in boosting the immune system.
  4. Sprouts contain chlorophyll which helps remove the toxins from the cells and lymphatic system, hence it helps in cleansing the body.
  5. The enzymes present in sprouts not only ease digestion but also increases our metabolism, thus helps in releasing large energy and ultimately maintaining the energy balance in our body.
  6. Sprouts are rich in antioxidants.
  7. They are considered good for improving and maintaining good eyesight.
  8. It eases digestion, maintains energy balance, therefore it aids in weight loss.
  9. Even consumption of sprouts makes hair stronger and skin healthier.
  10. It is also considered a remedy for anemia.
  11. Sprouts help maintain and control estrogen levels in the body, and thus it is also titled “superfood” for pregnant women.

What mistakes should be avoided while consuming sprouts?

  1. Don’t eat sprouts in raw form.
    • Sprouts need warmth and humidity to germinate which makes them perfect for the growth of bacteria. It can also run a risk of carrying food-borne illnesses like E. coli and salmonella.
    • It might also lead to food poisoning if consumed raw.
    • Due to the various partially processed and immature chemical changes that occur during germination, they are partially digested when eaten raw and lead to the heaviness of the abdomen, cramps in the lower abdomen, flatulence, and sometimes constipation as well.
    • Avoid giving raw sprouts especially to kids, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, people with weak digestion (elderly), and people with weak immunity.
  2. Don’t add sprouts to every day’s menu
    Ayurveda suggests not eating sprouts daily as during the germination phase, the seeds consume maximum energy or heat for chemical energy and during digestion; sprouts absorb heat from outside thus increasing the internal body temperature.
  3. Don’t mix or combine sprouts with other sources of proteins.
    It’s best to consume sprouts with vegetables.
  4. Avoid consuming sprouts if you have weak digestion.
  5. Avoid sprouting for too long.

SUMMARY: Although sprouts are healthy, but it should be kept in mind that eating them raw can be harmful, therefore; it is better to consume sprouts after steaming or cooking rather than consuming raw. Also, Sprouts should be completely avoided during monsoon as this is the time when the food is most prone to bacterial and viral infections.

What are the best ways to encompass sprouts in your diet?  

  • Steam them and have them as a side or snack (steam for 4-5 minutes).
    Steaming helps retain nutrients, eat one handful or two at a time (1/4-1/2 cup).
  • Sprinkle steamed sprouts over salads, Poha, Upma, cooked rice, savory oats, or add in sandwiches and wraps
  • Toss them into soups, stews, or stir fry with veggies.

What does Ayurveda say about “Sprouts”?

  1. Vata Prakriti: 
    • They must avoid raw sprouts.
    • They may eat sprouts in small amounts after steaming or sautéing.
    • Add some rock salt and sesame oil/seeds for consumption once or twice a week.
  2. Pitta Prakriti:
    • People with a dominant pitta Prakriti may eat sprouts slightly less cooked or steamed for less time.
  3. Kapha Prakriti:
    • People with a dominant Kapha Prakriti can eat sprouts after steaming and adding spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, cumin powder, etc.
    • Ideally, they should consume sprouts after exercise or a workout session.

What precautions must be taken while cooking or making Sprouts?

  1. Don’t sprout for long
    They may become acidic and the prevalence of harmful bacteria also increases.
  2. Consume fresh or buy fresh sprouts (if required).
  3. Make sprouts in small quantities, and keep the leftover if any in the refrigerator.
  4. Do not consume sprouts that have a musty smell or slimy appearance.
  5. Wash hands and maintain hygiene while handling sprouts.
  6. Use a freshly washed cloth to make sprouts.
  7. You can rinse them through the water.

SUMMARY: Handling and preparation of any food is as significant as cooking and eating it, therefore basic hygiene, sanitation and some important factors enlisted above shall be considered and applied wisely.

It is always better to know the pros and cons of the food you are consuming. Feeding oneself without the knowledge and education of the nutrition the food provides is completely illogical and might even cause problems.

Be aware and active at least about the food that feeds you!

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