When it comes to getting a nutritional bang for your buck, most people opt for kale, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. We aren’t going to argue against those vegetables because they are nutritionally dense. Sometimes, you just have to expand your field of vision and include other superfoods like sprouts in your diet.
Sprouts are young greens that are only a few days old. The seeds germinate and develop stems and small leaves, which may only grow to a maximum of a couple inches. There are numerous sprouts, including pea, bean, broccoli, alfalfa, mung bean, and beet sprouts, many of which contain essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Each sprout variety has a different nutritional profile, and it’s best to eat them raw because they lose nutrients during the cooking process.
How Do You Sprout?
You don’t need a green thumb to grow sprouts. You don’t even need a patch of soil to grow them! All you have to do is follow the simple instructions below.
- Start by buying a wide-mouth one to four-liter glass jar. Your next step is to purchase sprouting seeds (preferably organic).
- Place three tablespoons of sprouting seeds in the jar and pour three times the amount of filtered water in the same jar.
- Screw on the lid and gently shake the jar to ensure that the seeds are sufficiently soaked.
- Remove the lid and cover the top with a cheesecloth, securing it to the rim with a rubber band.
- Do not place the jar in sunlight for 6-12 hours. Rinse the sprouts once or twice daily to avoid mold growth. Repeat the rinse and soak process until sprouts are about 3-5 centimeters long. Then rinse and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Benefits Of Eating Sprouts
Now that you know how to grow your own sprouts, let us inform you of the health benefits. These little guys may surprise you with how much they can do for the body.
They Support Healthy Digestion
Gut health is one of the most important health topics of the 21st century. As you may know, fiber plays a key role in supporting digestive health. Raw sprouts are rich in fiber, which helps to move food through the digestive tract. Most notably, sprouts contain beneficial enzymes that increase their fiber content. Scientists attribute this to the soaking process that makes the seeds sprout.
They Support Immune Function
Most sprouts contain a natural bioactive compound known as sulforaphane, which helps to activate the body’s immune response to foreign invaders. They also contain large amounts of vitamins A & C, both of which help improve white blood cell production to fight infections, viruses, and more. If you let your sprouts soak for up to one week, you can increase the amount of vitamin A by nearly ten-fold.
They Support Heart Health
Sprouts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are revered for their ability to improve brain and heart health. They help to reduce inflammation, which can decrease the risk of cognitive decline, but they also increase HDL cholesterol. This is the beneficial cholesterol that the body needs! Sprouts simultaneously help to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type), which decreases the risk of atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries.
They Are Rich In Antioxidants
There is no shortage of antioxidants in sprouts. Broccoli sprouts, for example, contain glucoraphanin, which is a precursor to sulforaphane. As we mentioned earlier, sulforaphane helps to improve immune function. It also enhances the body’s natural cancer protection ability, which reduces the chance of malignancy. Sulforaphane can also improve the body’s ability to reduce the spread of cancerous cells. While the mature counterparts of sprouts also have anti-cancer properties, the young sprouts have proven to be more effective at cancer prevention.