Sprouts Wiki and Guide

In this article I present a Sprouts Wiki and Guide. I have tried to put together information available in different places so as to present a reference guide and resource on spouting and sprouts.

What are Sprouts?

Sprouts are tiny nutritious very young plants mid-way between seeds and full plants. They look like little threads with peas on the top. A sprout is a seed that has germinated and grown for generally 4-7 days. It is grown with water only, as the seed contains all the nutrients it needs to grow the infant plant to that age. A micro-green is essentially a sprout that is harvested typically between 10 and 20 days, when 2-6″ tall, depending on the variety. Micro-greens are also known as “baby” greens, the early growth of a plant, and are more nutritious plus more delicately-flavored than the full-grown plant. [1] Sprouts are skinny little veggies that are big on nutrition. More technically, they begin as seeds that — when exposed to the right temperature and moisture — germinate into very young plants. [2]

Three main classes of sprouts are – grain, beans or leafy sprouts. Some common types of sprouts are bengal gram sprouts, green gram sprouts, beans sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower sprouts, radish sprouts, lentil sprouts, chickpea sprouts, pumpkin sprouts and wheat sprouts.

Sprouting is the process whereby seeds are germinated so that they may be cooked or eaten in raw form. Sprouting is a very common practice in in Indian sub-continent. Sprouts can be produced at home as well as industrially. Sprouting involves soaking grains, seeds, nuts, or legumes so that they start germinating and start producing pod-like protrusions. Sprouts may carry a risk of foodborne illness similar to any food item that is eaten raw.

How are they formed?

Seeds when exposed to water and proper temperature, germinate into young plants. Sprouting is the process whereby seeds are germinated and eaten either raw or cooked. Sprouts are in fact known as super-food.

As per The Fit Indian [4]: “The nutritional changes that occur while sprouting mainly happen due to the breakdown of complex compounds into simpler forms. The process helps in the development of some essential nutrients, constituents and also plays an important role in the breakdown of anti-nutrients that make the whole phenomenon of sprouting possible. Metabolic activity in dormant seeds commence when they are hydrated during soaking. They are one of the most important ingredients for raw food diet … They provide our body all the essential minerals and vitamins when they are used on a regular basis in our diet.”

Benefits of Sprouts

Eating sprouts promote good health. Sprouts contains beneficial enzymes and anti-oxidants that can
a. help our body in digestion
b. in fighting infections
c. protects against cancer
d. boosts oxygen in the body and detoxes the body

As per Mercola [3], Sprouts as young as three days old contain 10 to 100 times the glucoraphanin, the main enzyme inducer, of the mature vegetable, which helps protect against chemical cancer-causing agents. Eating sprouted foods not only boosts the antioxidant vitamin C content but also increases the chlorophyll content (a good thing), which creates a hostile environment for harmful bacteria and detoxifies your body while boosting your oxygen and immune system levels. Because of the high fibre content, sprouts can also assist in weight-loss.

Sprouts and Lectins

Lectins are a category of proteins that easily bind to cell membranes, given their sticky and glue-like nature. They are abundant in plants, especially in raw legumes, grains, tomato, potato, eggplant and pepper. They are also present in specific vegetables as well as in milk products. In the plant world, lectins help the plant against fungus and insects attacks. However in humans, lectins attach to healthy intestinal cells and cause inflammation. Also known as gut permeability, this is the root cause of many ailments. Lectins being highly durable remain unaffected by high temperatures and by bodily enzymes and digestive juices. Sprouting is the one of best ways to remove the toxic effect of lectins. Soaking and cooking is another method to mitigate the toxicity of lectins. [5][6]

Nutritional Benefits of Sprouting

  • Sprouts contain digestive enzyme and are high on certain antioxidants. Antioxidants such as sulphoraphanes reduce insulin resistance and in people with Type-2 diabetes assist in blood-sugar control.
  • Sprouts contain high levels of dietary fiber, vitamin B Complex, digestive enzymes and proteins.
  • Sprouting increases the bioavailability of calcium, zinc and iron.
  • Sprouting prevents the ill-effects of enzyme inhibitors and the sugars producing intestinal gas.
  • Sprouting neutralizes carcinogens found in grains.

Nutritional benefits of some selected popular sprouts are given below.

Alfalfa Sprouts

Sprouts Wiki Alfalfa Sprout

Bean Sprout

Sprouts Wiki Bean Sprout

Brussels Sprout

Sprouts Wiki Brussels Sprout

Use of Sprouting in Malting

Sprouting is also applied on a large scale to barley as a part of the malting process[8]. Malt is the basic ingredient used to make beer. Malt is barley that has been sprouted such that enzymes produced convert its starchy to sugar. Making malt needs barley and water only. A three-step process, steeping, germinating and drying, can transform it to beer. The grains germinated by soaking in water, and are then prevented from germinating further by using hot air.

Side-Effects

In some cases, they can trigger food poisoning with diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

As per Foodsafety website [7]: “Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.”

How to Keep Sprouts Safe for Consumption

As per Eatright [2], one should follow the below steps to ensure that Sprouts are safe for consumption.

  • Buy only fresh sprouts that have been kept properly refrigerated.
  • Do not buy sprouts that have a musty smell or slimy appearance.
  • At home, refrigerate sprouts at 40° F or below — in a clean refrigerator.
  • Wash your hands properly before handling raw sprouts.
  • Rinse sprouts thoroughly under running water before use.

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References

  1. http://www.fourseasongreens.com/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=48330
  2. http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food/are-sprouts-safe-to-eat
  3. http://foodfacts.mercola.com/sprouts.html
  4. http://www.thefitindian.com/sprouts-for-weight-loss/
  5. http://bodyecology.com/articles/lectins-the-anti-nutrient
  6. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-lectins
  7. http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/fruits/sprouts.html
  8. http://byo.com/hops/item/1108-malting-your-own-techniques
  9. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-sprouting-seeds-2304.html
  10. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-sprouting

Images

Alfalfa Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts

Thank you for reading Sprouts Wiki and Guide. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

5 Replies to “Sprouts Wiki and Guide”

  1. Not only is there ample information on the innumerable facets on this “skinny little veggies that are big on nutrition”, but the presentation deserves special adulation sir!

    The pros and cons have been profitable dealt with, and–this i am sure of–your readers are surely going to give serious consideration to adding sprouts in their daily diet.

    Of course, that includes me too!

    Thank you, and hope to see more of these informative and enlightening topics spilling out from your pen, err! keyboard… 🙂

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