Health and Nutrition

Sprouting: The Life Force of Plants

Gregg Carroll - Thursday, January 10, 2013

Did you know eating a cup of sprouted foods every day keeps your immune system strong, fights off fatigue and decreases the risk of cancer? Many studies have shown that sprouted foods have multiple health benefits for our bodies.

Among all the foods that were analyzed for their nutritional profile, sprouted foods were found to be some of the most wholesome and complete foods. No wonder sprouts are called the "Life Force." Although sprouts have gained popularity in the West only in recent years, many ancient cultures have appreciated their nutritional significance for centuries. Sprouts have been part of the Chinese cuisine for many years, and have been worshipped in some Asian cultures for their resilience and healing powers.

What is Sprouting?

Sprouting is a process of soaking and germination. Seeds, nuts and grains are a condensed source of many nutrients, and the sprouting process enhances these nutrients significantly. The process of soaking and rinsing seeds eliminates the natural enzyme inhibitors and awakens the dormant seeds to grow into a plant. When this occurs, the nutrients in seeds break into simpler components, resulting in enhanced nutritious and fiber-rich foods. Sprouted foods are the quickest and easiest way to pack wholesome nutrition into any meal. Sprouted foods are versatile and can be added to smoothies, salads, breakfast porridge and many other dishes.

What is So Remarkable About Sprouted Foods?

The three distinct benefits to sprouted foods are:

• Rich food enzymes

• High nutritive value

• Nullified anti-nutrients

Sprouting and Food enzymes: Our bodies are dependent on enzymes for performing many biological actions such as digestion and the uptake of nutrients. Many factors such as aging, consuming processed foods, and the overcooking of foods depletes our body of natural enzymes. Furthermore, consuming less plant-based, enzyme-rich meals puts a heavy burden on our digestive system. Research indicates that sprouting remarkably increases natural enzymes in food which aids in digestion and the breakdown of nutrients. Carbohydrates are broken down to simpler sugars, complex proteins are broken into simpler amino acids, and fats into beneficial fatty acids. The process of “pre-digestion" that occurs during sprouting preserves the body's digestive enzymes and prevents enzyme depletion, which progresses with the aging process. All sprouted nuts, seeds and grains are pre-digested foods, which put less demand on our digestive system as a whole.

Improved nutrition: Sprouting improves the important nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, B vitamins, fiber and essential amino acids. Sprouts absorb minerals from the water used for sprouting and form digestible complexes called chelates making it convenient for the body to utilize the nutrients. The nutrients in living, sprouted food can continue to build right until they are eaten or processed.

Suppresses anti-nutrients: Sprouted foods also increase the bio-availability of nutrients as well as neutralizing the effect of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are compounds that bind with minerals and make them unavailable for absorption during digestion. Sprouting cancels out the harmful effects of such anti-nutrient and improves the absorption of nutrients.

Research On Health Benefits of Sprouting

Maintains blood glucose levels: A study showed that sprouted chick pea (garbanzo) exhibited improved antioxidant activity and inhibited key enzymes associated with type 2 diabetes. The study concluded that sprouted chick peas could be effective as an anti-diabetic agent.

Sprouted brown rice improves memory: A study that evaluated the learning and memory of mice fed with sprouted brown rice versus mice fed with polished rice showed that learning and memory improved significantly. The study suggested that sprouted rice may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Higher antioxidant content: Studies confirm that sprouted grains have higher antioxidants than non-sprouted foods. The activity of antioxidant enzymes catalase and peroxidase were significantly higher in wheat sprouts. Similarly, sprouting mung beans were found to increase the concentration of phenolic and flavonoid compounds (powerful antioxidants) to a significant degree.

Sprouting nuts, seeds and grains is a time-consuming process where attention to the details is very important. At Blue Mountain Organics™, through our Better Than Roasted ™ process we make it easier for customers to enjoy the benefits of sprouted foods. We do the “sprouting" for you, so that you can enjoy nutritious and delicious foods and have more time for the important people and activities in your life!

Click these links for more raw and cooked, or sprouted flour recipes.


Sprout Supreme Salad (serves 2)

Dressing

½ Tbsp. tamari

½ tsp. honey or agave or coconut sap

½ Tbsp. raspberry vinegar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Cucumbers, sliced

Vegetables

½ Romaine lettuce, chopped coarsely

½ lb. sweet potato, evenly sliced to short strips of 1" thickness

1 scallion, finely chopped

½ avocado, diced

olives, pitted & chopped

¼ cup baby spinach

1 cup grocery store fresh salad bag

1 cup Love Raw Foods™ mung sprouts

Garnish

1 tsp. Better Than Roasted® black sesame seeds

1 tsp. Better Than Roasted® flax seeds

2½ Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. Better Than Roasted® walnuts or macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

Toss cut sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread them as an even layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and bake for about 12 minutes in a preheated oven at 450 degrees.

Prepare the dressing by combining lemon juice, tamari, honey, raspberry vinegar, salt and rest of the oil. In a small bowl toss the sprouts with a tablespoon of dressing and allow them to absorb the flavors for about 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cucumbers olives and other veggies, toss well with the dressing. Serve this mixture in a salad bowl and top with baked sweet potatoes and marinated sprouts. Garnish with black sesame seeds, flax seeds before serving. You may also choose to top with dry nuts of choice.

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