Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sprouts : An Excellent Source of Nutrition

Mixed organic bean sprouts
Mixed organic bean sprouts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sprouts are considered as wonder foods. Sprouts are the freshest and most nutritious of all vegetables available to the human diet. By a process of natural transmutation, sprouted food acquires vastly improved digestibility and nutritional qualities when compared to non-sprouted embryo from which it derives. Sprouts provide all the essential vitamins and minerals. They should form a vital component of our diet. Sprouting requires no constant care but only an occasional sprinkling of water.

For sprouting, we generally use legumes(such as Mung, Bengal gram, Groundnut, Peas etc.),  seeds(such as Radish seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Carrot seeds, Coriander seeds, Muskmelon seeds etc.) and grains(such as Wheat, Maize, Ragi, Bajra , Barley etc.)

How To Sprouts:
As a first step, a good variety of seeds should be used for sprouting. It should be ensured that the seeds, legumes or grains are of the sproutable type. The seeds should be washed thoroughly and then soaked overnight in a jar of pure water. The jar should be covered with cheesecloth or wire screening. 

The duration of soaking will depend upon the size of the seed. Small seeds are soaked for five hours, medium size for eight hours and beans and grains for 10 to 12 hours. On the following morning, the seeds should be rinsed and the water drained off. Not more than one-fourth of the jar should be filled with the seeds for sprouting. Soaking makes the seeds, grains or legumes fatty, pulpy and full of water.

It should, therefore, be ensured that the jar has enough room for the seeds to expand during sprouting. They will expand about eight times their original size. The jar should be kept at a place which is exposed neither to chill nor hot winds. Sprouts can be kept for several days in refrigerator to retain their freshness and nutritional value.

Benefits:
  • During sprouting process, the vitamins, minerals and proteins increase substantially which enhance nutritional value.
  • In the sprouting process, it simultaneously reduces the carbohydrate content which indicates that many carbohydrate molecules are broken down during sprouting to allow an absorption of atmospheric nitrogen and reforming into amino-acids. The resultant protein is the most easily digestible of all proteins available in foods.
  • Sprouts are excellent potent source of antioxidants and alkalizing to the body, which are very essential for protecting against disease and strengthening the immune system.
  • Sprouts are referred to  as "pre-digested" food due to this breaking down process in the sprouting stage of life. This makes the sprouts far easier to digest than the original seed, bean, nut or grain.
  • Sprouts are  excellent source of essential fatty acids, which many diets are lacking in.

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