Find the Plant to Find the Sprout
Since plants come from sprouts, sprouts have been around for a very long time. We will probably never know exactly when sprouts first became part of the human diet, but we do have record of sprouts being part of the healing diet of the Ancient Chinese.
Because of their vitamin C content, they were useful during the 1700-1800’s as a preventative for scurvy. And being easy to grow with just a little water, they were an easy food to maintain on a ship in the vast ocean.
Western countries being a bit slow in adopting the healthy habits of other countries, took an interest in sprouts as a healthy food within the last 40 years or so. Now sprouts can be found in almost any grocery store, making them accessible nutrition for everyone.
What is a sprout exactly, and why would I eat it?
Sprouts are the baby version of anything that grows from a seed, bean or grain. These little greens would, if left to grow, become the plant that produces food products. While the preservationist in us might cry “why kill that plant?”, the truth is that sprouts are little nutrient-packed bites of goodness and there are plenty to go around.
When a seed, bean or grain sprouts, that little green stores up a whole bunch of nutrients in preparation for its
growth into a plant, vitamin C and vitamin A being in the highest concentration. Consuming sprouts at this stage gives us nutrients in a higher density than we would get from the mature plant or its products. These sprouts also provide proteolytic enzymes that aid in digestion and, if consumed on an empty stomach, help to decrease inflammation.
Sprouts of just about any food source can be consumed. You can easily grow sprouts from seeds such as alfalfa, clover, cabbage, chia and broccoli, and beans like adzuki, red, lentil and garbanzo. This is just a small portion of the seeds and beans that can be sprouted and eaten. The sky is literally the limit!
Grains can be sprouted as well, and in fact, provide more nutrients in sprouted form. Read my blog here about why! Sprouted grains can be used in cereals, salads and other cold preparations, or heated minimally for a hot breakfast cereal. If dried and ground, they make excellent flour, or can be used whole in baked goods.
Does a Body Good
Sprouts provide vitamins C, A, K, B6, pantothenic acid, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin; the minerals manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium; and protein and fiber. The levels of each will vary between species of sprouts, but rest assured that no matter which kind you eat, you will be getting very beneficial nutrients.
One of the dilemmas we are soon to encounter with the presence of GMO foods is the unplanned propagation of genetically modified genes. As I talked about it my blog about GMO meat, it has been found that genetically modified genes can and do survive the digestive tract in both animals and humans.
This means that animal waste that is used as fertilizer may very well contain those undigested genes. That waste is tilled into the ground as fertilizer for plant growth, and may be absorbed by the plants, creating an unintended GMO plant. This opens up a whole new reality for the propagation of genetically modified foods.
As seeds go, there are many plants that have been genetically modified besides corn and soybeans: alfalfa, potato, wheat, rice and tomato have also been introduced to the market, probably without your knowledge. This also begs the question of what else has been introduced that hasn’t been studied that we as consumers do not know about.
For these reasons I suggest purchasing seeds for sprouting that are certified non-GMO.
Find my sprouting seeds review blog here to buy non-GMO sprouting seeds and supplies!