Sprouting to unleash more than nutrients…

/ June 8, 2015/ Holistic Nutrition/ 0 comments

My love for sprouts has been growing since my cooking class at IHN. I learned how easy it was sprouting. But never got around to do it…

When I was reading a section in the Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad, this passage inspire me to make them:

“In spring Mother Earth wakes up and causes sprouting; energy moves up; everything is blooming and flowering, full of colors and greenery. People feel energetic and love to go outdoors. It is the season of celebration.”

Seeds are packed with nutrients that they need to begin growing when the conditions are suitable. When the seeds sprout, the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates held in reserve are released along with an incredible flow of energy.

In Ayurveda, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds are sattvic. A sattvic diet improves mental quality and energy, helps to restore harmony and balance, opens the mind and promotes alertness.

Why soak grains, nuts, seeds and beans

Well, it starts the sprouting process… So you get increased nutrients and improved digestibility. But more importantly to remove toxins and anti-nutrients such as phytates, tannins, and goitrogens.

I am going to stay away from the controversy about whether soaking reduces cooking time or not. In my experience, it does. One day, I forgot to soak chickpeas overnight as I usually do. I decided to just rise and soak for a few minutes and then cook them. It took 3 times longer to cook…

Why sprout grains, beans, and seeds

Here are some of the advantages in eating sprouted foods:

  • Increased vitamin content, especially B2, B5, B6 and C (3–12 times)
  • Activated enzymes (As much as 6 times)
  • Proteins are converted to polypeptides and free amino acids
  • Starches are converted simple sugars
  • Minerals bind to organic forms making them easier to assimilate.
  • Increased chlorophyll and carotene content
  • Neutralizes phytic acid which prevents absorption of important minerals
  • Inactivates carcinogens in grains
  • Home-grown sprouts are very cheap

Increased B and C vitamin help the body with deficiencies created by stress. The body needs them to make energy.

In sum, sprouts can easily make your meals more nutrient dense and balanced. Sprouts can also be a good replacement of local greens when these are not available.

How long does it take to sprout?

Here are the soaking times for some nuts:

Food Soaking time (hrs)
Almonds 8-12
Brazil Nuts 3
Cashews 2-4
Hazelnuts 8-12
Macadamias 2
Pecans 6
Pistachios 8
Walnuts 4

I have no experience in sprouting nuts… so I won’t comment on that.

Here are the soaking and sprouting times for some seeds and beans:

Food Soaking time (hrs) Sprouting time (days)
Adzuki Beans 8-12 4
Amaranth 8 1-3
Barley 6 2
Black Beans 8-12 3
Buckwheat 6 2-3
Chickpeas/Garbanzo 8 2-3
Flaxseeds ½ No Sprouting
Lentil Beans 7 2-3
Millet 5 12 hours
Mung Beans 8-12 4
Oat Groats 6 2-3
Pumpkin Seeds 8 3
Sesame Seeds 8 2-3
Sunflower Seeds 8 12-24 hours
Quinoa 4 2-3

How to sprout

Easy peasy… first you soak overnight. Use 2:1 ratio for water and seeds or whatever you are sprouting. Soak and rinse nuts and seeds always whether you are sprouting them or not to remove toxins and anti-nutrients.

Then you drain and rinse thoroughly with filtered water. Rinse 2 to 3 times a day.

A wide-mouth mason glass jar with a mess works great for sprouting. You don’t really need fancy equipment.

How to use sprouts

Here are a few ideas:

  • Sprouted grains are ideal as breakfast cereal or as an addition to baking goods
  • Sprouted beans are a great addition to soups and salads bringing extra protein and crunch.
  • Sprouted beans make an excellent live bean dips like humus.

Just a couple of warnings:

  • Limit the amount of raw sprouted grains as they contain irritating substances to keep animals from eating them.
  • Alfalfa sprouts might contain an amino acid (Canavanine) that can be toxic in large quantities.

Try sprouting mung beans or sunflowers seeds. They are the easiest.
I love to add mung bean sprouts to my miso soup. Yumm! Let me know what you come up with.

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