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Sprouted Vs. Unsprouted Beans and Grains

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

We are tackling some new and old health crazes. It can be hard to keep up with all the new diets and trends, especially with regards to health. Sprouted foods come in many forms: breads made with sprouted grains and seeds; nut milks soaking cashews or almonds overnight, or pulses made from sprouted lentils or chickpeas. So, why is sprouting so good for us?

All grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes share something in common: they are the seeds of plants. Yes, those chickpeas, lentils, frijoles (before garra has been added to your favorite bandeja paisa side) are all seeds that can be brought back to life and planted. In a seed's lifecycle, what we buy in the store are dormant seeds.

An unsprouted seed is in dormant condition. Sprouting is the initiation of life for a seed, like these sprouted beans.

Sprouting can have many health benefits. Once a seed sprouts, compounds used to keep the seed intact until it can be germinated is canceled out by a surge in enzymes. These enzymes make the nutrients in the seed more available, giving the baby plant the energy needed to grow. When we eat sprouted foods, we are theoretically getting the nutrients stored for the plant to use when it is in the ground.

The germinating process breaks down some of the starch, making the amount of nutrients in the grain/seed higher. Additionally, phytate, an acid that decreases vitamin and mineral absorption in the body, is broken down, allowing the body to absorb more of the good offered from the grain. For this reason, we can eat raw, sprouted beans, whereas uncooked non sprouted beans will upset the stomach. No to mention, adding heat to most living things will kill some of the nutrients, so by eating the beans raw we are receiving nutrients that would have been cooked out.

Grains have folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and protein; but sprouted grains also have less starch making them easier to digest than regular grains. This makes sprouted grains an especially great option for a vegetarian or vegan diet, and anyone that experiences digestive issues with grains. 

Sprouted Chickpeas: Under the right conditions (temperature and humidity) a grain or legume will sprout. The outer layer splits open and a small tail will come out, meaning the plant is now ready to be germinated.

Why else is sprouting good?

To maintain good health the body needs a balance of acid to alkaline food. The modern diet typically has too many acid forming foods in our diet. Meat, grains, and legumes are often thought to be acid forming. By sprouting your beans and grains, you are starting the process of making a plant, therefore it is more alkalizing when compared to the same ingredient in its non-sprouted form.

Recap: *Sprouting neutralizes the acid that stops the absorption of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc in the seed, grain, or legume. * It is easier to digest as soaking grains help to convert complex ingredients to simple forms. * Sprouting increases many of the essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, Vitamin C, folate, soluble fiber and essential amino acids.

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