Sprouting is a special stage of growth in a plant’s maturation…and one to take advantage of! During sprouting, a seed contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and its nutrients are far more bioavailable and beneficial. Really, there’s no reason not to eat sprouts—they’re inexpensive, easy to grow in your home, and a tasty treat or addition to salads, juices, and sandwiches.
The Sprouting Process
The antioxidant content of some seeds increases by as much as 20 times during the sprouting process. When mung beans sprout, their vitamin B1 content shoots up by as much as 285%, vitamin B2 by as much as 515%, and vitamin B3 by as much as 256%! In addition to all the B vitamins, Mung beans are rich in protein, fiber, and vitamin A.
How do sprouts compare to fresh fruits and vegetables? They contain approximately 100 times more enzymes than fruits and vegetables do, and boast higher concentrations of essential fatty acid and fiber. Sprouts are also more bioavailable, meaning their nutrients are better absorbed and utilized by the body. During the sprouting process, minerals bind to proteins in the seeds, rendering both the minerals and the proteins more usable.
Some Exceptional Sprouts
Watercress is a standout sprout, as evidenced by a recent study titled: “Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Dense Approach.” Watercress scored a 100 when it came to nutrient density, with 17 vital nutrients, including thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, folate, protein, fiber, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.
Sunflower seeds and pea shoots are known for their high protein content, and they’re purported to be 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. These sprouts are also loaded with essential fatty acids, healthy fats, and fiber. Here are some other all-star sprouts:
Wheatgrass: Time for a wheatgrass shot! Wheatgrass is packed with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K.
Alfalfa: With a hefty dose of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K, alfalfa includes nearly every letter of the alphabet.
Lentil sprouts: Lentils are loaded with protein—26%!
Brussels sprouts: One cup of Brussels sprouts delivers more then 240% of the RDA for K1 and more than 130% of the RDA for vitamin C. Eat some Brussels sprouts and you’ll also benefit from its fiber, manganese, potassium, choline, and vitamin B content.
The health benefits of sprouts can’t be denied, and sprinkling in some sprouts on your salads and sandwiches is an easy way to make sure you’re giving your body all the nutrients it needs.