Did you know that sprouts have the highest phytonutrient content per calorie of any food? Sprouts are nutrient powerhouses! I’ve recently started to sprout at home and was pleasantly surprised by how easy, inexpensive, and low-maintenance the process is. Consider sprouting an indoor form of gardening that gives you a steady yield (with zero mess and minimal labour!) This blog post will outline some of the health benefits of sprouts and provide the steps to help you start sprouting ASAP.
What are they?
A sprout is a germinated seed of a vegetable, grain, or bean. There are many different varieties that all differ in texture and taste. Sprouts can be added to just about any dish - wraps, salads, stir fries, topping on hummus, etc. to give extra flavour and nutrition. They also create a gourmet presentation, Master Chef-style.
1. Sprouts contain everything you need: essential fatty acids, enzymes, protein, fiber, vitamins, micronutrients, etc. and are very low in calories. If you’re conscious about caloric intake, you can go to town on sprouts without fear of over-indulging.
2. Sprouts are rich in antioxidants, which decreases oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Oxidative stress is present in many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many others. Actually, we all have some amount of oxidative stress created from just basic functioning (like breathing), even in absence of disease, so we could all use antioxidants in our diets. Broccoli sprouts in particular contain 20-50x more glucoraphanin (an antioxidant) compared to mature broccoli.
3. Sprouts are rich in a variety of vitamins, notably Vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for bone health, blood clotting, and regulating many cellular functions. Just to give an idea on quantity, approximately 1 cup of (alfalfa) sprouts provides 40% of your daily value of Vitamin K.
4. During the sprouting process, minerals (like magnesium and calcium) bind to proteins which increases bioavailability of both minerals and proteins, making them more easily absorbed in the body.
5. If you recall my last post on Cruciferous Vegetables, I mentioned how broccoli sprouts in particular are very high in sulfurophane, which is both an antioxidant and a cofactor in detoxification (helping the body remove waste products), which is key in our urban, chemical-rich world.
-Glass mason jar (1L)
-Bowl or dish (that holds inverted jar in order to drain excess water)
-Seeds of your choice (I ordered mine from a Canadian company: Mumm’s sprouting seeds, which are organic and non-GMO. Check them out here)
Place 1 TBSP seeds in mason jar.
Secure a thin layer of cheesecloth at mouth of jar with elastic band.
Rinse seeds with filtered water. Give them a swirl in jar and then drain excess water.
Soak seeds by adding ~1 cup of filtered water to jar and let stand for about 4-6hr. Refer to seed package in case seed variety requires more or less time.
Rinse seeds 2x per day with filtered water by giving them a swirl and then removing excess water.
After removing excess water, invert jar by placing it mouth-down in a bowl or dish so excess water can drain.
Within a day watch as the seeds begin to germinate!
Most varieties are ready to eat within 4-5 days.
Note: instructions are provided on seed package