Sprouting is a process of germinating seeds in which a tiny shoot arises from the seed. Homemade sprouts are a common way of having fresh vegetables either in the raw or cooked form. A neutraceutical is a food product that provides immense health and medical benefits. Sprouts are indeed a storehouse of health benefits. The nutritional benefits far outweigh the nutritional qualities of the dry seed.
Sprouts are nourishable and are easily digestible as complex carbohydrates are transformed into simpler compounds. Their low calorie and low fat content makes them a favorite with weight watchers. In the sprouting process the seed makes use of the carbohydrates as a source of energy for the generation of the shoot or sprout, which is one of the reasons why they are termed low calorie food.
They have comparatively fewer calories than their counterparts-dry whole grains. Their high fiber content makes one feel fuller and wards off hunger pangs especially those on a weight
reduction or maintenance diets. When we say protein food, one needn’t think of only animal or dairy products. Proteins present in sprouts are broken down to simpler amino acids which can be easily
assimilated in the body. Sprouts are powerhouses of excellent protein minus the fat and cholesterol, no wonder a compulsory food for most vegans.
Sprouts are rich sources of vitamin B and C. The vitamin content of some sprouts increases 20 to 30 times or even a hundred times more than the original amount present in whole seeds. Fresher the sprouts eaten, higher the vitamin content as vitamins can be easily destroyed by oxidation or light.
Sprouts also yield substantiative amounts of vitamin A and E. Dry whole grains contain antinutrient factors or nutrient inhibitors like phytates which form complex bonds with minerals. The initial step of soaking in the process of sprouting paves way to break these indigestible bonds. Further sprouting activates enzymes like phytase which dissolve phytates and release precious minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus. Thus the bioavailability of minerals in sprouts is higher than in whole grains. Enzymes like amylase, protease and lipase responsible for the breakdown of carbs, proteins and fats have become active in the process of sprouting.
The organoleptic or sensory qualities of sprouts are much improved and make them more delicious and appetizing than dry legumes.
In a nutshell, sprouting brings about marked changes
- Increased enzymic activity.
- Increased vitamin content.
- Improved protein digestibility.
- Bioavailability of minerals.
- Decreased antinutrient factors.
- Enhanced textural qualities.
Sprouts are an ideal food for overweights, diabetics, those suffering from heart disorders as well as those having constipation. All edible grains, seeds and legumes can be sprouted. Wheat, ragi, bajra, barley when sprouted are termed as malted cereals. Mung, Bengal gram, peanuts and peas are commonly sprouted at home. Other seeds like alfalfa,
fenugreek, coriander, muskmelon, pumpkin are also germinated. Inclusion of these into the daily diet maximizes the health benefits. Munching raw sprouts with a dash of lemon juice or salt and pepper makes them crunchy and nutritious. So, make sprouts a part of your daily diet.