Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sprouts

I’ve been excited about growing sprouts for awhile.  They’re easy to grow, cheap to buy, and VERY healthy to consume.  Yesterday I ordered a couple pounds of sprouting seeds from Heirloom Acres seeds.  It cost me only 20.50 for Certified Organic chia seeds, mustard seeds, quinoa seeds, alfalfa seeds, amaranth seeds, and green lentils seeds.  

Soaking and sprouting your grains and seeds before consumption increases the enzyme activity as much as 6 times.  This is because germination neutralizes the inhibitor that keeps the enzymes from flourishing.  The process of germination increases vitamin content dramatically.  This is especially true of vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E.  The vitamin content of some seeds, grains, beans, or nuts increases by up to 20 times the original value within only a few days of sprouting.  Research shows that during the sprouting process bean sprouts increase in vitamin B1 by up to 285 percent, vitamin B2 by up to 515 percent, and niacin by up to 256 percent.  Carotene also increases dramatically.  Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc.  
Experts estimate that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables.  Enzymes are special types of proteins that act as catalysts for all your body’s functions. Extracting more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat ensures that your body has the nutritional building blocks of life to ensure every process works more effectively.
The quality of the protein in the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains improves when it is sprouted.  Proteins change during the soaking and sprouting process, improving its nutritional value.  The amino acid lysine, for example, which is needed to prevent cold sores and to maintain a healthy immune system increases significantly during the sprouting process.
  The fiber content of the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains increases substantially.  Fiber is critical to weight loss.  It not only binds to fats and toxins in our body to escort them out, it ensures that any fat our body breaks down is moved quickly out of the body before it can reabsorb through the walls of the intestines (which is the main place for nutrient absorption into the blood).

So, how do you sprout and use seeds?  Simple!  Fill a quart jar ¼ full of seeds, fill it up with water and screw on a piece of fabric or cheesecloth underneath the screw band.  Let sit overnight, then drain in the morning and rinse well with fresh water (you can do this without removing the top.)    Place jar upside-down but let it sit at an angle so it can drain.  Rinse a couple times a day without taking off the lid.  Sprouts are ready to use in 1-4 days.  Store sprouts in the refrigerator.

You can sprout beans an use them as you normally would, but they will cook much faster!  You can also sprout your grains before making breads, and add spouts to sandwiches and salads and soups, or eat them steamed!

*Did you know?*  Before the advent of factory farms, grains were partially germinated.  In former times, grain was harvested and sheaved.  The sheaves were then put into shocks and were gathered and built into stacks which stood in the field for several more weeks before threshing.  During this period of weathering in the field the grain seeds were exposed to rain and dew, and with heat from the sun, conditions were ideal for a degree of germination and enzyme multiplication in the grain.   Edward Howell MD Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity

Finally, a book recommendation if you are interested in healthy recipes and tips and lots of wonderful information!  If you'd like to learn more about the healthy eating habits and traditions of generations past, this is the book for you!  It’s called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  I have enjoyed this book immensely, and will for many years I think!  

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