Mention one food that rivals meat and dairy products in nutritive value and has none of the ill-effects. If the answer does not come to you easily, then you need to update your knowledge about sprouts. Yes, we are talking about sprouts– the healthy way of meeting the protein and vitamin C needs of your body.
In fact, over 5000 years ago, sprouts were prescribed by ancient Chinese physicians as a cure for many disorders. Closer to our time in the 1700 s, Captain James cook included sprouts as part of his soldiers’ diets to prevent scurvy, caused due to the lack of vitamin C.
Low fat, high fiber, no cholesterol, abundant vitamin A and C, high protein—sprouts have a lot to recommend that it be included as a part of every diet.
Some sprout facts
Eating sprouts is indeed a very important part of healthy eating:
- Sprouted pulses are rich in vitamins A and C. There is on an average a 300% in vitamin A and a 500 to 600% increase in vitamin C.
- The form of iron in sprouts, unlike in pulses, is easily absorbed.
- The vitamins C that is present in sprouts aids iron absorption.
- Germinated pulses have an easily digestible form of carbohydrates- maltose or malt sugar.
- In sprouts proteins are available as amino acids.
- Broccoli sprouts are one of the most powerful cancer prevention weapons.
- Half a cup of almost any sprouted seed provides vitamin C equivalent to six glasses of orange juice !.
Growing your own sprouts
When a seed germinates it becomes a sprout. Though sprouts are considered excellent food, it should be consumed in addition to food grown to a more mature state utilizing the benefits of earth and sunlight. It cannot replace such food.
A variety of seeds can be sprouted: among them are alfalfa seeds sunflower seeds mung, beans, azuki beans and lentils. Sprouts may eaten raw or with a little cooking. A simple and easy sprouting method is as below.
Wash seeds thoroughly. Soak the seeds in clean water (3 times the volume of the seeds). You could use a jar or any other container.
Note: You have to soak the seeds longer in cold weather than in warm weather.
The water in which you soak the seeds should not be cold.
Soak overnight or for six to ten hours.
Remove the seeds into a muslin cloth and keep it away from sunlight.
Ensure that the cloth remains moist throughout the process.
Soon your seeds will have little sprouts. Seeds like alfa alfa and mung could be sprouted till the first leaves appear. Other sprouts should be used sooner.
Sprouts can also be refrigerated to be used in salads etc. when required but not for long periods.