In today’s era, every man or woman is trying to switch to a more health-conscious life-style; and a healthy diet plan is incomplete without the addition of sprouts. What are sprouts? In simple terms, sprouts are produced when seeds start growing into vegetables i.e. germinated seeds of legumes and grains. There are many different varieties of sprouts depending on their taste and texture. They can be had as a healthy breakfast, an evening snack, or can be added to a dish or a salad. Sprouts are also referred to as wonder foods as they are a rich source of proteins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Also, they contain the highest content of phytonutrients (nutrients that provide significant health benefits) per calorie of any food.
The process – Sprouting is the simple process of germination of a seed so that it is easily digested by the body and also decreases the presence of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are compounds that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb certain specific nutrients. Why are anti-nutrients present in plants? Anti-nutrients are like the security system of the plants. These compounds, when consumed by the pests and insects, give rise to adverse effects. They are also responsible for keeping a seed from sprouting before they are mature enough.
The process in simple and cost-effective and can be done at home with ease. All you need to do is soak the seeds in a water in a jar or a bowl with about four times water. The water supply has to be done at least twice a day or more (during summers). The germination time varies from 2-7 days depending upon the type of seed, the type of soil, temperature and moisture.
Some of the most common types of sprouts found in the market are seeds of Alfalfa, Sunflower, Soybean, Wheat, Gram, Moth, Peas, Moong, Lobia, Fenugreek. Split peas, Garbanzo beans, Black beans and Kidney beans are also consumed as sprouted seeds.
SOME OF THE MAJOR HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPROUTS:
1) Absorption – The process of sprouting helps breakdown complex amino acids, vitamins, and minerals into simpler forms of glucose, fructose, and maltose, increasing the nutrient absorption ability of the body.
2) Ageing – Sprouts mitigate the destruction of skin cell DNA due to the high presence of anti-oxidants. These types of foods are also known as auxin foods – youth growing foods. These auxin sprouts contain youthful cells which are growth inducers and when in contact with a normal cell in the human body; causes the cells to reproduce younger cells instead of older ones, thus acting as an anti-ageing agent.
3) Detoxification – Sprouts contain a nutrient called silica which helps in removing toxins from the bloodstream and thus increasing the life of the cells.
4) Anti-oxidants – High concentrations of anti-oxidants help in neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream. Anti-oxidants are beneficial for maintaining eye health, protecting the skin from harmful effects of the sun and skin cancer. It is also beneficial for prostate health, heart health, and urinary tract health.
5) Hair care – Sprouts contain high amounts of vitamin K (maintains a healthy scalp and roots), rich in iron (help in maintaining the strength of hair follicles), rich in zinc (keeps the scalp and hair hydrated)
6) Cell regeneration – As already stated, due to the presence of youthful cells in certain sprouts, cell regeneration is one of the most important benefits of sprouts. Also, sprouts help in quick healing of wounds and replacing damaged tissues.
Some of the other benefits include prevention of Acne, Arteriosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, degenerative joint disease, reducing blood cholesterol, hypertension, and strengthening of the immune system.
Owing to these innumerable benefits of sprouts, coupled with its ease of availability, make it a must-have item in our day to day life. No doubt they’re also called wonder foods!!