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What Are Sprouted Grains?

By Sara Butler

You may have noticed a lot of food available is now referred to as “sprouted” – and these foods are popping up everywhere. The real question is if these foods are more nutritious than non-sprouted foods. Here’s what you need to know about this food type and whether it’s a food trend you should be paying attention to.

Seeds, Seeds Everywhere

If a food is sprouted, then it means it’s a seed of some kind. You’ve got the usual seed suspects in sunflower, chia, and pumpkin seeds but there’s also a type of seed called a pulse. These are split peas, black-eyed peas, and chickpeas. You can throw quinoa and nuts and oats in there too because they technically can qualify in this category – they can all be sprouted.

So, what does it mean to be sprouted? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like because it means you’ve allowed the seed to begin to grow or sprout. They are then stopped in the middle of the sprouting process and dried, added to other products or mashed up.

Their Many Forms

You can buy sprouted bread, almonds, tortilla chips, and wraps. They even create powders out of them you can add to oatmeal or smoothies in the morning. If you want to make sprouted foods a part of your diet, it may be best to stick to the least processed ones.

The Nutrition Factor

Every seed contains compounds that will not allow them to sprout until the conditions are just right. Once a seed has sprouted there is a surge of enzymes that makes the nutrients contained in the seed available to the baby plant that is meant to grow from it. The theory behind sprouted seeds is that the nutrients will be made more readily available to you too, plus easier to digest.

There haven’t been a lot of studies looking into the nutrition of sprouted foods quite yet, but the few that are out there do seem to support the idea of sprouted seeds being more nutritious for you. Sprouting has been found to boost the antioxidants levels in some seeds, such as brown rice, and increase the fiber as well.

If you want to try sprouted foods, then there’s nothing that should be stopping you from adding them to your diet! You simply need to make sure you’re buying products that are as whole grain and unprocessed as possible.

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