A sprout is essentially the shoot of a plant that grows from the seed. When exposed to the right moisture and temperature levels, it develops into a very young plant. Almost any nut, seed, grain or legume can be sprouted and offers a lot of nutritional density as well as easy digestibility.
When you sprout foods, you can benefit from more enzymes in sprouts than in uncooked fruits and vegetables. Enzymes help extract important vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids from foods. Plus experts agree that the quality of protein in grains, beans, nuts and seeds improves immensely when it is sprouted.
As another bonus, the fiber content of sprouted foods also increases substantially during the sprouting process. But fiber content is not the only component that expands with sprouting. In fact, vitamin content, especially vitamins A, C, E and B complex also build up when foods are sprouted. At the same time essential fatty acid content in sprouted foods also rises.
With nutritional density of sprouts increasing on one hand, another benefit of sprouted foods is that they become more easily digestible by the body. During sprouting, the soaking process helps convert the vegetable protein to simpler amino acids for easy digestion. Complex carbs are also broken down by soaking and turned into simpler glucose molecules.
While grains and legumes are typically thought to be acid forming, sprouting them has an alkalizing effect. By sprouting grains and legumes you are making them into a more alkaline forming food that can then balance the other acidic foods that may be part of your diet.
To sprout your food, the method is pretty much the same for most grains, seeds, legumes and nuts, but the time varies. The method involves using a one third full mason jar with the desired seed to sprout. Cover it with water overnight by placing a sprouting screen screwed into the lid.
Drain the water in the morning and rinse. The sprouting screen will let you do all this easily with no fuss. Then invert your jar at an angle permitting it to drain and circulate the air inside. Rinse 2-3 times daily for about three days and the seeds will transform into sprouts.
Add some sunflower sprouts in your salads today! They are my favorite.