Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens
What are sprouts and microgreens?
Sprouts are seeds that have been germinated. This means that the seed has begun to grow. Microgreens are the immature greens that can develop from these seeds. They may contain leaves and start to look like small plants. Microgreens emerge 7-14 days after germination.
Why should we eat sprouts and microgreens?
Sprouts and microgreens contain higher concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids than the mature plant into which they would develop (source). They also contain high concentrations of phytochemicals, cancer fighting compounds (source).
Raw foodies tout sprouts as being a “predigested” food which they believe allows our bodies to better extract nutrients. However, there aren’t any reputable sources supporting this.
There has been much publicity about the health concerns associated with eating sprouts.
At least 40 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have been linked to sprouts since 1973. These outbreaks were likely due to seeds getting contaimned by animal manure which lead to bacterial growth. This is why you should sprout yourself!
Note: High risk groups should avoid eating raw sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts and mung bean sprouts
You can do it yourself!
What can you sprout?
Pretty much any whole seed (see here)
What are the steps?
How I sprout (using wheat berries as an example):
1. Rinse the wheat berries very well.
2. Let them soak in filtered water for about 20 minutes.
3. Pour off extra water and transfer seeds into a mason jar.
4. Here is where you can get technical and buy sprouting jars….or use a pair of pantyhose. I take the pantyhose and put them over the lid of the mason jar and secure them with a hairband. I put the mason jar on a slight slant (prop up with a towel) to let excess water drain into the sink.
5. Let sit 12 hours and then rinse and repeat.
6. Continue for about 2-3 days until the seeds sprout and you see little “tails.”
7. Put in fridge to eat raw, on salads, oatmeal, etc.
Note: Each type of seed requires different amounts of time to soak and sprout. You can learn more here
Do you eat sprouts? Do you buy them or sprout your own?