Tag Archives: Vitamins

Sprouting at Home

30 Aug

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.

Health risks

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

(source)

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

Question:

Do you eat sprouts?  Do you buy them or sprout your own?

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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

16 Feb

Fish Oils

Today we’re going to take a little break from the blog series, Toxins in Water and we’re going to talk about fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids!

What is fish oil?

Fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish.  The oils typically contain omega-3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (source)

What are the health benefits of fish oil?

Fish oil (mainly the omega-3s in it) have shown to help various aspects of mental and physical health.  EPA is linked to heart health and DHA may help brain function.  Omega-3s have been linked to improving numerous health conditions such as:  diseases related to inflammation such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, PMS,memory loss, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and insulin resistance, or rheumatoid arthritis may also benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil (source).

What are the best sources of fish oil?

You may be surprised to know that fish don’t produce omega-3 but accumulate them from the algae and fish they eat.  It makes sense then that fatty fish high up on the food chain have high levels of omega-3 fats but can contain high levels of mercury as well (source).  If you buy fish oil capsules, look for ones with 2 g of one that contains EPA and DHA.  Also, make sure the supplement has been tested to be free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and other toxins.  However, your best bet is to consume oily, cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines (see below), herring and black cod  a few times per week (source)

Caution according to Dr. Weil:  Because they can affect blood clotting, avoid fish oil supplements if you’re taking any anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin), have had a hemorrhagic stroke, or are scheduled for surgery. People with allergies to fish should avoid fish-derived omega-3 capsules. Fish meat may contain mercury, so pregnant and breastfeeding women and children should take care to eat species of fish that are low on the food chain and relatively free of contaminants (source).
If you are a vegetarian:  flaxseeds can be a great source of healthy omega-3s!
Next week we are going to talk about the specific health benefits of omega-3s, EPA and DHA.

 

Question?

Do you eat cold-water fish?  Do you take a fish oil supplement?