Benefits of Sprouted Foods

There is an amazing increase in nutrients in sprouted foods when compared to their dried embryo. In the process of sprouting, the vitamins, minerals and protein increase substantially with corresponding decrease in calories and carbohydrate content. These comparisons are based on an equivalent water content in the foods measured. Analysis of dried seeds, grains and legumes shows a very low water content. But this increases upto tenfold when the same food is converted into sprouts. For accurate comparison each must be brought to a common denomination of equal water content to assess the exact change brought in nutritional value.

Sprouted mung beans, for instance, have a 8.3 increase of water content over dried beans.

Hence the nutritional value of sprouted and dried mung beans can be compared by multiplying
the analysed nutrients of sprouted mung beans by the factor of 8.3. Based on this criterion, the
changes found in sprouted mung beans when compared with the figures for the beans in the
dried state are as follows:

Energy content – calories Decrease 15 percent

Total carbohydrate content Decrease 15 percent

Protein availability Increase 30 percent

Calcium content Increase 34 percent

Potassium content Increase 80 percent

Sodium content Increase 690 percent

Iron content Increase 40 percent

Phosphorous content Increase 56 percent

Vitamin A content Increase 285 percent

Thiamine or Vitamin B1 content Increase 208 percent

Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 content Increase 515 percent

Niacin or Vitamin B3 content Increase 256 percent

Ascorbic acid or Vitamin C content An infinite increase

The increase in protein availability is of great significance. It is a valuable indicator of the
enhanced nutritional value of a food when sprouted. The simultaneous reduction in carbohydrate
content indicates that many carbohydrate molecules are broken down during sprouting to allow
an absorption of atmospheric nitrogen and reforming into amino-acids. The resultant protein is
the most easily digestible of all proteins available in foods.

The remarkable increase in sodium content supports the view that sprouted foods offer
nutritional qualities. Sodium is essential to the digestive process within the gastro-intestinal tract
and also to the elimination of carbon dioxide. Together with the remarkable increase in vitamins,
sodium materially contributes to the easy digestibility of sprouts.
Dried seeds, grains and legumes do not contain discernible traces of ascorbic acid, yet when
sprouted, they reveal quite significant quantities which are important in the body’s ability to
metabolise proteins. The infinite increase in ascorbic acid derives from their absorption of
atmospheric elements during growth.

Sprouts have several other benefits. They supply food in predigested form, that is, the food
which has already been acted upon by the enzymes and made to digest easily. During
sprouting, much of the starch is broken down into simple sugars such as glucose and sucrose by
the action of the enzyme ‘amylase’. Proteins are converted into amino acids and amides. Fats
and oils are converted into more simple fatty acids by the action of the enzyme lipase.
During sprouting, the beans lose their objectionable gas producing quality. Research has shown
that oligosaccharides are responsible for gas formation. For maintenance of health, some
amount of gas production is necessary but it should be within safe limits. As the process of
germination ends and sprouting begins, the percentage of oligosaccharides is reduced by 90.
Sprouts contain a lot of fibre and water and, therefore, are helpful in overcoming constipation.

Sprouts are an extremely inexpensive method of obtaining a concentration of vitamins, minerals
and enzymes. They have in them all the constituent nutrients of fruits and vegetables and are
‘live’ foods. Eating sprouts is the safest and best way of getting the advantage of both fruits and
vegetables without contamination and harmful insecticides.

It should, however, be ensured that seeds and dried beans are purchased from a store where
they are fresh, unsprayed and packaged as food. Seeds that are packaged for planting purposes
may contain mercury compounds or other toxic chemicals.

Michael Ortiz

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