Winter is here for good. The frosty, white Christmas and a slightly less winter New Year’s Eve are behind us, and thus the time of summaries and New Year’s resolutions. Many of you have included healthy eating on your list. Today I am going to tell you about a product that should be part of every healthy diet. I invite you to a short reading about sprouts.
What are sprouts and where can we find them?
Sprouts are seed-derived young plants in the early stages of growth. We call their production process sprouting. During germination, many easily digestible nutrients are released from the seeds. This is why sprouts are so nutritious, and their digestion and absorption is much easier for our body than the seeds themselves. The sprouts accumulate nutrients that could be used by the adult plant in the future. As you can see, a small dose of sprouts is enough to provide the body with a lot of valuable ingredients.
The wealth of sprouts!
You already know that sprouts are healthy, but what is actually in sprouts? I will list a few of the most popular types for you and describe their advantages.
Mung bean sprouts – they are crunchy and slightly sweet in taste. A word of advice for mums: mung bean sprouts are a great snack for your little ones. If your little ones are not fans of the green color on the plate, it is worth starting the sprout adventure with them. These sprouts are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber. They can be eaten raw or after a short heat treatment.
Alfalfa sprouts – are considered to be one of the healthiest. They owe their fame to a large amount of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and vitamin A.. Alfalfa sprouts are also rich in antioxidants and phytoestrogens – ingredients that support the endocrine system of women. You should eat these sprouts raw, as an ingredient in salads, or sprinkle them on ready-made dishes.
Broccoli sprouts – extremely popular thanks to its content sulforaphane – an ingredient with proven anti-cancer properties. The concentration of sulforaphane in sprouts is much higher than in the adult plant. In addition, broccoli sprouts are a source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, A, calcium and iron. They have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. They have a positive effect in the treatment of Helicobacter Pylori infection, and numerous studies carried out in 2014 and in subsequent years have shown that supplementation with surforaphane contributes to the relief of symptoms of some types of autism. It is worth remembering that the concentration of sulforaphane in sprouts decreases with their storage time, which is why fresh sprouts are the most valuable. High temperature is also unfavorable and causes significant losses. Only eat broccoli sprouts raw!
Radish sprouts – these are slightly spicy and more and more popular sprouts. They are a valuable source of magnesium, vitamin C, niacin and sulfur. They are recommended as an ingredient supporting detoxification due to their heavy metal chelating properties. These sprouts are best eaten raw. They are not recommended for people with histamine intolerance.
Kale sprouts – will provide you with vitamins B1, B2, B6, folic acid, vitamin C, carotenoids, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium and the aforementioned sulforaphane. Like broccoli sprouts, they do not tolerate high temperatures and long storage.
Where to find sprouts and how to store them?
Ready-to-eat sprouts are now available in most supermarkets, discounters, hypermarkets and health food stores. You’ll find them in refrigerators, usually around fresh herbs, salads, and green leaves.
Importantly, the sprouts should be properly stored, so when shopping, pay attention to whether they are refrigerated, check the use-by date, smell and appearance.
Germination is a process that takes place at high humidity and at room temperature, which, unfortunately, can promote the growth of various types of bacteria, including Escherichia Coli and Listeria Monocytogenes. Appropriate storage of ready-made sprouts, i.e. at low temperature – in the refrigerator, and rinsing the sprouts before consumption, reduces the risk of infection to a minimum.
How to grow sprouts yourself?
The seeds are the basis for growing sprouts. These should be special seeds intended for sprouts, pre-decontaminated but not affected by plant protection products. It is best to choose seeds for sprouts from organic farming where the use of chemicals is prohibited.
Depending on the type of sprouts, there are several methods of their germination:
- jar method – the seeds are placed in a jar and regularly moistened until sprouts are obtained. A gauze is placed on the jar and between the rinsing of the seeds, the jar is placed upside down, at an angle of approx. 45 °, so that excess water can drain into the vessel placed underneath.
- germination of seeds on a layer of material moistened with water – seeds are placed on a material, e.g. a cotton cloth, lignin, or a linen or hemp bag that absorbs water and holds it. The seeds are regularly moistened as in the previous method until sprouts are obtained. The bag is suspended and the wipe is placed on the drain sieve between rinses.
- sprouting in a sprinkler – the sprouter is a set of trays with a perforated or notched bottom, equipped with a hole for draining excess water. Seeds are scattered on the trays. The germination trays are stacked on top of each other and the seeds are rinsed regularly. In this way, it is possible to grow several types of sprouts at the same time.
Necessary in each of the above-mentioned methods is adequate and frequent rinsing of seeds 2-4 times a day with lukewarm, boiled water. The seeds should have access to oxygen and, in some varieties, also to light. Sprouts should germinate at room temperature.
Sprouts are for you an invaluable source of nutrients. As we can enjoy them regardless of the season, especially now, in the winter, when we lack fresh vegetables and fruit, it is worth adding sprouts to our daily menu. They will supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. In my application you will find sprouts in many recipes. They appear as an element of salads, addition to pastes, sprinkles for main courses and snacks. If you don’t have time to sprout, no excuses, you can find them in most stores. However, remember about proper storage and pay attention to their freshness and quality. Eat sprouts for health!
- McGuinness G, Yeonsoo K. Sulforaphane treatment for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review.EXCLI J. 2020;19: 892–903.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/broccoli-sprouts
- Okomo Aloo S, Kwame Ofosu F, Kilonzi S, Shabbir U, Hwan Oh D. Edible Plant Sprouts: Health Benefits, Trends, and Opportunities for Novel Exploration. Nutrients. 2021;13(8): 2882.
- Singh K, Connors SL, Macklin EA, Smith KD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zimmerman AW. Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014. 28; 111(43):15550-5.
- Szulc J, Czaczyk K, Gozdecka G. Methods of obtaining sprouts – from home crops to industrial production. Food; Science. Technology. Quality, 2017; 24.3 (112): 27-40.
We want to give thanks to the author of this post for this amazing material
Eat sprouts for health!