Why Are Sprouted Nuts, Grains, Seeds and Legumes Better For You?

The sprouting of nuts, grains, seeds and legumes has been an age-old practice in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. I wonder if our ancestors somehow knew about the health benefits of sprouting at the time, or it all happened simply by accident due to the shortage of food and preservation methods, just like many other beautiful discoveries (think kefir, yogurt & cheese…)?

There’s been a lot of hype around sprouted foods in the health world lately. Sprouted bread, sprouted nut butters and snacks of all sorts… whether it’s home-made or manufactured. So it got me thinking, why are sprouted food better for you? How does sprouted food impact our gut health? Why do we pay more for anything sprouted?

BENEFITS OF SPROUTED FOODS:

After reading several articles and books, I found that sprouted foods:

  1. Increases nutrient absorption (helps the body absorb and take in the benefits of vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, zinc, and amino acids. aka increase bioavailability of nutrients that you already take in from other foods.)
  2. Improve digestion (this is because the sprouting process helps breakdown complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats via hydrolysis chemical reactions. As by-products, this process also releases enzymes that can help with digestion.)
  3. Decreases antinutrients such as phytic acid, aflatoxins and tannins, which are naturally present in plants as part of their self-defense mechanism. While these chemicals protect the plants, antinutrients have the ability to bind to nutrients that are beneficial to humans, making them unavailable to (aka. unabsorpable by) our bodies.
  4. Increases fibre content (the benefits of fibre to gut health is well-known, as it helps “move things along” to put it in a simple way!)
  5. Helps breakdown gluten (a protein – see points 1&2.) This is particularly helpful as gluten is widely present in our food system today and that it’s inflammatory to our gut.
  6. May increase antioxidants such as phenolics, flavonoids and rutin. Antioxidants help fight cancer as they scavenge free-radicals.

However, keep in mind that sprouting foods at home can be dangerous, just as home fermentation like making kombucha and kimchi. Read more in the list of resources below to mitigate the risk of getting food poisoning by home-sprouting!

SO WHY ARE SPROUTED FOOD MOR EXPENSIVE?

Let’s take sprouted grain bread as an example. They are more expensive than their conventional white bread counterpart because the sprouting process delays harvest time, and they’re almost always produced by small independent farms. The refining of wheat flour on the other hand often strips out many valuable nutrients naturally occurring in the grain. Other than all the health benefits stated above, sprouted grain bread also has a unique flavour and texture that many people find enjoyable, thanks to the breakdown of sugars in the sprouting process which impart a sweetness to the bread and helps with a better rise, creating a softer texture and larger volume (Food Science baby!).

BONUS: PRODUCT REVIEW!

(Disclaimer: I’m not associated with any of the companies mentioned below. Just putting my honest review here!)

I’ve recently tried sprouted nut butters from JEM Organics. In Canada I believe they are only distributed through Raw Elements (also a great website I found through The Ultimate Health Podcast). I have to say I absolutely love them! They are not overly sweet (sweetened with coconut sugar which has a lower GI), contains wholesome ingredients such as sprouted organic nuts, and most important of all, they are delicious! Afterall, if health foods are not delicious, who’s gonna eat them?! I like that they offer unique and interesting flavour combinations such as Cashew Cardamom (one of my favorite!), Superberry, Cashew Curry Tahini, Cinnamon Maca, Pistachio Ginseng (I so want to try this one but haven’t been able to find it here!!) That said, these sprouted nut butters are more expensive than regular nut butters. But I felt great supporting small independent businesses that are making great products!

Here’s my little breakfast plate: JEM Sprouted Cashew Cardamom Almond Butter on PROMISE GLUTEN FREE Raisin Loaf (I also love this GF bread when I don’t feel like making my own! Very soft and close to the texture and flavour of regular bread. Bonus for the high fibre! Mmm, perhaps I should do a GF bread review soon!)

JEM Sprouted Cashew Cardamom Almond Butter on Promise Gluten Free Raisin Loaf

Resources:

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