Amazing Health Benefits of Super Sprouts
Sprouts are super foods, small in size but complete with essential nutritive elements. They are real foods, consumed raw, needs no cooking, generally added to salads and soups. Most common varieties of sprouts include whole grains, seeds, legumes nuts or grass varieties, that form part of a healthy diet for optimal health.
Sprouts date back to almost five thousand years. According to Chinese Legends, sprouts were a remedy for mortality as an old Chinese holy man discovered a town where people lived for over hundred years with sprouts being their main dietary source. Greatly inspired, the holy man started producing sprouts that became a prescription for treating various ailments. Moreover, during the 1700s Captain James Cook used vitamin C enriched sprouts, along with fruits to treat his soldiers suffering from scurvy. However, they gained wide popularity with Nutritionist and Botanist, Dr Clive McKay’s, research based on soy sprouts representing them as a nutritional powerhouse, an excellent alternative protein source for meat beneficial for vegans and vegetarians, high in vitamins A and C.
How to Grow Sprouts
The Wonders of Sprouting
New life springs from a seed. However the most crucial stage in a plants growth is that along with the plant the nutrients also start growing. This is what is called the process of sprouting. However during the germination process, the seeds become two-thirds their size due to absorption of moisture. At this point the nutritive content undergo significant changes. The husk of the seed comprising of the embryo grows into shoot and roots. However, during this process the two halves of the seed namely endosperm and cotyledons supply food for the plant thereby increasing content and activity of enzymes. This leads to simple conversion of starch to sugar, fats to fatty acids and protein to amino acids. These pave way for better absorption and easy breakdown without the side effects of allergies as with their non-sprouted counterparts.
Nutritive Components in Sprouts
Sprouts have an amazing array of nutritive elements consisting of organic compounds, essential vitamins and minerals, enclosing B vitamins in ample amounts. They are also a good source of Vitamins, proteins and dietary fibre that includes Vitamins, A, C and K, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, panthothetic acid and folate. Among the minerals, they contain zinc, copper, iron, calcium and manganese. Besides these, they are a rich source of health-benefitting digestive enzymes.
Health Benefits of Sprouts
With highly nutritive natural substances in the form of Oxygen and estrogens, vitamins and minerals, grains are capable of battling a number of diseases. Here are a few of them…
Possessing high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin C, selenium and zinc, sprouts minimise DNA damage by scavenging and neutralising the free radical substances in the body, a precursor for developing risk of various ailments that accelerate the process of ageing.
2. Women’s Health
The phytochemicals present in concentrated amounts are beneficial for women, as they alleviate fibrocystic breast tumour, PMS, hot flashes and symptoms of menopause. They also make a natural remedy for hormone replacement therapy.
3. Bone density
The healthy plant estrogens available aplenty in sprouts increase bone density, safeguarding from bone demineralisation and risk of osteoporosis.
Sprouts regulate blood sugar levels due to the enhanced activity of hydrolytic enzymes.
5. Blood Pressure
The potassium content helps regulate blood pressure in the body. With natural dilating tendencies, they enlarge the arteries and reduce tension.
The saponins neutralize the body’s lipids facilitating optimal cholesterol level by lowering the LDL and increasing the HDL.
The potassium content in sprouts keeps the blood vessels relaxed thereby enhancing circulation and oxygenation. This factor prevents risk of hyper coagulation and plaque deposition along the arterial walls of the heart.
The omega 3fatty acids with anti inflammatory properties protect the heart from cardiovascular disease by alleviating stress..
The saponins available in sprouts boost immune health by enhancing the activity of T-Lymphocytes and interferon cells, improve body’s defense mechanism protecting from attack of antigens.
The digestive enzymes augment absorption of nutrients by effective breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This stimulates the digestive enzymes, regulating bowels, preventing constipation and diarrhoea. The alkaline tendencies help balance the pH factors in the body
11. Weight Loss
Sprouts, a powerhouse of vital nutrients are not just healthy but also help weight loss. Loaded with nutritive content, they are low in fat and cholesterol, rich in fatty acids, protein and fibre which makes them a natural solution for weight loss. Furthermore, the presence of fibre impart satiety, preventing unwanted unhealthy food cravings, curbing the urge for excessive snacking. They add bulk to bowels and restricts the release of hunger hormone, ghrelin.
Sprouts make an amazing energy food as they hold high levels of simple sugars.
The iron and copper elements in sprouts improve haemoglobin levels and alleviate symptoms of anaemia. Enhanced haemoglobin levels result in required supply of oxygen to body tissues and cells enabling smooth functioning. During the sprouting process they produce chlorophyll which combats protein deficiency anaemia.
14. Anti ageing
Rich in antioxidants, sprouts neutralise the free radical elements averting the risk of degenerative diseases and thus slowing down the ageing process. [more anti ageing foods]
15. Skin Care
The free radical scavenging activity protect the skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun minimising the risk of Melanoma. The huge amounts of C and B vitamins hydrate repair and regenerate skin cells and boost production of collagen. Besides these the skin friendly nutrients protect from acne, age spots and pigmentation, making the skin visibly brighter.
16. Hair care
Rich in iron, zinc, copper, vitamins A K and omega3 fatty acids sprouts stimulate the scalp by boosting circulation. They strengthen the hair follicles, keep scalp hydrated by facilitating serum production of the scalp. This regenerates the scalp cells, alleviate dandruff and promote thick growth of hair.
Sprouts are live foods consumed raw. Hence they require proper cleansing as they pose serious risks of contamination resulting in outbreaks of food borne diseases like E coli and salmonella . Some varieties of sprouts like beans prove hard on the digestive tract and produce excessive flatulence and gas.