Sprouts: Goodness multiplied

Sprouts are a convenient way to augment the nutrition quotient of your meals

Why you should sprout

  • Sprouting causes the dormant enzymes from the grain, pulse or seed to become active
  • Proteins are broken down into their amino acids, making them easier to digest and absorb. If you consume something after sprouting, 30 per cent more protein can be absorbed by the body than eating it before sprouting
  • Some amount of saturated fat is also converted to essential fatty acids during the process of sprouting
  • The mineral absorption is far better
  • There is an increase in calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous and, most significantly, vitamin C
  • The content of vitamin B1, B2, and B3 doubles after sprouting
  • Finally, sprouting decreases the gas produced from consuming pulses, making them easy to digest.

What can you sprout

Various grains like wheat, ragi, barley or seeds like alfalfa, fenugreek, and musk melon are used for sprouting. The most commonly consumed sprouts are in the form of legumes like green gram, Bengal gram, peas, soybean and moth.

Sprout Bhel

  • Take 30g [a fistful] of boiled sprouts
  • Add to it chopped onions, tomatoes, capsicum and grated carrot.
  • Add one fistful of puffed rice.
  • Add to it some salt, chaat masala, lime juice and one teaspoon of date-jaggery chutney.
  • Mix well and dig in!

How to do it

The process of sprouting is very easy. Make sure to use good quality of seeds.

  • Wash and rinse the seeds thoroughly.
  • Then soak them in water for 8 – 12 hours, making sure the container is covered in a way that allows some air.
  • After 8 – 12 hours, drain the water.
  • For the next 2 – 3 days, the grains should be washed 2 – 3 times a day and each time the water should be drained off completely. Remember that no water should be retained or else the grains will start rotting or fermenting.
  • Depending on the temperature and humidity, your sprouts should be ready for use within 2 – 3 days.

Once ready, they can be stored in a refrigerator for 7 – 10 days in an air-tight container.

Another way to sprout is, after you have soaked the grains overnight, drain the water the next morning. Transfer the grains to a damp, clean cloth and tie the cloth tightly. Keep this in a covered container for 1 – 2 days and by the second day you will see the grains sprout.

If you have no time to go through sprouting grains at home, you can always buy a packet of readymade sprouts from your local supermarket.

Cooked is better than raw

The commonest myth about eating sprouts is that they are better eaten raw than cooked. Always cook your sprouts before eating—it kills the bacteria and makes it easier to digest.

This was first published in the February 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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