Sprouts: An Easy Way to Grow Your Health

Salad with Sprouts
Photo by Moria via Flickr

Do you love to toss sprouts in your salad, stir-fry them with vegetables, add them to soup or use them in sandwiches? Well, you are not alone.  Many people enjoy the pleasant taste of sprouts in their dishes. Some of the sprouts most commonly eaten are alfalfa, red clover, mung bean, broccoli, soybean, onion, radish and garbanzo bean.

What are sprouts?

Sprouts are the young shoots of plants, which are usually eaten raw. They are most often grown from the seeds of vegetables, grains, nuts or beans. However, not all sprouts can be eaten raw. Some sprouts, like kidney beans are toxic. And other are considered safe to eat only when cooked. So, it is important to know which ones you’re eating and how they should be prepared.

What are the health benefits?
Sprouts are a living food. What does that mean exactly? Sprouts continue to grow slowly and gain extra vitamin content even after harvesting. They are considered highly nutritious and are packed with a multitude of health benefits.  Sprouts are very rich in beneficial enzymes, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and proteins.  So how do all the healthy things packed into sprouts benefit you?

  • Enzymes aid in digestion: Eating an enzyme-rich food like sprouts, helps our bodies break down the nutrients in our food easier. Food enzymes are only found in uncooked foods. Cooking kills them. Research has shown that sprouts are the most powerful enzyme-rich food. As we age, we produce less digestive enzymes, which can make us more susceptible to the effects of aging and certain diseases. Some people call sprouts the “Fountain of Youth.”
  • Phytochemicals help fight diseases: Phytochemical compounds are only found in plant based foods. Research has shown that they may help reduce the effects of aging and decrease the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cataracts, urinary tract infection, osteoporosis and boost the immune system.
  • Vitamins and minerals are important for normal body function: Sprouts are bursting with a high content of vitamins and minerals, which help keep the body functioning properly and in proper balance. Deficiencies can lead to certain diseases, such as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.
  • Contains easily digestible proteins: Sprouts are a nutrition dense food that contain up to 35%  protein. The protein in sprouts is easily digested, because during sprouting the complex compounds in the seed are converted to their simplest form in the sprouts.

Why Grow Sprouts?
Sprouts, as we discussed, have a lot of health benefits and are easy, fast and inexpensive to grow. Inexpensive kits can be bought online or at health food stores. The sprouting seeds can be bought online or at some grocery or health food stores. You can grow tasty, fresh, nutritious sprouts all year long in the comfort of your own home. And it takes less than 5 minutes a day of your time for 3 to 7 days, depending on what sprouts you are growing and requires no soil. It is a lot less work than growing a vegetable garden where some vegetables that you plant can take up to 90 days to grow.

How do you grow sprouts?
Below you will find a step by step tutorial on how to grow your own sprouts:

  1. Place two tablespoons of seeds in a sprouting jar or a mason jar.
  2. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth for the mason jar or a mesh wire for the sprouting jar.
  3. Pour lukewarm water in the jar. Make sure the seeds are covered by three times as much water.
  4. Soak overnight, for 8 to 12 hours, in a dark, dry place.
  5. Drain the water from the jar. Rinse seeds in lukewarm water and drain again.
  6. Rinse the seeds two or three times a day, every 8 to 12 hours.  Make sure the jar is not in direct sunlight and is kept at room temperature.
  7. In a few days, the seeds should begin to sprout.
  8. Some sprouts need to be relocated on the third or fourth day for greening. This is where you place the jar in indirect light so that your sprouts can turn green.  During this time you continue to rinse and drain two to three times a day .
  9. By the end of 3 to 7 days, depending on the variety, your sprouts will be done. Most of your sprouts will have green leaves.
  10. You then remove the hulls, rinse and dry your sprouts and place them in your refrigerator

Sprouts are not only tasty and easy to grow, they are also a wonderful food that is high in nutrition. So, add them to your daily diet and your body will thank you. Who knows, you might even slow down the aging process. That by itself is a good enough reason to eat your sprouts!

Comments (8)

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  1. Rosy says:

    Fabulous post, Talli!!! I’m totally going to do this, I buy my sprouts at the Farmer’s Market. Just to make sure, once I drain the initial water, I just have to raise the seeds and don’t add water again?

  2. M says:

    Excellent insight as always…sprouts have not even been on my mind until NOW! Thanks again!

  3. Talli van Sunder says:

    @Rosy That is right. The seeds are only soaked initially (once) and after that they are continually rinsed. A dry seed is inactive. When you soak the seeds you initiate growth. 🙂

  4. Heather B says:

    What sprouts do you recommend for someone just starting out? What’s with all the rinsing? What does that do? Seems like a lot of work for something that doesn’t yield large amounts. Worth it?

  5. Blake says:

    I love sprouts on sandwiches but I always forget that I like them. I’m gonna have to go get some.

  6. Talli van Sunder says:

    @Heather B Alfalfa and clover (leafy sprouts) tend to be the easiest to grow. But sprouting is so easy to do that any type will do for someone starting out. Rinsing is important for germinating. Actually, sprouts take less than 5 minutes a day of work for 3 to 7 days and it is much cheaper than buying at the store. You can have a yield of a week or two of sprouts. They are mainly used as a garnish and not as a main meal. So, you actually get a lot for your time! Hope that answered all your questions. Please visit this link if you have any more questions. They are the experts! Thanks for your questions. http://www.sproutpeople.com/

  7. Jaimie says:

    I need to do this with the kids for a project. I always end up buying them….

  8. whoa, thank you so much for posting this! It is going to help when I research Garbanzo Beans at the grocery store! Very Awesome!

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