March is National Nutrition Month…where Super Foods take the stage.
And this year, it seems, sprouted grains are all the rage.
But what exactly is a sprouted grain? And why are they considered more healthful than traditional grains?
Shoots & Sprouts
Sprouting the seed of grains, nuts, and beans, can help unlock valuable nutrition. When the sprout takes shape, it deactivates certain enzymes that block nutrient absorption. Reducing these “anti-nutrients” (compounds like phytates and lectins) helps make more micronutrients and fiber available.
Other nutritional benefits of sprouted grains include:
- Increased micronutrients such as B vitamins including folate, and vitamin C, plus fiber, and essential fatty acids
- Improved digestibility – some people find sprouted grain easier to tolerate if traditional grains cause bloating or GI discomfort
- Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic for those who have certain grain-based sensitivities
- Higher content of certain antioxidants than non-sprouted grains
To learn more about sprouted whole grain nutrition, check out this article from the Whole Grains Council.
How to Sprout
If you’re looking to get more sprouted grains in your diet, here’s some tips:
You can sprout grains at home easily with some mason jars, water, and a few days’ worth of patience. Here is a great article from Vegetarian Times about sprouting and estimated soaking and sprouting times.
Way Better Snacks has an array of sprouted grains snack foods that include unique ingredients such as sprouted quinoa, and broccoli and daikon radish seeds.
Thanks to samples provided by Way Better, I recently sampled their Simply Sunny Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips. Not only are these chips packed full of flavor, they are GMO-free, gluten free and contain an impressive 3 grams of fiber per serving. If you’re looking for a convenient way to get your sprouted grains, Way Better is the way to go!
Bake With Sprouted Flour
Sprouted grain flour can be purchased or made from your own sprouted grains. Whole Foods Market carries a number of sprouted whole grain flours, and most can be substituted one-to-one for all-purpose flour in recipes.
If you’re not a baker but like bread, try out some of the commercially available sprouted grain bagels, whole grain breads, and tortillas available at certain health food stores. Look for sprouted grain bread products in the refrigerated aisle.
Incorporating sprouted grains into your diet can enhance health and expand your whole grain horizons; however, raw sprouts and raw sprouted grains should be avoided by high risk populations such as pregnant women, infants, and people with compromised immune systems. To learn more about sprouts & sprouted grain food safety, click here.
And for a little more sprouted grain love – check out my segment on the topic from yesterday here.