Why Eat Sprouted Foods?
It seems like sprouted foods and products made with sprouted ingredients (such as sprouted nuts, grains, chia seeds, etc.) are all the rage lately, and are beginning to be talked about more and more. But WHY? I jumped on the bandwagon (sorry not sorry) and have started trying quite a few different sprouted products. BUT I don't like mindlessly following trends so I started researching the health benefits (I always believe being informed about what you're eating helps you have a better relationship with food!) and there are a ton. Today I'll share with you some of these health benefits (so you can be informed as well!) and some of my favorite sprouted products (because they're delicious and who doesn't love trying new healthy foods). :) But first thing's first... what exactly does "sprouted" mean? When seeds are put in water, they germinate, causing the outer layers to split open, and a young shoot is able to grow (yes- just like in elementary when you would put beans in wet paper towels in jars! Who knew you were such a health-foodie at such a young age? ;) ). When this occurs, the new sprout consumes some of the grain’s starches, altering the food’s nutritional content. Raw nuts and seeds contain natural enzyme inhibitors that help preserve them from degrading. When they are saturated with water it releases these enzyme inhibitors, allowing them to become active. These active enzymes are what causes the many health benefits that are described below!
Health Benefits of Sprouted Foods:
Lower glycemic index: Because the new sprout consumes some of the starches, the proportion of protein and fiber of each seed becomes higher. This causes the lower glycemic index. Breads made with sprouted grains are shown to trigger a lower blood sugar response and greater amount of our satiety hormones, compared to to other breads with the same content of carbs.
Higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: Vitamins such as B2, B5 & B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D are increased when foods are sprouted, as are antioxidants.
Increased absorption of minerals: As I stated before, sprouting activates enzyme inhibitors and breaks them down, allowing your body to more easily adsorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
Increased digestibility: Sprouting also breaks down starches into simple sugars allowing your body to digest them more easily.
Degrades counterproductive anti-nutrients: Sprouting grains also helps reduce "anti-nutrients" that don't allow you to absorb beneficial nutrients. One "anti-nutrient" in particular that sprouting helps fight against is phytic acid. Phytic acid inhibits absorption of some minerals like iron and zinc (Vegetarian diets are usually low in iron and zinc, so sprouted foods are very beneficial if you don't eat meat!).
My Favorite Sprouted Products:
Earthling Organics Rawnola Bars: I just tried these bars for the first time last week and HOLY YUM. I expected to open it up and have it be like a classic granola bar, but it was more like a tastier, denser graham cracker. Earthling Organics' products contain zero grains, zero gluten, zero GMOs, zero refined sugar, and zero trans fat. The bars come in four flavors: vanilla, cacao, matcha, and goji berry. So far I've only tried the goji berry and vanilla flavor and they're both amazing (and don't worry I have the other two flavors ready to try soon ;) ). They also make rawnola clusters in the same four flavors!
Living Intentions Superfood Cereal, Sprouted Nuts, and Salad Booster: WARNING. If you don't want to become an addict, don't try the superfood cereal. I swear I can hardly put it down. Their superfood cereals combine sprouted grains with superfoods like acai, cacao, chia, and hemp to create an amazingly nutritious (and DELICIOUS) mix. It's perfect with almond milk, mixed with yogurt and smoothies, or by the handful... not that I do that... too often. ;) Their sprouted nuts also make for the perfect snack and you can choose from seasoned or un-seasoned depending on what you're feeling (I suggest cilantro lime pistachios and pepitas). I've also been loving their sprouted salad booster. My mom brought it to me at school a couple of months ago when she was visiting and I was a little confused about what it even was, but it's now become a staple! It's essentially a seasoning made out of nutrient and protein packed ingredients. I love sprinkling it on my salads (duh- salad booster), along with quinoa, soup, and roasted veggies. It's a perfect way to add major flavor and nutrition to any meal.
Go Raw Sprouted Bites, Bars, Cookies, and Chocolate: Go Raw makes a HUGE variety of sprouted snack products that you can 100% feel good about munching on. Besides the bites, bars, cookies, and chocolate that I've tried, they also make "flax snax," "salad snax," coconut crisps, and sprouted granola. They're made with organic ingredients that are sourced locally (when possible) and the sprouted bites, bars, and cookies include no added sugar, oils, flour or animal products and they come in TONS of flavors. My favorites? The sweet spirulina bites, banana bread flax bars, and chocolate cookies. But the chocolate can't really be good for you too can it? YES IT CAN. Go Raw's chocolates are made with raw organic cacao and raw organic agave nectar (it comes in three flavors, but my favorite is the original!). This was actually the chocolate we tossed out to our sorority sisters when we ran the meeting last month- they loved it!
If you haven't played around with sprouted foods yet, you definitely should! Trying new products that I know are healthy and will benefit my body and health in an even bigger way than other foods is so much fun and I hope you guys have some fun trying out some of the products I listed above, or other sprouted products out there (or even trying sprouting yourself! I haven't done it yet, but I've seen a ton of tutorials out there on Google and Pinterest). Let us know what you think of sprouted foods- We'd love to hear from you and hear about your favorite products or uses for sprouted grains, seeds, or nuts! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, message me on Facebook, or DM me on Instagram @BlondeGoneClean or Twitter @BlondeGC.