Remember when shopping was simple and white bread was the bee’s knees? Then there was wheat bread. Then whole wheat bread. Then multi-grain bread. The bread sections in grocery stores continue to multiply with brands and types, each offering an array of healthier benefits and better perks than the one before. Yet, one of the most nutritious options is one of the hardest to find. Sprouted grain bread.
Sprouted grain bread, as well as any sprouted food product, seems to go hand-in-hand with the fermentation trend for good reasons including a high nutrient content, low sugar index, as well as other plentiful health benefits. This is due to the naturally occurring sprouting process. When grains are allowed to sprout, they use a large amount of the stored glucose (or sugar) as energy in order to make sprouting happen. On top of that, seeds retain more protein, healthy fat, and minerals, than those that are ground in mills. This means sprouted products are not only lower in sugar, but also have a higher nutrient value.
The Sprouting Process
Sprouting is the process of soaking seeds — including legumes, grains, and nuts — in water until they sprout a small tail. Depending on the seed, sprouting time may take days or weeks. The sprouting environment is also highly regulated including water and air temperature, the amount of light, and the length of sprouting time. An incredibly important part of the sprouting process is cleanliness. Soaking seeds must be rinsed up to three times daily in order to ensure that mold can’t grow.
Once the seed is finished sprouting, it can be eaten as a “living food”.
Sprouted food favorites include sprouted pumpkin seeds, almond seeds, sprouted nut mixes, and of course, sprouted grain bread. Sprouted grain bread is made with multiple sprouted grains all ground together.
No matter what type of sprouted food you decide on, you’re getting a wealth of benefits!
Health Benefits of Sprouted Foods
Seeds are naturally on the difficult side for our digestive systems to process. Due to this difficulty, we also lose many of the health benefits that seeds offer. This is why modern-day agriculture stepped in, to help make them more edible, but, unfortunately, agricultural processes were unable to truly rectify the problem. With that said, there’s an all-natural way to enjoy seeds without the harmful effects that cultivated seeds oftentimes perpetuate. Simply sprout them!
Sprouting seeds softens their outer hull in order for the “tail” to break through, while also releasing enzymes that break down proteins and carbohydrates. This sprouting process makes seeds much easier for our bodies to digest and it allows the seed to release more nutrients imbibing the little nugget with a higher vitamin content. On top of that, since the seed has already been broken down in the sprouting process, the nutrients are absolved directly into the body, lowering the risk of losing nutrients through difficult digestion.
Low Glycemic Index
We’ve all heard that the consumption of large amounts of carbohydrates can be detrimental due to the fact that they fall on the higher end of the Glycemic Index. Yet, what is this index their referring to? The Glycemic Index (GI) is “a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels,” basically, it’s telling of how much glucose or sugar a carbohydrate has. The lower a carb falls on the GI, the slower it’s digested, absorbed, and metabolized, and therefore your blood glucose level (amount of sugar in the blood) and insulin levels rise at a slower and healthier rate. Sprouted foods use glucose content as energy during the sprouting process, which naturally lowers their place on the Glycemic Index, making them a healthier food option.
Reduced Anti-Nutrient Content
Many seeds contain substances that cause harm to the body such as anti-nutrient properties, including phytic acid, which are “substances that inhibit the absorption or use of other nutrients,” or substances such as lectins and saponins that cause bodily disruptions. Sprouted foods have a very low content of these harmful agents due to the sprouting process. The sprouting process can disable unwanted anti-nutrients, while also enhancing the “bioavailability of zinc, iron, and calcium,” and lowering the phenol and tannin content.
Eating Sprouted Foods
Learning about sprouted foods is all well and good, yet how easy is it to incorporate them into your weekly grocery shopping schedule? Surprisingly, sprouted foods are quite abundant on the grocery store shelf and are incredibly easy to grow in your own home.
Sprouting At Home
There are many benefits to sprouting your own foods at home. Not only do you save money — sprouted foods can be on the more expensive side — but, once you get the rhythm down, you will have a constant supply of incredibly fresh and quality controlled sprouts to sprinkle on your salads or snack on at work.
First, decide on what you want to sprout. It’s recommended to start with something easy, such as microgreens. Not only do they provide a wealth of nutrients, but they sprout quickly. Once you decide on the type of seed, you’ll need to prep the materials. Purchase a sprouting container or make your own by combining a glass jar with a breathable top such as a cheesecloth. Next, start sprouting! Use filtered water to lower the risk of contamination, make sure to rinse your seeds and refresh the water daily, and choose an area in the house that receives indirect sunlight (such as near a window, but not in the windowsill).
Next, just wait! Depending on the type of seed being sprouted, you may need as little as two or as many as seven days. Use this chart to help you keep track of the sweet spot for sprouting times.
Buying Sprouted Food
There are a variety of health food brands that offer sprouted foods straight from the grocery store shelf or orderable online. Living Intentions is a trusted health food brand found in many grocery stores that offers an array of delightful sprouted food snacks including Unsalted Sprouted Almonds, Smoked Barbeque Sprouted Seeds, or Spicy Mango Sprouted Trail Mix.
Sprouted grain bread is oftentimes a little more difficult to find, yet many popular stores and online marketplaces (including Walmart, Target, and Amazon) carry a variety of options including Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Bread, Dave’s Killer Bread, Silver Hill’s 100% Sprouted Power Bread, and, one of the most dependable, yet expensive options, Food for Live Ezekiel Original Sprouted Bread.
Sprouted Mung Bean Salad/One Green Planet
Once you’ve found the best way to get sprouted foods, it’s time to cook! Luckily, sprouted foods can be used just like any other product you’d use in the kitchen. Instead of those canned kidney beans, try using sprouted kidney beans such as in this Sprouted Kidney Bean Chili. Spice up your normal lunch salad with some sprouted microgreens such as this Sprouted Mung Bean Salad. Make your favorite pastries by supplementing this Raw Sprouted Wheat Berry Pastry Dough or try your hand at making your own sprouted grain bread such as this Sprouted Chickpea Bread.
Kick start your sprouted food experiment by downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, as well as well-informed articles on sprouting techniques, tips, and tricks. Plus, subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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