Sprouting For Health

As the cold weather approaches and my fresh local organic produce choices lessen, I find myself sprouting more. I love sprouts and eat them all year long, but I tend to eat a whole lot more of them in the winter months. A lot of us depend on fresh produce that is transported across half a continent. True, we may garden in the summer or shop our local farmers markets, but winter stops all but the most dedicated, or most southern, gardeners and small farms. By sprouting at home, we can supply delicious, healthy, fresh food to ourselves and our families - without the environmental drawbacks of large corporation farm raised produce - at a fraction of the cost.   

Sprouting at home takes only a few minutes a day and can produce a good part of your daily nutritional requirements.  Because they're grown right in your kitchen counter/garden, they have not been in cold storage, or on supermarket shelves, losing valuable nutrients. I add them to my sandwiches , soups, smoothies, and even put a handful on top of my raw pizza and lasagna. 

One of the greatest benefits of all raw foods, but especially sprouts is the amazing health benefits available in every bite or sip you take! 

Sprouts have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes and are easily digested and assimilated by your digestive tract. 

Here are some of the benefits of some of my favorite sprouts. This list is by no means exhaustive so please experiment on your own and find what sprouts you like best. They are ALL excellent for your health. With sprouting you just can't go wrong! 

Alfalfa sprouts are loaded with saponins; plant molecules that have a direct stimulatory effect on the immune system to reduce the production of inflammatory toxins in the entire GI tract. Saponins encourage the growth of friendly bacteria while decreasing the harmful ones in both the small and large intestines. They also flush pathogens through the gut without allowing them to be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Broccoli sprouts contain a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane glucosinate that stimulates the body's immune system in such a way that it can greatly reduce and virtually eliminate toxins in the body BEFORE they can ever damage DNA. This stuff literally cause cancer cells to self- destruct. So, eat your broccoli, juice it, and definitely sprout it! Just 1 ounce of broccoli sprouts contain as much sulforaphane glucosinate as one and one half POUNDS of broccoli! 

Clover sprouts are loaded with chlorophyll as evident by their dark green leaves. They are known as a blood tonic; they cleanse and build blood and have been used for centuries to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. 

Fenugreek sprouts have many health benefits as fenugreek is a mighty powerful herb. It's known to be a blood cleanser, a diaphoretic, and a lymphatic cleanser. It is extremely beneficial to the digestive tract as it creates a protective coating over inflamed areas of the stomach and intestines, including peptic ulcers. 

Mung beans have been revered as a super healing food in both Ayurveda and Chinese dietary therapy for thousands of years. In fact, both of these ancient healing traditions believe that mung beans balance the body's three principal energy centers. Mung beans are a legume and ALL legumes should be sprouted in order for the body to properly digest them. 

Wheat (aka wheat grass) Wheat grass has got to be the king of sprouts! It contains ALL contains all of the vitamins that science has isolated, over 90 minerals, and 30 amino acids and is a complete protein. One of those enzymes, superoxide dismutase is known to SLOW cellular aging. Additionally, wheat grass suppresses the appetite and stimulates metabolism and circulation which is not only beneficial to your health but may actually help you shed a few pounds. 

For more about sprouting see my 4 Part Fall Sprouting Series where I discuss why we should eat sprouts, why we should grow them ourselves, what we can sprout, and how to sprout!  

Make Life Delicious, 

Chef Tina Jo 

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