SPROUTING FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH

By Rebecca Welland

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
Sprouts are bursting with energy, enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, anti-aging constituents, vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll, fiber and complete proteins.

HEALTH BENEFITS:
Improves digestion, vitality, energy, life-enhancing protection against free radicals.

Dr Edmond Bordeaux Szekely concluded a lifetime of research into the benefits of eating raw live foods with a summary of his findings in The Chemistry of Youth, 1977. He identified 4 different groups of foods:

Bioacidic: processed foods with chemicals, preservatives, irradiation and GM. These are dead and only serve to degrade human life.

Biostatic: although less harmful than bioacidic foods, these do little for the organism and include cooked foods or foods that are simply not fresh. They retard biochemical functions and accelerate ageing.

Bioactive: these include fresh raw fruit, vegetables, seeds, beans, legumes and nuts. They will sustain health.

Biogenic: these are the most life-enhancing, high energy, super foods. They are alkaline, complete proteins, high in minerals, vitamins, RNA, DNA and highest in active enzymes. They will revitalize, strengthen and regenerate the human body. This category consists of all sprouts.

WHAT ARE SPROUTS?

These are legumes, grains, nuts or seeds that have been soaked then germinated (usually without sun or soil) into baby plants. Millet and quinoa have the most therapeutic benefits being extremely alkalizing, but here is a longer list of some commonly sprouted foods:

Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, alfalfa, mustard, fenugreek, radish, clover.
Grains: quinoa, millet, wheat, rye, rice, oats, barley, amaranth
Nuts: almonds, cashew, Brazil, pine, pecans, walnuts etc.
Beans: pulses: lentils, adzuki, kidney, chickpeas, blackeye, mung, green peas, peanut

HOW IT WORKS:

Each seed has its own nutritional force to create a full grown plant and once it is soaked in water, significant changes occur:

Dormant enzymes are released. These not only allow the plant to grow but later enable the sprout to be digested by humans.

The germination process represents huge life energy. This explains why sprouts are even more nutritious than other raw foods – they are still in the process of growing at the peak of their life force.

The endosperm and cotyledons (two inside halves) are the food supply of the plant and are loaded with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, essential fatty acids – these all increase dramatically during the sprouting process.

The germination process pre-digests the seed, making its nutrients fully available for digestion and assimilation. The huge increase in enzymes converts starch into simple sugars, protein into amino acids, fats into essential fatty acids. This may explain why beans that ordinarily can cause sensitivities generally don’t do so when sprouted. The end result is a super food with enormous levels of protein, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll and enzymes, multiplied from 300 to 1,000 per cent in the most easily digestible form (cf. Steve Meyerwitz: Sprouts, The miracle food).

 

NUTRIENTS:

Vitamins A, C, E and B.

Antioxidants – they protect against bad free radicals (unstable molecules which cause oxidation, ageing, damaging cell tissue.

All the minerals including much needed selenium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and the trace minerals chromium, copper, iron zinc and manganese. They are in fact the best source of trace minerals next to the sea vegetables kelp, dulse and nori. Also, they contain bioflavanoids and chlorophyll which are important phytonutrients.

RNA and DNA (nucleic acids), found only in living cells and the fundamental needs for cell growth and regeneration. They were found to increase by up to 30 times when sprouting seeds.

Sprouting eliminates not only the enzyme inhibitors, but also such undesirable elements as phosphates at the same time increasing the level of needed elements like phosphorous, lecithin etc which help assimilate fatty acids and aid fat metabolism, cholesterol and hormone regulation.

Proteins – the protein content increases by 15-30 % when sprouted. They are a much more efficient, healthy and cheap form of protein than those from animals.

 

THE ENZYME CONNECTION:

To enhance health we must eat as many foods as we can with living enzymes. Sprouts are the ideal food for this. Enzyme activity is at its peak when germinating the seeds. If we have insufficient enzymes in our diet, the food will move slowly through the digestive tract and can even rot and ferment in the intestines. The end results are toxins that circulate in the body from the colon and from there into the bloodstream. These are seen as foreign invaders by the immune system and the body expends a lot of energy in removing them. This leads to exhaustion, chronic fatigue and weak immunity. When we eat a lot of high enzyme foods, we begin to feel a huge change in our vitality as food no longer lies around undigested in the intestines and is instead used to its full life-enhancing potential.

 

OTHER BENEFITS:

Sprouts are full of fiber – this is essential for the smooth flow of nutrients through the digestive tract.

Sprouts will aid the breakdown and removal of mucous and fats from the body. That’s why if you need to lose weight, eating sprouts can be a great help.

Sprouts will relieve acidosis (when the body is too acidic) due to their alkaline properties. Symptoms of acidosis include stomach ulcers, insomnia, headaches, gas, bloating, foul-smelling stools, water retention, arthritis and other more serious health problems like cancer and heart disease. An acid body also means there are excess hydrogen ions which combine with oxygen to form water, This depletes the body’s oxygen. A shortage of oxygen causes cells to break down and die, creating an unhealthy acid/alkaline balance. It can also cause calcium to be taken out of the bones through urine, creating a fertile ground for osteoporosis. Excess acid can also get deposited in the cell tissues, eventually causing arthritis. Live sprouts will mop up acids – millet and quinoa have a particularly strong effect, being extremely alkalising.

 

HOW TO SPROUT:

No matter how you are going to sprout your seeds, you’ll first need to soak them for a period of time (the bigger the seed, generally the longer it’ll need – see the chart included with this handout for soaking times).

After soaking, my favorite two methods for sprouting the seeds are bag and basket. Two other options are the jar (personally, I have found that this can be a little cumbersome, not so practical for rinsing and above all, the sprouts can easily begin to go moldy or rotten in a jar if the water doesn’t properly drain off), or the professionally made sprouting kit. These vary. They do allow you to grow several different sprouts at one time in a small space, however the home-made versions described below work equally well and are cheaper.

The bag – you can sew this up yourself from netting with a drawstring which you can hang it from. Make sure the holes are not too big so that your sprouts don’t fall through! You can hang your bag from a hook by the sink.

The basket – you can use a colander for this – the larger the surface area the better so that you can spread the sprouts out well. It’s best to cover your sprouts with a loose plastic cover. It needs to be thick enough (ideally 4 ml) so it stands up erect. You’re essentially creating a tent around your sprouts under which air can circulate. The tent can stand around 25 cm high. Elevate your basket a little so there is air circulating all around.

No matter whether bag or basket, remember that you’ll need to calculate for the fact that your crop will triple to quadruple in size when sprouted – so leave enough room for this in the bag / basket!

You’ll need to rinse your seeds well, 2 or 3 times a day.

Harvesting will be in anything between 24 and 72 hours. Don’t let them go for too long – they’ll become bitter. When ready, you can store them for a few days in the fridge in a Tupperware container.

Some sprouts like mung beans or lentils will be easier on the digestion if you remove the sprouted hulls before eating. You can do this by immersing them in a bowl of warm water. The hulls should rise to the top.

And finally some tips on which are easiest / hardest to sprout!

 

Easiest to sprout Hardest to sprout
Adzuki
Alfalfa
Clover
Fenugreek
Lentils
Mung beans
Green peas
Radish
Wheat
Barley
Chia
Flax
Chickpeas
Millet
Quinoa
Rice
Soy bean
Hulled sunflower
Black and red kidney beans

 

Adapted from: Dr Gillian McKeith, Living Food for Health

Dr Gillian McKeith’s Sacred 12 And whilst we’re talking about living foods! Would you like to know what Dr Gillian McKeith (Britain’s Food Guru, according to the Sunday Times) considers to be the 12 healthiest living foods, so that you too can shine from their regenerative, energizing properties…?

They are:

Sprouted millet
Sprouted quinoa
Alfalfa
Aloe vera
Green barley grass
Flax seeds
Parsley
Dulse
Nori
Stevia
Sunflower
Wild blue green algae

Try incorporating these and more sprouts into your diet and feel the difference!
If you want to know more about these live foods or about sprouting, details of Gillian McKeith’s book and a few others are given below:

 

A few titles on sprouting and raw foods:
Dr Gillian McKeith: Living Food for Health.
Dr Anne Wigmore, The Wheatgrass Book, 1989
Dr Anne Wigmore, The Sprouting Book
Steve Meyerowitz, Wheatgrass, Nature’s Finest Medicine, 1998
Steve Meyerowitz, Sproutman’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook
Gabriel Cousens, Conscious Eating

HAPPY SPROUTING!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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