Until not too long ago, I thought that eating bean sprouts was for the “hippie fringe”, but you’ll have to cut me a little slack; I’m old enough to remember the 1970′s, when there was a hippie fringe, they did eat a lot of sprouts and they were the only Westerners who did. However, as I learn more and more about vegetarian nutrition, I’ve come to believe that sprouted seeds, grains and veggies may be one of the best protein sources for vegetarians.
If you don’t know much about sprouted foods, there’s a great new article posted on a site I love called DrDeborahMD.com. The site is all about great health and medicine through whole foods and the post on eating sprouted seeds and grains is a great introduction to this food source.
As Dr. Deborah explains, when we eat a sprouted seed grain or vegetable, we get far more nutrition than we would eating it dried or even fully grown.
Sprouts are a highly nutritious form of seeds and grains, harboring the full potential for growth with a lower starch content than the fully grown grain.”
One way to think of sprouted seeds, grains and vegetables is that they are the perfected and amplified versions of their grown-up versions. Did you know that young broccoli sprouts have about twenty times the the cancer fighting properties of fully grown broccoli?
Sprouts also have a great deal more fiber and protein per their weight than full grown veggies and for fewer calories. This makes them a great source of protein for vegetarians, and since it’s so easy to sprout your own, they may be one of the least expensive protein sources as well.
In Dr. Deborah’s article, you’ll find instructions for sprouting your own seeds at home using simple mason jars.
I do have a few cautions for you, though:
1. Be sure that you buy seeds that have been bred for sprouting, not planting.
2. Read up on safe sprouting. Since sprouts are very dense and kept in a moist environment, you can run into problems with bacterial growth.
3. Make sure that you change the water as frequently as instructed to cut down on the possibility of mold growth.
I’ve been happily growing and eating broccoli, bean, pea and a few other sprouts all winter and I love them. They’re light, they’re absolutely delicious and they add a real fresh spark to salads, sandwiches and wraps, for just pennies per jarful. As a protein source for vegetarians, they really can’t be beat.
You definitely need to check them out yourself!