Antioxidants are an important part of a healthy diet to slow ageing and reduce our chances of getting diseases like cancer or diabetes. Antioxidants in food may also help to relieve stress and depression. Sprouted beans and seeds can produce two to twenty times more antioxidants than the amount they had before they were sprouted. (Reference 1 and 2) Sprouts are also a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Research has shown that consuming whole sprouts and microgreens is more effective at providing nutrition to our bodies than taking expensive, heavily processed, concentrated “sprout extract” supplements. (Reference 3)
Some sprouts are unsuitable to eat raw and should be cooked before eating. These are usually large, hard beans, the kind that takes a long time to cook, for example, black beans or red kidney beans. After sprouting, these should be cooked before they can be eaten. Sprouting them first will reduce their normal cooking time and also reduce the production of intestinal gas during digestion.
E.coli bacteria (bacteria that most often cause food poisoning from sprouts (Reference 4)
Bacterial contamination may make store-bought sprouts and microgreens unsafe to eat. Raw alfalfa sprouts have sometimes been known to cause food poisoning because of harmful bacteria that contaminated the sprouts. It is always safer to cook store-bought sprouts before eating them.
Sprouts can easily and cheaply be grown in your own home with no light or fertilizer. All that is needed is dry seeds, water and a little attention. You can have nutritious, fresh, home-grown veggies in only a few days! The perfect solution to survive lockdown or quarantine restrictions. There are many tutorial videos available online, find the way that works for you!
The difference between sprouts and microgreens is that microgreens are grown in trays that are exposed to light right before harvesting. Usually, the top part of the microgreen seedling, the baby leaves, are harvested without the root. Sprouts don’t require light and the whole seedling is consumed, root and all.
Hygiene is important when sprouting. Always sterilize your equipment before use and do not consume sprouts that are slimy, smelly or mouldy. To prevent contamination, remove imperfect and damaged seeds before starting the sprouting process. Once the first root has emerged (usually 2-5 days), refrigerate the sprouts and consume them within a few days.
1) Yashin YI, Nemzer BV, Ryzhnev VY, Yashin AY, Chernousova NI, Fedina PA. Creation of a databank for the content of antioxidants in food products by an amperometric method. Molecules. 2010 Oct 22;15(10):7450-66.
2) Yashin, Y.I.; Nemzer, B.V.; Ryzhnev, V.Y.; Yashin, A.Y.; Chernousova, N.I.; Fedina, P.A. Creation of a Databank for Content of Antioxidants in Food Products by an Amperometric Method. Molecules 2010, 15, 7450-7466.
3) J D Clarke, A Hsu, K Riedl, D Bella, S J Schwartz, J F Stevens, E Ho. Bioavailability and inter-conversion of sulforaphane and erucic in human subjects consuming broccoli sprouts or broccoli supplement in a cross-over study design. Pharmacol Res 2011 64(5):456 – 463.
4) CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of E. coli O103 infections linked to clover sprouts.