Sprouted Food: Worth The Hype?

There’s an entire sub section in Whole Food’s bulk food that’s devoted to premium priced “sprouted” food. There are $5 sprouted nut bars popping up in corner delis alongside the PopTarts and I was just sent a collection of sprouted pasta and cereals that are beautifully packaged with a tan and white palate and manufactured by a company that makes nothing but sprouted food.

I encountered sprouted food a couple years ago, and was intrigued enough to do some sprouting myself and even bake bread from the sprouts. But then I sort of forgot about it and carried on with my un-sprouted life, but it seems to be everywhere again, and it got me thinking – are sprouted grains and nuts, really any better for you? Is it worth the price?

The idea behind sprouting grains and seeds, is that the process of sprouting takes them from a dormant state to a living one – so rather than eating a seed you’re eating a live plant that resulted from sprouting the seed. The argument goes that; a) Grains can be hard for the body to digest because of their phytic acid (which prevents the body from absorbing minerals) and lectin (a chemical in grains that can aggravate the gut) and, b) When grains are grown ie sprouted, the nutritional value increases – largely with the release of B and C vitamins in the “plant’s” leaves.

Ok, so I’m totally onboard with this logic IF  – you eat the actual plant that results, but the problem is, you don’t.

Most sprouted grains after they’re sprouted, are dried and ground up. They are packaged, put on a shelf and remain there for months until consumed.  So all the Vitamin  B and C that grew into plant form, is now in a dry, ground, aged state. After all this, are the sprouts able to retain all these nutrients and hence make them as nutritious as a fresh green plant?

It does make sense to me that grains, in their seed state can be hard to digest, and that sprouting makes them more digestible, but in terms of consuming a more “nutritious” food….. only if you believe the sprouts retain all these newly created nutrients.

But there is certainly no downside to dried sprouts, likely a small nutritional upside and they are especially tasty when they’re free …. The company that sent me the sprouted collection is called Essential Eating and they have very generously offered to give away a collection of their goodies to one of you (and by the way, I do love their pasta and spelt cereal) – so leave a comment about your experience with sprouted foods, your thoughts on their nutritional value, or what interests you about trying them, and you’ll be entered to win!

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  • http://lightweighteats.com/ Michaela@The Lightweight Eats

    We are driving cross country at the end of the year and are planning to bring our sprouting jar for making healthful organic veggies on the road. Hopefully the car heater gets warm enough to encourage growth! We have also been known to eat the sprouts from the garden when we thin out carrots, lettuces, kales and more.

  • http://lightweighteats.com/ Michaela@The Lightweight Eats

    We are driving cross country at the end of the year and are planning to bring our sprouting jar for making healthful organic veggies on the road. Hopefully the car heater gets warm enough to encourage growth! We have also been known to eat the sprouts from the garden when we thin out carrots, lettuces, kales and more.

  • http://lightweighteats.com/ Michaela@The Lightweight Eats

    We are driving cross country at the end of the year and are planning to bring our sprouting jar for making healthful organic veggies on the road. Hopefully the car heater gets warm enough to encourage growth! We have also been known to eat the sprouts from the garden when we thin out carrots, lettuces, kales and more.

  • Elizabeth Finfgeld

    I’ve been trying to incorporate more sprouted foods into my diet because I like the idea of ‘doing my body good’ but my own personal bean sprouting experience has been less than desirable. Every time I try to soak/sprout beans, they always seem to turn into a gooey mess before I can gallop in to save the day. I need to find a tried-and-true technique. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • Elizabeth Finfgeld

    I’ve been trying to incorporate more sprouted foods into my diet because I like the idea of ‘doing my body good’ but my own personal bean sprouting experience has been less than desirable. Every time I try to soak/sprout beans, they always seem to turn into a gooey mess before I can gallop in to save the day. I need to find a tried-and-true technique. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • dbspeanut

    Can’t go wrong with sprouts! Try a tomato and alfalfa sprout sandwich! My boys love these! Try broccoli sprouts

  • dbspeanut

    Can’t go wrong with sprouts! Try a tomato and alfalfa sprout sandwich! My boys love these! Try broccoli sprouts

  • teslaca

    I love fresh sprouts and grow and eat them often. My favorite is radish sprouts. The only processed food I’ve tried that is made with sprouts is bread. It was very good, but quite dense. And expensive!

  • teslaca

    I love fresh sprouts and grow and eat them often. My favorite is radish sprouts. The only processed food I’ve tried that is made with sprouts is bread. It was very good, but quite dense. And expensive!

  • Ruth

    I have been experimenting with making flourless bread from wheat that I sprout. It turns out wonderful about half the time. Am trying to figure out why it falls the other half of the time. Love it either way so continue to persist.

  • LaraChick

    Thank you for this post – I have also seen the “sprouted” collection in WF and wondered about it. I love the Moon & Sun live sprout packs from the refrigerated section of my local Whole Foods – and will try some new sprouted products to see how it goes.

  • AndreiaV

    Hi.
    Your post is very interesting, like many others you write :)
    I sprout my seeds and beans after being soaked for about 8-10h. Sometimes i eat raw sprouts, other times i just boil them for about 3 minutes. Eating sprouted beans and seeds brings you many health benefits.
    I´ve never tried sprouted bread…honestly, i think the high temperatures destroys all the nutrients in those sprouts. I´ve never seen sprouted pasta either…think those things are not available in my country.
    Sprouted bean burgers are good but i think if you want to get all the benefits, it´s better to rinse them longer and eat raw.
    Chia and flax puddin is my favorite way of eating seeds…it is proved it protects the bowel mucosa from harmful substances like carcinogenic compounds and in cases of diarrhea (IBS, food poisoning and other diseases), it protects you from loosing more nutrients and essential minerals.
    Seeds and beans are true superheros :)
    Hugs,
    Andreia V

  • Laura Johnson

    I’ve done well with sprouted grain breads. I am a little sensitive to gluten, and find these are just easier to digest. Taste good too.

  • Jill

    I’ve eaten sprouts on sandwiches in the past and I like them….I’ve never tried incorporating sprouted foods into our family meals or my own diet but this blog post has definitely piqued my curiosity! I’m always trying new recipes and really want to teach my 3 boys (12, 10 and 4) to take care of themselves through what they take into their bodies. No one else will do it if I don’t!

  • Anonymous

    I love sunflower sprouts in salads and bowls of grains with avocado. I’ve tried sprouting different grains myself with mixed success–sometimes a moldy mess, sometimes delish! I tried sprouting lentils and quinoa, both surprisingly good!

  • http://dishesanddishes.wordpress.com/ hannah @ dishesanddishes

    I’ve only tried sprouting once, with barley, and it was success. It didn’t seem like too much work but the problem is remembering to get them started several days before making something. I’ve been buying sprouted bread when it’s available, and would definitely love to try other sprouted products like pastas and flours. The problem is that my frugal-sim often wins out over my foodie-ism when I’m in the grocery store aisles.

  • http://dishesanddishes.wordpress.com/ hannah @ dishesanddishes

    I’ve only tried sprouting once, with barley, and it was success. It didn’t seem like too much work but the problem is remembering to get them started several days before making something. I’ve been buying sprouted bread when it’s available, and would definitely love to try other sprouted products like pastas and flours. The problem is that my frugal-sim often wins out over my foodie-ism when I’m in the grocery store aisles.

  • saniel

    Sprouting helps with digestion and is very nutritional when eating live & raw. I love eating alfalfa, sunflower, broccoli sprouts in a kale salad with other raw organic vegetables & organic sprouted raw hummus. Extra yummy. I use sprouted bread for my son’s lunch but like sprouted quinoa, lentils and chickpeas

  • Cathy Gavigan Seymour

    I have tried a couple of sprouted food products and like their texture. I do like sprouted wheat (or Ezekiel) breads.

  • JudithAndOne

    A few minutes of online searching will give you quite a bit of information about whether sprouted products, such as breads, are more nutritious than white bread products (yes, a lot) and more nutritious than whole grain products (a bit, but not too much). No reason to write this column as if it’s people’s opinions that matter – this is a scientific question with real answers.

  • Anonymous

    I have sprouted seeds/grains and eaten the green sprouts while still alive, and love them. But I’ve never made bread or anything like that because I’m intimidated. I’d love to learn more, though.