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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