Learn How to Sprout Beans, Nuts and Grains and Make Them More Nutritious for You
Beans, nuts, and grains are widely recognised as healthy staples that should be included in most any diet, especially a raw food diet. These foods are readily available all over the world, relatively inexpensive and offer many beneficial nutrients.
What many people outside of professional health and nutrition fields may not know though is that there is actually a way to make these staple foods far more nutritious. It’s true: without out adding anything other than water to these foods you can make them significantly better for you.
By simply allowing beans, nuts and grains to sprout you can instantly multiply their nutritional profile, make them more digestible, and much more.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about sprouting benefits as well as how and why you can easily incorporate this easy practice into your raw food diet. This information will help you whether you fully follow a raw foods diet or just want to incorporate the power of some of the healthiest raw foods around to your diet!
What Does It Mean to Sprout Beans, Nuts, and Grains?
Before trying sprouted nuts, beans or grains, it can be helpful to know exactly what sprouting is. Sprouting these foods is as straightforward as it sounds: it is simply the process of allowing nuts, beans and grains the proper conditions to begin to sprout. When rinsed and soaked in water enzyme inhibitors are destroyed and the seeds begin to germinate. The end result is a sprouted food that is far better for you than before the process began.
Why You Should Include Sprouted Beans, Nuts, and Grains as Part of a Raw Foods Diet?
The list of benefits that sprouted grains, nuts and seeds offers to a raw foods diet is both significant and impressive, but it should be noted that even people who do not follow an entirely raw diet can still enjoy these benefits by including sprouted seeds and legumes as a part of their diets.
Easier to Digest
You may have heard some health experts caution against including certain grains and/or legumes as part of your diet. This recommendation is typically based on the fact that these foods can be hard for people to digest. But by rinsing and sprouting grains and legumes, the enzyme inhibitors that makes these foods hard to digest are removed or significantly diminished, leaving you with an easy to digest food.
Now rather than tossing these healthy foods from your diet, you can still enjoy foods like peanuts, oats and more in their sprouted form. Additionally, though nuts and seeds are typically easier for people to digest, their digestibility is still improved through the sprouting process.
Increases Variety of Food Selection for a Raw Foods Diet
For people who follow a diet that includes only raw foods (and especially for those who follow the more narrow guidelines of the vegan raw foods lifestyle), eating sprouted foods is a critical key to getting a greater variety of foods into your diet. Foods like beans, legumes, and some grains are hard or impossible to eat in their raw, natural state. Yet, by sprouting these foods, the foods remain raw, but become possible to eat easily. This now opens up additional healthy menu options for raw food enthusiasts as well as for vegan raw food followers.
Improves Enzyme Quality and Content
Not only are enzyme inhibitors diminished through sprouting, the enzyme quality of the sprouted foods actually improves and increases. Enzymes are necessary to help your body break down and absorb the nutrients in your foods. In fact, the enzymes are increased and improved to such a level that not only do they make it easier for your body to digest and utilize sprouted foods, the inclusion of the sprouted food in a meal makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb its nutrients.
Creates Impressive Nutritional Profile
Without a doubt one of the greatest benefits to sprouting foods is the way it naturally improves the nutritional profile of the sprouted foods. In particular, vitamins A, C, E and some B vitamins is increased up to fifteen times of their original values. Mineral and fiber content also increases greatly.
Believe it or not, the nutritional improvements do not end here. The quality of the protein in sprouted foods also improves because the amino acids are enhanced. The starch is broken down and decreased during sprouting making the percentage of both fiber and protein greater in sprouted foods. Sprouting also improves the levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs) which are key to brain and heart health, among their other important roles.
More Adaptable to Many Raw Foods Recipes
Through the soaking and sprouting process, foods become softer and more pliable. In addition to making tough or hard foods easier to chew, sprouting offers another benefit to raw food chefs: it makes nuts and beans easier to use in raw food recipes. For example, soaked and sprouted almonds will make creating a raw food pie crust both more successful and more flavorful (as well as more nutritious and easier to digest!).
Provides Affordable Way to Make Your Diet Healthier
With so many healthy trends these days requiring a hefty financial investment, it is refreshing to find something you can do for your health that adds no cost to your grocery budget. That’s right; all you need to do is (add water and a bit of time) to the beans, nuts, and grains you are already purchasing.
Getting Started: A Beginner’s Sprouting How-To Guide
What You Will Need:
- Glass container (plastic may be used, but glass is preferred due to chemicals that can leach from plastic into foods.)
- Beans, nuts, and/or grains such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, oats, peanuts, black beans, etc.
- Cheese Cloth or other mesh fabric
- Rubber band (or other means of attaching mesh to container)
Time: Prep time- 10-15 minutes; Sprouting time- 24 hours to four days
1. Select what you would like to sprout
While a wide variety of nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and grains can be sprouted, there are a couple of important things to remember in making your choice.
First, any of these options need to be raw. If they are cooked or roasted they have already been killed and can no sprout. Additionally, foods that have been pasteurised will not sprout as the high heat they are exposed to during pasteurisation will prevent them from germinating.
If selecting seeds for sprouting, choose seeds that are specifically labeled as being for sprouting as such seeds are less likely to have any contamination issues that could potentially lead to food borne illness.
2. Remove shells from any nuts (if applicable)
3. Thoroughly rinse food item you intend to sprout with lukewarm water
4. Sterilise your sprouting container
Sterilising helps minimize the risk of any unwanted food borne bacteria contaminating your sprouted foods. Sterilisation can be achieved either with boiling water or with a diluted bleach and water mixture.
5. Place the food item you intend to sprout in sterilised container
The amount of nuts, beans or grains you use will depend upon how large your container is, but a good rule of thumb is to fill the container around a quarter of the way full. Only sprout one type of food per container. For example, if you wish to sprout both oats and lentils, the oats should have their own container as should the lentils.
6. Pour enough water over your nuts, beans, or grains to fully cover the food items.
Remove any items that float to the top.
7. Place cheese cloth (or other mesh covering) over the top of your container and secure with lid ring or rubber band.
8. Allow time for soaking.
How hard the exterior coating of your food choice is will determine how long you’ll need to allow for the soaking process. Softer items can soak for as little as a couple of hours while tougher items may need to soak a full twelve hours.
9.Drain and Rinse
After sufficient soaking time as elapsed, drain and rinse your nuts, grains or beans by pouring water through the mesh top, rinsing, and repeating.
10. Continue to rinse as you wait for your foods to begin to germinate.
Aim to rinse two to three times each day during the sprouting process to achieve optimal results.
The sprouting process will take anywhere from one to four days, depending on the item you wish to sprout.
12. Rinse once more.
Once the sprouts have begun to germinate, you may rinse them and remove them from the container they sprouted in.
13. Enjoy your sprouted beans, nuts and grains
Now that you have allowed your nuts, grains, or beans time to sprout, you can enjoy eating them! Sprouted foods are delish as salad toppers, garnishes, or on their own. If your diet includes some cooked foods, sprouts can also be cooked in a variety of recipes, such as a stir fry or omelet.
14. Store your sprouts
Sprouted foods can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Continue to rinse your sprouted foods once a day to keep them moist.