Food For Thought
Sprouting healthy thoughts
By: Leanne Ely
There’s a reason why sprouts are the symbol for life! What? You never noticed how we refer to new babies as little sprouts?
Many of the foods that we eat started their lives as plant sprouts. Sprouts have long been recognized as healthy little buggers to have on your plate, but now we know that they prevent disease, energize our bodies and they can even reduce some effects of aging!
Let’s take a closer look at why sprouts are so healthy.
Alkaline. Sprouts have an alkaline affect on our bodies. Our immune systems are strengthened by alkalizing foods like sprouts! Cancer cells also can’t thrive in an alkaline-rich environment.
Oxygen. Raw foods contain oxygen, and cooking those foods destroys that oxygen. Did you know that cancer cells can’t live in oxygen-rich environments? Sprouts are full of oxygen and eating them raw on a regular basis is very good for us.
Antioxidants. Sprouts of radish, broccoli, clover and alfalfa have disease-fighting compounds in them called phytochemicals. They’re also rich in antioxidants.
Nutrients. Sprouts have more nutrients in them than fully mature plants do. For example, a cup of raw or cooked broccoli contains 1.5mg of vitamin E, while a cup of broccoli sprouts contains 7.5mgs. That cup of cooked broccoli contains 1.5 mg of selenium, while its sprouted equivalent has up to 28mgs. Now, you aren’t likely to sit down with a cup of broccoli sprouts, but that should give you an idea of just how nutritious these little guys are.
Not only are they healthy, but sprouts are delicious. I sprout my own radish (spicy!) and broccoli sprouts and eat them everyday in salads, sandwiches and as garnish with most of my meals.
I highly recommend that you grow your own sprouts. Those sprouts in the stores are not only expensive, but they have also been known to contain salmonella and mold. Yuck!
How to grow your own sprouts
When you sprout your own seeds, you’ll have delicious additions to your meals within a few days. The jar method is so easy! All you need is some organic sprouting seeds or beans (buy them at your local health food store), wide mouth mason jars and sprouting lids for the jars. If you can’t find the lids, you can use rubber bands and cheesecloth.
1. After washing your hands, remove any discolored or broken seeds before placing a tablespoon of seeds or a third of a cup of beans (mung bean sprouts are wonderful and they’re the kind we’re generally most familiar with) or grains (try barley, rye or wheat) into the jar. Cover those seeds or beans with pure water. (Use a cup to cover a tablespoon of seeds. When you’re not using seeds, use one cup of water to every one third cup of beans, nuts or grains.) Use a different jar for different types of sprouts.
2. Let the seeds or beans soak for 6 to 12 hours. After they’ve soaked, cover the jar with cheesecloth and a rubber band or with sprouting lids and then drain off the water.
3. Rinse the beans or seeds with fresh water and drain again. Put the jar upside down in a cool, clean spot in the kitchen at a slight angle to let any excess water drain off of the beans or the seeds.
4. A few times a day give them a good rinse and drain them very well. Keep the jar upside down.
That’s just about it! You’ll know when they’re ready to be harvested and when they are, simply put them in a bowl of cold water to loosen the skins and the hulls from the seeds.
Now you’ve successfully grown your own life force (in less than 40 weeks too!). Enjoy!