If you’ve stepped foot in a grocery store recently or if you follow any health food blogs, you’ve likely heard the term “sprouted” used to describe seeds (i.e. grains, nuts, beans and other kinds of seeds). But what does it mean?? And why? If you’ve spent a lot of time wondering this, don’t worry, because same. It’s easy to see or hear things advertised as “healthy” and/or “better for you” and jump right on the bandwagon (guilty), but we’re here to help break these things down for you so you can truly be educated about what you’re putting into your body and why. So, let’s get to it!
What does “sprouted” mean?
Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds. (WTF?) Germinating seeds is essentially allowing the grain to grow, but harvesting it before it becomes a plant. So, basically the seed becomes a baby plant or… a sprout. This process breaks down some of the starch typically found in seeds, making them higher in nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as making them easier to digest.
What are the benefits of sprouted seeds?
Sprouted seeds and grains have the same nutrients as whole grains; however, those that have been sprouted have a higher percentage of those nutrients available. Studies show that, when compared to whole grains, sprouted grains are higher in protein and fiber and may contain more essential amino acids and B vitamins, antioxidants, folate, and more.
Who should eat sprouted seeds?
Since the sprouting process helps reduce starch and phytic acid (an anti-nutrient that can inhibit the absorption of some minerals, including iron and zinc), anyone with a slight sensitivity to gluten or who has difficulty digesting grains could benefit from opting for sprouted seeds. Sprouted seeds are also a good choice for vegetarians, as they provide more protein and amino acids that a vegetarian diet could be lacking.
Where can you find sprouted seeds?
You can look for sprouted seeds in a wide range of products. Breads, rices and quinoa, flours, tortillas, pancake and muffin mixes, crackers, cereals—the list goes on. Look for most of these products in your store’s refrigerated or frozen section, and as always, be sure to read the ingredients list to make sure that sprouted seeds are at the top of the list and that there aren’t unnecessary preservatives. Brands can always trick you by using certain buzzwords on their packaging, but you never truly know what you’re working with until you zero in on that nutrition label, so do your homework! And most importantly, (whether or not you have access to sprouted grains) always avoid refined, processed grains.
This post is part of our WTF series—where we’ll break down some of the latest food, fitness, and health + wellness trends blowing up your Instagram feed.