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Sprouts 101

by anjali

There has been a huge transformation over the years; and now we have reached a point where even a healthy lifestyle is too much to ask for. We have been spending all the pennies we earn for healthcare in consuming all those scary-looking, unpronounceable medicines that we are totally oblivious to.

Sadly, we have complicated our lifestyle and are in the lookout for something that’s beyond our reach; when we are gifted with the abundant goodness of nature. One such gift is – sprouts. Loaded with nutrients, vitamins, fibre and enzymes, sprouts are a healthy addition to your diet to get all the goodness in a bowl.

Why are sprouts great for you

Sprouts are the very first shoots of seeds. They are obtained by germinating seeds, vegetables, grains and legumes.  The various kinds of sprouts are loaded with phytonutrients and enable your body to absorb all the nutrients from the seeds and help you fight diseases and stay fit and fine. The abundance of antioxidants in sprouts helps to fight radical damage of the cells. They are also rich in fibre, enzymes and vitamins that give you the necessary strength and flush out toxins from the body.  They are easily digestible and are an interesting way to get the goodness from your legumes, nuts and grains.

How to make your own sprouts

Sprouts are easy to make. All you need to do is choose the seeds, grains, nuts or legumes that you want to sprout and soak them in water overnight. Drain the water the next morning and rinse them in cold water. Now close the container with a soft cloth or paper towel and keep it away from sunlight. Eventually you’ll find the shoots slowly popping, and your sprouts are ready.

You can indulge in the sprouts just like that or add them to your dishes according to your preferences.

Here are Top 5 of the healthiest sprouts you can add to your diet

Green gram sprouts

This crispy, mildly sweet sprout definitely tops the list and is almost everyone’s favourite. It’s low in calorie and rich in fibre that makes it a great supplement for weight loss. It’s also rich in vitamin C and K. Vitamin K helps in maintaining the mineral density of bones and aids in clotting of blood which is great for strengthening bones and maintaining the cardiovascular health. Vitamin C boosts the collagen development that’s great for the skin, hair and body on the whole. It also prevents any radical damage and aids in the proper functioning of the organs. Being a rich source of iron and folate (vitamin B), sprouts helps in supplying oxygen in the blood, aids in healthy formation of blood cells, supports the immune system and assists in proper growth during the adolescent phase.

Taking a bowl of green gram sprouts a day is ideal to meet your health requirements. You can have it raw or toss them in your soups, salads, sandwiches or stir-fries.

Bean sprouts

These sprouts are the easiest to grow and offer a number of health benefits. They are a rich source of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, calcium, folate, phosphorous and iron. Being a powerhouse of nutrients, bean sprouts help to enhance your mood and reduce the probability of depression and anxiety. They also help to strengthen the heart, preventing any form of heart diseases, improve immunity and ensure strong bones. Bean sprouts reduce the risk of diseases and ensure proper maintenance and growth of making it an ideal food for pregnant women.

You can sprout different kinds of beans, although it’s recommended to blanch most of them before consuming as they cannot be eaten raw like other sprouts.

Lentil sprouts

Lentil sprouts are a boon for vegans or vegetarians as the protein present in lentil is equivalent to animal proteins. They contain a balanced amount of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that’s great for overall growth. The carbohydrates in lentil sprouts keep you full and maintain the insulin level, preventing your hunger pangs and cravings. Having a low glycemic index, they are a good source of carbohydrates without making you fat. They are also a rich source of iron, manganese, thiamine, copper and zinc. The presence of these compounds helps to regulate the hormone function, strengthens bones and tissues, fights free radicals, ensures good function of the nervous system and improves the immune system.

If you want to make lentil sprouts at home, it’s necessary for you to get whole lentils, as split lentils do not germinate. Sprouting lentils take a longer time and it is essential for you to soak them 10 hours a day in water for 3-4 days, while rinsing them twice day. Having them with rice or rotis keeps you full for a longer time.

Alfalfa sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts is a must-have if you’re in the journey to see some visible weight loss and strengthen your bones. These delicious sprouts have an array of essential nutrients like – calcium, vitamins, minerals, iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Alfalfa sprouts are rich in dietary fibre that’s light on the stomach and makes it easy to digest, while satiating your protein needs; making these sprouts an ideal component for weight loss. Since they are a rich source of calcium, these sprouts are known to strengthen your bones and muscles, keeping you fit. The essential nutrients present in these sprouts improve the function of your heart and brain, slow the ageing process, reduce the risk of diabetes and improve immunity.

It’s ideal to take them raw as cooking them can remove all the goodness of these sprouts. They impart a crunchy and nutty flavour when added to your sandwiches, noodles and salads.

Fenugreek sprouts

Fenugreek is known for its medicinal properties and is one of the most important ingredients in Indian medicine. Sprouted fenugreek is known to offer an array of health and beauty benefits as it is a rich source of fibre, vitamins, niacin and iron. Sprouted fenugreek is great for cardiac health, aids in weight loss, eases the digestion process, ensures good hormonal function, prevents diabetes, boosts sexual health, maintains breast health and ensures healthy hair and skin. These sprouts are a woman’s best friend as they are a rich source of diosgenin, which is great for relieving menstrual problems. Being a lymph cleanser, regular consumption of fenugreek helps to flush out toxins from the breast tissue. The presence of phytoestrogens helps in maintaining the oestrogen levels.

These sprouts can be added to your salads and meals on a daily basis to reap all their benefits.

You can switch between different kinds of sprouts as each one has its own set of benefits to offer. However, it’s necessary to discuss with your doctor before making it mandatory in your diet.

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