THE BENEFITS OF SPROUTING YOUR GRAINS
The wisdom of a diet rich in whole grains is debated in various nutritional schools of thought. A Paleo diet for example advocates avoiding grains as they contain phytates, lectins and gluten. These it is believed trigger inflammatory responses in the body and block other nutrients from being absorbed. However, both macrobiotics and Ayurveda place great value on a diet rich in whole grains. They both see whole grains as the corner stones of a healthy diet, building tissues and brain food and balancing blood sugar. Of the major food groups, we need carbohydrates to make up the larger proportion of our food intake according to these two wisdom traditions. Grains are seen to be a major source of fuel for the body, providing glucose to support energy production in cells of all the tissues of the body Grains regulate blood sugar, decrease sugar cravings and fat cravings, help to keep bowel movements regular and to discharge toxins.
Grains include many nutrients. Amongst them are tocopherols, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, glutamine, phytoestrogens, lignans, flavonoids, oligosaccharides, lectins. These nutrients are superb for supporting healthy immune function and prevention of disease.
Sprouting grains increases the nutrient content and bio-availability of some vitamins in grains even further. Moreover the germinating process that you start when sprouting grains reduces a lot of the starch content (which is why I find it so apt at this time of year). Sprouts are low in calories, fat, and sodium. Carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars, proteins are broken down into amino acids, and fats are broken into the component fatty acids. These conversions make the food easier for us humans to digest the grain. Grains have enzyme inhibitors which are designed to prevent the grain from sprouting until the correct conditions – warmth and moisture – are provided for sprouting. These enzyme inhibitors are broken down with sprouting and it is this that makes the sprouts easier to digest than non-sprouted grains.
Not only are sprouted grains more nutritious and easier to digest, they are delicious to eat. I find them deliciously soft and chewy, and more flavoursome. They also take less time to cook.
You can sprout buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa quite easily. Buy a sprouter for this. Wash the grains, put them in the sprouter and dampen regularly with fitered water, keeping a little water in the bottom tray of the sprouter. I water the grains two or three times a day, and you can cover the sprouter with a cloth if it doesn’t come with it’s own cover . Different grains have different sprouting times. I find quinoa the quickest and I love the texture of sprouted brown rice. It’s delightful to see the tiny shoots come through your grains as they come to life.
Why not give it a go? I’d love to know how you get on.
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