What is sprouting?
Sprouting refers to the cultivation of sprouts and microgreens that are full of amazing health benefits. While you have the option to buy sprouts or microgreens at health food stores, it’s cheaper to grow them at home.
The health benefits of sprouts
Sprouting doesn’t just save you money, it also gives you access to various superfoods that possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying properties. You can use beans, grains, legumes, or seeds for sprouting.
- Sprouts have a greater amount of protein, along with a higher concentration of essential vitamins and vital nutrients than mature vegetables.
- Sprouts are rich in enzymes that you need for digestive and metabolic processes. They also contain the perfect substrates for the mitochondria, which allows for optimal energy production for organ function.
- Sprouts are delicious. Most kinds of sprouts are crunchy and slightly sweet. You can add them to salads, sandwiches, or stir-fried dishes.
Start growing the following sprouts at home and boost your overall health. (Related: 12 Ways to detox and improve brain health.)
Broccoli sprouts have neuroprotective properties and contain higher amounts of sulforaphane (an antioxidant) than mature broccoli. This antioxidant stimulates the expression of cytoprotective genes in the brain and also helps minimize injury to nerve cells.
Broccoli sprouts are the only significant natural sources of sulforaphane.
Lentils are full of thiamine, an essential B vitamin for neurotransmitter balance.
Dried lentils are deficient in cysteine and methionine, two essential amino acids. Luckily, lentil sprouts have increased levels of all amino acids, including cysteine and methionine.
This makes lentil sprouts an essential vegan source of protein.
Mung bean sprouts
Mung bean sprouts have potent anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. Additionally, they contain essential compounds like isoflavones, which have antioxidant properties. Isoflavones help lower cholesterol.
Mung bean sprouts are one of the few foods rich in bioavailable potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and minimize muscle cramps.
Red clover sprouts
Red clover sprouts are perfect for perimenopausal and menopausal women since they are full of phytoestrogens that can help address various common symptoms like bloating and temperature dysregulation.
Phytoestrogens can also relieve anxiety and insomnia, which can both affect your ability to concentrate and focus.
How to grow your own sprouts
Sprouts are easy to grow. Here’s a step-by-step of how to grow your own sprouts.
- Wide-mouthed container (e.g., A clean Tupperware container or a Mason jar)
- Filter (e.g., clean fabric, muslin, or screening several inches bigger than the opening of your container)
- Pour a thin layer of seeds into the bottom of the container or jar. Don’t add too many seeds so they don’t overflow in the container after they expand.
- Install the filter and ring or elastic. Fill the container with clean water, shake it, then turn the container upside down to drain. This helps clean the seeds of any dust or particles. Reuse the sprouting water on your houseplants so it doesn’t go to waste.
- After draining and rinsing the seeds, fill the container about two-thirds full with warm, tepid water.
- Put the container in a relatively warm place to soak the seeds and soften their hard coat.
- Let the seeds soak for at least eight hours at a maintained temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) or more. At 72 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), let the seeds soak for 12 hours instead. Alternatively, you can let the seeds soak overnight so they’re ready the next morning.
- After soaking, the seeds will swell and double in diameter. Invert the jar to drain the water. The filter will keep your seeds from flowing out.
- Fill the pot with lukewarm water, then invert it again to drain the water. This will rinse the seeds of any products that may inhibit germination. Return the pot to a relatively warm spot.
- For this step, you just need to repeat steps three to seven (rinsing) morning and evening for the next two to five days. The length of time you need to repeat these steps will vary depending on the type of seed and the room’s temperature.
- In time, small shoots will pierce the seed coat. These are the sprouts, which can vary in size depending on your sprouting seeds.
- Seeds that germinate in a dark environment away from any window will have pale sprouts that are either white, yellow, or light green. For greener sprouts, place your container near a window the moment the sprouts start to appear. This gives sprouts a stronger taste. Additionally, sunlight helps boost the vitamin level of your sprouts.
- When sprouts reach a size that you think is appropriate, rinse then drain them for the last time. There are no strict rules about sprout size, so let them grow as much as you want.
Consume the sprouts immediately or keep them in your fridge for about one week.
Consuming sprouts regularly doesn’t just boost brain health, it also helps reduce oxidative stress and minimize inflammation linked to various diseases.