Sprouts are germinated seeds of legumes or grains. Considered wonder-food because of their high nutritional value, sprouts are very good for health and development of the body. It ensures blood purification and strengthens the immune system to protect against several diseases. In Naturopathy, sprouts are referred to as medicine because of their health promoting properties. There are several health benefits of eating sprouts. Here they go..
Nutritional Value of Sprouts:
The seeds have the highest nutritional value when they are seedlings. The sprouts contain a greater concentration of nutrients like Vitamin E, potassium, iron, phyto chemicals, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, chemo-protectants and protein. They also contain other nutrients like folic acid, zinc, niacin, riboflavin, copper and magnesium which are very good for hair.
[ Read: Vitamin A ]
Types of Sprouts:
There are numerous varieties of sprouts available, which include seeds of alfalfa, soybean, gram, peas, wheat, moong and fenugreek. Black beans, kidney beans, split peas, garbanzo beans and pinto beans can also be used as sprouted seeds.
- Moong bean: Moong bean is the easiest bean to sprout. It has a distinct flavor and adds taste to the other foods.
- Fenugreek: Fenugreek sprouts have a spicy and slightly bitter taste. These sprouts are known for their curative properties.
- Gram: Gram sprouts are well known for enhancing vigour and vitality.
- Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts are the best sprouts for improving the health of hair.
Sprouts: Hair Benefits:
Here are some of the best known and effects benefits of sprouts for hair.
1. Sprouts contain a decent amount of vitamin C, which is proven to promote healthy hair growth. It destroys the free radicals in the body which makes the hair weak, brittle and thin. It also prevents a variety of hair disorders like alopecia, hirsutism and even male pattern baldness
[ Read: Diet plan ]
2. Sprouts improve blood circulation and strengthens and repairs capillaries to get strong and thick hair. It helps to generate new blood vessels and increases circulation to the scalp and follicles. A healthy blood supply is a good stimulant for hair growth.
3. The high amounts of vitamin A in sprouts stimulate hair follicles and encourage the scalp to produce more hair. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry scalp, roots and strands, leading to hair loss. Thus, proper levels of vitamin A are essential to encourage healthy hair growth.
4. Premature greying of hair is caused due to the oxidation of tissues. The potent antioxidants present in the sprouts prevent the corrosion of tissues, reducing the possibility of premature hair greying.
5. Sprouts contain Vitamin K, a fat soluble vitamin which builds protein in the scalp to maintain strong roots and strands.
6. Sprouts contain ample amounts of iron, which are required to carry oxygen to the scalp, roots and tresses. Hair that is starved from proper levels of iron may weaken and fall out
7. Sprouts contain zinc, a nutrient which contributes to sebum production in the scalp. This keeps the scalp, roots and hair strands hydrated. It also promotes regeneration of the scalp cells.
[ Read: Nutrient ]
8. Selenium in sprouts helps to kill Malassezia, a fungus which sheds dry fragments from the scalp. It wards off dandruff and removes the debris to encourage new hair growth. It also helps to alleviate itchy scalp because of its anti-fungal properties.
9. Regular consumption of sprouts adds shine, elasticity and lustre to the hair. It contains omega 3 fatty acids which are vital for the nourishment of hair follicles. It combats dry and brittle hair, flaky scale and reverses hair loss. Sprouts also prevent the hair from appearing dull and lifeless.
10. An imbalance in hormone is one of the biggest causes of hair loss in women. Sprouts help to achieve hormonal balance and restores vitality of the hair.
11. Biotin deficiency can cause brittle damaged hair. So consume ample amounts of sprouts to increase the levels of biotin and add inches to your current hair length.
Sprouts: Skin Benefits
12. Eating healthy is the best way to ensure a better looking skin. Sprouts contain nutrition which maintain the health of the skin and enhance its glow. Some of the benefits of sprouts for the skin include:
13. Free radicals are caused by the constant exposure to sunlight and environmental pollution. The antioxidants in sprouts kill the free radicals to protect the skin from sun damage and skin cancer.
[Read:Red bell peppers]
14. Pea sprouts are rich in vitamin B which prevents excess sebum production and helps in healthy skin formation. Drink a glass of pea sprout juice daily to get a well-hydrated and moisturized skin. You can also apply pressed pea sprouts on the face to get a fine and smooth skin.
15. Include sprouts in your daily diet to increase the process of healing and rejuvenation of the skin. It also helps to heal the wound at a faster pace and replace damaged tissue. It lightens skin discoloration like freckles and age spots to get a clear and flawless skin.
16. Vitamin C in sprouts promotes better skin through the production of collagen. It provides elasticity to give you more youthful skin. This “protein like cement” supports and holds the body tissues and organs together. It rejuvenates the skin from the within and reduces wrinkles and other symptoms of ageing.
17. Sprouts contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids which decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems. It also helps to reduce skin problems like pruritus, scaling and erythema. Thus, consuming sprouts will give you a smooth and younger looking skin with a visible reduction in inflammatory conditions like acne and psoriasis.
18. Sprouts contain silica a nutrient, which is required to rebuild and regenerate the skin’s connective tissues. It also removes toxins from the body that normally seep into the bloodstream causing dull and lifeless skin.
[ Read: Benefits Of Fenugreek Sprouts ]
Sprouts Health Benefits
Health benefits of sprouts are many.
19. Sprouts contain abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. Now that’s something that all girls should take a note off!!!
20. However, pregnant women need to avoid them due to bacteria hazard. When not cleaned and sprouted properly, sprouts pose a bacterial attack, the most common being salmonella and e-coli which cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping and fever and other serious illnesses in pregnant women. They can go for cooked sprouts.
[Read:Benefits Of Soybean Oil]
The increasing awareness among locals to include sprouts in their daily diet has led to many
Selection and Storage:
Sprouting is the easiest and the most cost effective process to get maximum nutritional boost. If you are purchasing loose sprouts, then examine the sprouts properly and discard the sprouts that are in a bad condition. Do not wash or trim sprouts before storing, but you can remove yellow or wilted outer leaves. Place loose sprouts in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate. Fresh sprouts last for 15 days in refrigerator.
Chemical seeds should not be used for germination as they can be harmful to the health. Always use certified organic seeds from a reputed company for sprouting. Sprouts, especially wheat sprouts are prone to fungus, so they should be exposed to proper sunlight to avoid fungus and bacteria.
How To Grow Sprouts?
Sprouts are very easy to prepare and require little or no maintenance. You can easily grow this food on your windowsill. Wash and soak the seeds and place them in a sprouter or jam jar. Leave it on a well-lit location and water it twice daily with 250 ml of filtered water. Germination time will vary between three to eight days, according to your room temperature. Harvest it early for a sweet taste. You can use the sprouts immediately without cooking or freeze them for future use.
[Read:Benefits Of Cotton Seed Oil]
- Sprouts should always be washed before consuming. This is to remove any fungus and pesticide reside. The surplus stem should be cut off and the leaves should be discarded. Stale, smelly and dull looking sprouts should not be consumed. Avoid cooking, roasting or frying sprouts as they lose their nutritive value when exposed to heat.
- You can buy packaged sprout grains, cook the sprouts as a side dish or bake with sprouted grain flours. Sprouted grains can be enjoyed in risotto, pudding, sandwiches and alone.
- Baking is very easy with sprout flour. It creates a really nice texture and has a sweet and less harsh taste as compared to regular whole wheat flour. You can combine millet with sprouts flour to make tasty bread.
- Salad is one of the best appetizers. When prepared with sprouts, the nutritional value of salad increases manifold. Sprouts can be used along tomatoes broccoli, onion, radish and cucumber to enhance the taste as well as nutritional value.
- Brussels sprouts taste best when prepared by sautéing in butter. Then, toss it with tomato, capsicum and Parmesan cheese. You can also toss sprouts with thinly sliced apples, thyme, olive oil and a dash of lime for a healthy salad. Mixed sprouts taste best with omelette and in a sandwich filling. You can also add sprouts to your soup and in vegetable smoothies. Two handfuls of sprouts count as one daily vegetable portion.
- Sprouts can be steamed quickly in a small amount of water. This will minimize the nutrient loss but will also aid digestion. There are two ways in which you can steam sprouts; add sprouts to an inch of already boiled water or place in a vegetable steamer. After steaming for two minutes, uncover the pot to disperse the strong tasting sulfur compounds. Then, again cover the pot and cook the sprouts for 15 minutes. Check periodically by poking them with a fork. Cook them until they are tender.
Eating sprouts for a long period of time is not encouraged.
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