You’ve probably seen it at the grocery store – sprouted grain pasta, breads and flours. Sales of these products have skyrocketed in the past year as people believe have come to believe that sprouted grains are much healthier than regular grains. However, at the same type, you are being told that grains are bad and should be cut from your diet. The question is: Which is true?
The answer is that both are true. Grains, in the form that they are being sold today, are not very healthy. Here’s why:
- They have enzyme-inhibitors. This means they can’t be digested properly in an unsprouted state.
- They contain phytic acid. Phytic acids inhibit the absorption of minerals which can lead to deficiencies.
- They are often raised with an overuse of pesticides and are highly processed.
In order to properly include grains in your diet, you should purchase only organic, whole grains and make sure they are properly prepared. Grains should never be a major part of a diet, but when eaten in moderation, will help the body function properly and can even help stabilize diabetes.
Grains (plus legumes and nuts) have historically been sprouted prior to eating. In fact, recipe books from the early 1900s usually included instructions to soak flours and oats overnight before preparing. Yet, over the years, we have lost that important step.
In traditional societies, as grain kernels were harvested, the entire kernel was stored for later use. During the storage process, the grains – being lightly moist – would start to germinate and sprout. These sprouted grains were highly prized and considered ready to eat when the sprout was visible.
In addition to making the grains easier to digest, sprouting also increases the nutrient content of the grain. Added nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, proteins and carotenoids. Many sprouted grains are also lower on the glycemic index than unsprouted grains.
Sprouting at Home
Sprouting grains is a simple process but does take some time and planning. Simply fill a glass mason jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of organic whole grains. These grains must have the germ and bran intact. Fill up the rest of the jar with water. Add in a teaspoon of lemon juice, vinegar, whey or yogurt in order to help reduce the phytic acid. Soak overnight or for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.
The next step is to drain the water from the jar. It is recommend that you use tulle, a fine mesh cover (such as a window screen) or some type of cheesecloth. Cover the jar with the mesh and rubber band it tightly onto the jar. Tilt the jar and let the water drain out. Rinse and drain one more time.
Set the jar on its side with the back higher than the front (so it can continue to drain). You can use a pan for this so you can catch the water as it drains. Rinse and drain several times per day. Once they start sprouting – usually within 3-7 days - they are ready. You can eat as is, use in recipes, or simply lay them out to dry in order to grind for flour.
CATEGORIES: Health, Diet, Healthy Food, Sprouts, Grains