By Sneh Jaisingh
INDIA New England Columnist
Mother Nature has its own special way of communicating with us. All we got to do is open our eyes and look around us. Just like for example, the season spring. We see bare branches holding buds, shoots sprouting from the ground, allowing you to witness the miracle of growth around you.
Eating with the season is like playing a musical instrument that is part of a symphony, all in sync. There are a lot of benefits of eating with the season. We not only get the fresh, flavorful and nutritive best, but it is affordable. I am a huge fan of buying locally grown produce that are in season. The natural cycle of produce is perfectly designed to support our health, if only man would curb its desire to interject.
For example- spring is a time for cleansing, and you will see abundance of alkalizing and detoxifying produce all around you- leafy greens, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, papaya, pineapples etc. Great way to reboot your system from a long winter of heavier food, needed to keep us warm.
Today I am going to talk about my most loved spring food, Sprouts. In my mind sprouts are synonymous with life, energy, digestion, anti-aging , beauty and of course weight loss along with many other health benefits. Seriously sprouts are one of the best home /locally grown nutrient powerhouse. Not only does it have many health benefits, its environment friendly too.
THE SCIENCE OF SPROUT NUTRITION
- Sprouts are biogenic – alive and capable of transferring their life energy to your body. One of the most important reasons being that sprouts contain fresh chlorophyll, Chlorophyll is the single most critical substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun, our ultimate source of energy and convert that light into usable energy. The moment you soak the grain/seed/nut the dead energy gets the ignition notification and life begins. One of the true magic of nature.!
- Sprouts contain enzymes, some experts suggests that there can be 100times more enzymes in sprouts than in any other raw food like fruits and vegetables. These enzymes are essential to our bodies because they control the metabolic processes whereby nutrients are converted into energy and fresh cell material. They help breakdown food into smaller compounds and convert starches into sugars, protein into amino acids, and fats into fatty acids meaning, aid in digestion.
- Sprouts provide nutrients in its purest natural form which are easy for the body to digest. The quality of protein in the beans, nuts, seeds or grain improves when sprouted.
- Studies have shown that in comparison to dried seeds, sprouted foods contain an amazing increase in nutrients. During the sprouting process; the vitamins, minerals and protein increase substantially and the calories and carbohydrate contents decrease. This is mainly due to higher water content compared to the dried seed. 100g lentil dried provides 350 calories and 60 gm of carbohydrates. Whereas, 100 gm of sprouted lentil will provide 106 calories and 22 gm of carbohydrates. The vitamin content increases significantly too. Especially vitamins A, B, C and E. For detailed nutrient content, refer to http://www.usda.gov
- Sprouts have a greater satiety value.
- Sprouts create alkalinity in the body. Alkalinity provides optimum health- by creating a pH balance. The more alkaline your diet, the lesser the inflammation. Many chronic health conditions are directly related to increased acid pH.
- Sprouts provide a good source of fiber, which stimulates the body’s internal self-cleansing abilities by escorting the toxins out of our system.
- Sprouts are an excellent source of anti-aging to cancer fighting antioxidants.
- Sprouts are an extremely inexpensive mode of optimum nourishment and environment friendly. They are free from unwanted pesticides, food additives and other harmful chemicals that create havoc in our body that leads to Dis-ease.
WHAT CAN WE SPROUT
Most seeds sprout easily, one can sprout Grains, Legumes/Lentils, Nuts and Oilseeds.
Fresh, alive seeds in good condition sprout the best. If a seed will not sprout, this is an indication that it is “dead” and the enzymes in it have been destroyed. It may be old, rancid, cooked, irradiated, sprayed or physically broken or damaged.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
- SOAK your seeds/nuts/grains/beans overnight
- DRAIN/RINSE with fresh water next morning and then twice a day for 2-3 days
- STORE in a closed container or sprout bag
- WAIT for 1-4 days till the sprouts are ready
- EXPOSE the sprouts to sunlight before consuming for that extra boost of chlorophyll
- ENJOY them as a snack, in your salad. Add them to your wraps and smoothies
- EXPIREMENT with various sprouts as they each has its unique flavor and nutrition.