Remember that scene in The Office when Creed is sprouting (smelly) mung beans in his desk drawer? You might have wondered whether you should consider sprouting your own (healthy?) snacks as well.
There's an entire subsection in Whole Food's bulk food that's devoted to premium-priced "sprouted" food. There are $5 sprouted nut bars popping up in corner delis alongside the PopTarts and I was just sent a collection of sprouted pasta and cereals that are beautifully packaged with a tan and white palate and manufactured by a company that makes nothing but sprouted food.
I encountered sprouted food a couple of years ago and was intrigued enough to do some sprouting myself and even bake bread from the sprouts. But then I sort of forgot about it and carried on with my un-sprouted life, but it seems to be everywhere again, and it got me thinking – are sprouted grains and nuts, really any better for you?
The idea behind sprouting grains and seeds is that the process of sprouting takes them from a dormant state to a living one – so rather than eating a seed you're eating a live plant that resulted from sprouting the seed.
Benefits of Sprouted Foods?
So, what are the benefits of eating sprouted food?
Wonky Pie explains that grains can be hard for the body to digest because of their phytic acid (which prevents the body from absorbing minerals) and lectin; a chemical in grains that can aggravate the gut.
When grains are grown ie sprouted, the nutritional value increases – largely with the release of B and C vitamins in the "plant's" leaves.
Is it worth the price?
Ok, so I'm totally on board with this logic IF – you eat the actual plant that results, but the problem is, you don't.
Most sprouted grains after they're sprouted, are dried and ground up. They are packaged, put on a shelf, and remain there for months until consumed. So, all the Vitamin B and C that grew into plant form, is now in a dry, ground, aged state.
After all this, are the sprouts able to retain all these nutrients and hence make them as nutritious as a fresh green plant?
It does make sense to me that grains, in their seed state can be hard to digest, and that sprouting makes them more digestible, but in terms of consuming more "nutritious" food... only if you believe the sprouts retain all these newly created nutrients.
But there is certainly no downside to dried sprouts, likely a small nutritional upside!