OCTOBER 2015
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

NUTRITION

Are you Sprouting?

BHAVI NIRAV

By BHAVI NIRAV

Soaking grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds is a traditional practice in many cultures that can positively impact the nutritional qualities of these foods for us. Grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds can add great value and variety to the diet; yet they contain anti-nutrients – particularly phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors – which detract from their nutritive value.

By soaking, you break down the phytic acid so it can be absorbed properly. For beans and lentils the following method of soaking works well.

Soak in warm, filtered water for at least 10-12 hours: Water temperature between 120 and 148 is ideal, as the enzyme needed to break down the oligosaccharide is killed at 150 degrees.

Change the water often. Three times per day drain off the water, cover them in more water to rinse, drain, and then cover again with warm water to soak. Changing the water often allows you to discard any anti-nutrients leeched from the bean.

Cook them over low heat for a long time. Cooking beans for a long time breaks down those hard-to-digest fibers.

Soaking nuts neutralizes the enzymes allowing for proper digestion. Nuts that stand up well to soaking are pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, almonds and cashews.

To take soaking a step further, we call it sprouting!

Sprouting is like unlocking the safe deposit box. Once germination starts, the dormant seed starts to become a live plant. Anti-nutrients are cast away, it changes, inside and out, you are eating a tiny little plant. The process of changing seeds into little plants is easy, but the changes that happen are huge.

Sprouting method: After soaking, the seeds should be rinsed and the water drained off. Soaking turns the seed soft and laden with water. Put seeds in a strainer, place the strainer with seeds in a bowl filled with 1/4 cup water. Put the bowl and strainer in dark place. The seeds will eventually germinate and become sprouts within a day or two, depending upon the temperature and humidity.

Nutritional benefits of sprouts- grains/beans/seeds

1. Sprouts can contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals such as calcium and magnesium, amino acids and essential fats from the foods you eat.

2. Nutrients’ percentage of Vitamin C, iron, Riboflavin, Niacin and Phosphorous increase after sprouting.

3. Both the quality of the protein and the fiber content of beans, nuts, seeds and grains improves when sprouted.

For example, depending on the sprout, the nutrient content can increase as much as 30 times the original value within just a few days of sprouting.

4. Sprouting whole grains reduces the amount of starch they contain and boosts their nutritional value.

5. It also contains less of the protein gluten, makes grains easier to digest.

6. Higher levels of the enzyme amylase make sprouted grains helpful for digesting carbohydrates into sugars.

7. The content of vitamins and essential fatty acids also increase dramatically during the sprouting process

8. Sprouts are one of the best natural foods greatly help to counter the acidity.

The energy contained in the seed, grain, nut or legume is ignited through soaking and sprouting.

Types of Sprouts

Seeds of Alfalfa, Sunflower, Gram, Soybean, Wheat, Muth, Moong, Methi, split peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans can used as sprouts.

Recipes of the month:

Sprouted bean hummus: Substitute garbanzo beans with sprouted garbanzo beans.

Use sprouted lentils/beans in salads, soups, patty, poha, upma, etc., to enhance flavor and nutrient level of the dish.

You can also use sprouted pinto beans for taco filling or any Mexican dish. Let your imagination run wild and paint your kitchen with sprouts.

To our health!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at swarayog@gmail.com

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