If you are looking for an easy and affordable way to improve the nutritional value of your diet, sprouted seeds is the answer. Edible green sprouts are loaded with vitamins, proteins, minerals, and enzymes, and they taste great!
If you decide to grow edible sprouts at home, we suggest you to be careful to purchase only those that are specifically labeled for sprouting. Many garden seeds are pre-treated with fungicides which may be harmful to eat, so read the packaging closely and choose only those that are designated for sprouting. Garden centers, health food stores and produce departments at good grocery stores should all offer a wide variety of sprouting seeds and sprouters to get the job done.
How To Soaking Your Seeds
This is an important practice that must not be ignored as you begin your sprouting seeds journey. The dry seeds you purchase for sprouting are dormant. Soaking Seeds is the first step we need to do in bringing them back to life. No matter what variety of seed you are soaking, we advice you to never use too much water…a good rule of thumb is to use three parts water to one part seed.
The soaking time however varies greatly with the types of seed. Some require as little as 20 minutes, while others need many hours. For some seeds, soaking too long will destroy them, so be careful. Read the guide on the package to determine the right amount of soaking time for your particular sprouts.
Proper soaking is what really brings the seed to life and allows for full development of all those beneficial nutrients that we are going to enjoy once the sprouts emerge.
Here are some of the most popular types of sprouts:
1- Kidney Bean Sprouts
The first one in our list is Kidney sprouts. These beans get their names from their kidney-like shape. They can either be dark or light red, they will both produce nutritious sprouts that are high in proteins and low in fat and carbohydrates.
Kidney beans are a good seed to sprout to add to your diet if you need more protein and if you have trouble sleeping.
Health benefits: In addition to the 8gms of protein, you will get from a serving of this type of sprout, you will also get a dose of melatonin. Melatonin is produced by your body and helps to regulate your sleep cycle. Melatonin production decreases as we age, which is why we often have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep as we grow older. A daily serving of kidney beans sprouts will help you sleep better at night and the extra protein will help build strong muscles and bones.
This type of bean sprout also contains vitamin C, folate, and iron.
2- Pumpkin Seed Sprouts
Pumpkin seed sprouts are rich in protein, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, and manganese. This combination is known as ‘the complete package’ of protein and minerals.
Health benefits: This type of sprout as compared to the first one we have discussed with you helps build strong bones, promotes more restful sleep, and gives a boost to your immune system. Pumpkin seed sprouts contain the highest amount of zinc of any plant-based product and zinc strengthens the immune system so it can ward off viruses.
How to sprouts: To sprout pumpkin seeds, soak them in salty water for 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Place rinsed seeds in a jar or glass bowl, cover with cheesecloth and let set overnight. Rinse the seeds once more and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan to dry. Eat immediately or store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
3- Alfalfa Green Sprouts
Super healthy with good amounts of vitamins A, D, E and K. Excellent on sandwiches and as an addition to salads. Fresh sweet flavor when yellow, but equally good if allowed to mature to green.
4- Broccoli Sprouts
Great flavor that adds a touch of red color to dishes…very mild spicy taste and a good source of antioxidants.
5- Red Clover Sprouts
These sprouts we have are much like alfalfa sprouts in both taste and appearance. Red Clover seeds are very easy to sprout and will make a healthy addition to your diet.
Red clover sprouts are rich in vitamins A, B3, K, and C.
* Vitamin A supports eye health, reduces cancer risks, boosts the immune system, helps bones to be strong and healthy, plus promotes healthy, acne-free skin.
* Vitamin B3 reduces blood pressure, reduces high cholesterol, lowers the risk of diabetes, improves brain function, and improves the appearance of skin.
* Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and the production of healthy bone tissue.
* Vitamin C is a hard-working vitamin that is essential to enable the body to grow new tissue and repair old tissue. It plays a huge role in the development of healthy teeth and bones, it strengthens the immune system, aids in wound healing and overall health, and helps the body absorb iron.
These tasty sprouts are also rich in minerals, such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese.
* Iron is needed for growth and development.
* Calcium is needed for strong teeth and bones.
* Potassium helps to stabilize blood pressure and helps maintain a normal fluid level inside the cells.
* Copper helps the immune system stay strong, turns sugar into energy, aids in the making of red blood cells, and helps the body absorb iron.
* Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory, promotes heart health, supports healthy blood sugar levels, and can boost the mood.
* Zinc plays an important role in wound healing and keeping the immune system strong.
* Phosphorus is important for the development of healthy teeth and bones. This mineral also assists the body in using fats and carbohydrates.
* Manganese is important for the body to be able to metabolize fat and carbohydrates. Manganese also helps to regulate blood sugar and promotes healthy brain and nerve function.
A wide range of vitamins and minerals are needed daily to keep the body healthy and energized. Adding red clover sprouts to your diet can help ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals that your body needs. These crunchy sprouts can be eaten cold in a salad or sandwich, or cooked in a stir fry recipe.
Related: Starting seeds indoors.
6- Mung Bean Sprouts
One of the best sprouts to eat is Mung Bean sprouts. This type of sprout comes from a small green bean that is a member of the legume family. These sprouts have a slightly sweet taste and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Health Benefits: They are high in nutrition and packed with health benefiting vitamins and minerals. Mung Beans sprouts are low in calories and fat but high in fiber. They contain folate, manganese, magnesium, selenium, copper, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 are also found in these tiny sprouts.
* Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system and bowel, lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, and helps promote longer life.
* Folate helps the body produce healthy red blood cells.
* Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, helps reduce the risk of cancer, promotes heart health, boosts the immune system, and is important for thyroid health.
* B1 enables the body to use carbohydrates as energy and is important for heart health.
* B2 maintains the body’s energy supply. It is essential for breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
* B5 promotes healthy hair, skin, eyes, and liver. It’s an essential vitamin for metabolizing fats and proteins.
* B6 promotes brain health and may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It also helps alleviate depression by boosting the mood.
How to Sprout: This type of bean sprout is very easy to grow at home so you will always have a fresh supply of nutritious Mung Beans sprouts. Rinse the Mung Beans and place them in a wide mouthed jar. Cover with water and place cheese cloth over the mouth of the jar. Soak for 24 hours, pour off the water and rinse the beans. Place beans back in the jar without added water. Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth and place the jar in a dark location. The Mung Beans will sprout in 4-5 days.
7- Wheat Sprouts
From many other types of sprouts, Wheat sprouts are good for juicing. Very sweet when left to sprout for three days, or can be left untouched for a week and they become more of a healthy one inch grass that adds super nutrition to your juicer.
8- Radish Sprouts
Ultra high in vitamin C and vitamin A. A spicy addition to sandwiches and salads.
9- Soybean Sprouts
For a sprout that is great for cooking, the Soybean is also high in fiber and protein. It is a nice addition to stews and casseroles.
10- Mustard Sprouts
The tiny leaves of the Mustard sprout look similar to the delicate alfalfa sprouts, but watch out! The leaves are very hot and spicy and go well in egg dishes as well as salads.
11- Green Lentil Sprouts
Another good type of sprout for cooking or an addition to soups, the Lentil sprouts are about 25% protein, but can also be eaten raw.
12- Onion Sprout
One bite and you will know where the Onion sprout comes from. The distinct onion flavor is high in vitamin A, C and D and is good in sandwiches and salads.
13- Sunflower Sprout
This is one of the best sprout for the juicer machine. Sunflower sprouts are loaded with vitamin D and have a nice nutty flavor. Eaten raws they have a crispy texture.
14- Pea Shoots
Just about any Pea variety will produce “shoots” which are the tiny plants above the soil. They will emerge about 10 days after planting, depending on climate, but are good for stir-fry or a nice raw additive to cold dishes.
15- Sesame Seed Sprouts
Health benefits: Sesame seed sprouts are rich in calcium which makes them a great snack for growing kids. They are low in calories, high in amino acids, contain no fat or cholesterol, and are rich in minerals such as magnesium, and selenium. This type of sprout also contains vitamins A, B, D, E, and K.
Vitamin E is important for healthy eyes, heart, brain, blood, and skin. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps keep the immune system strong.
The amino acids in sesame seed sprouts help break down food, build muscles, and provide energy.
How to Sprout: To sprout sesame seeds, soak them in cool water for 8 hours. Rinse and drain twice a day for the next 2 days. On the third day, the sprouts will be big enough to eat. They can be eaten raw in salads or as a snack or cooked.
With the various types of sprouts available, it’s a positive step towards good health if you add some of these nutritious, good-for-you sprouts to your daily diet.
Side Effects/Potential Risks of Eating Sprouts
- Stomach cramps and diarrhea. Raw sprouts are rich in fiber (which is good in moderation) but eating too much fiber can result in digestive problems.
- Fever and chills. Eating sprouts that are low quality (spindly, few leaves, off-color) can cause fever and chills.
- Trouble sleeping. Sprouts are hard to digest and anything that is hard to digest can cause trouble while sleeping if the food is eaten close to bedtime.
- Bad bacteria. Because sprouts are raw, there is the potential risk of ingesting bacteria such as e.Coli and salmonella. Also, if the sprouts have been grown in the wrong way or contaminated soil, the risk of becoming sick with harmful bacteria increases.
- Some people should avoid eating sprouts. People with any medical condition that suppresses the immune system should not eat raw sprouts. Also, young children, pregnant women, and the elderly should avoid eating sprouts because of their potentially weakened immune systems.
- Chronic digestive issues. Anyone who has chronic digestive issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chron’s Disease, etc. should avoid eating sprouts as it may increase the effects of the digestive issues.
- Food poisoning. Sprouts are grown in warm, humid conditions, very close to the soil. This growing situation can lead to the growth of germs on the tiny plants. When the sprouts are eaten raw it can cause food poisoning.
Growing sprouts is SO much fun! It is a year round activity and when we can’t get outside, it is like managing a garden right in your own kitchen. Experiment with different varieties. Make sprouts and edible seeds a part of your overall cuisine and learn about the amazing health benefits that sprouting seeds can offer. And let’s not forget what may be the most important thing of all…sprouts taste great!