Raw sprouts are an amazing food option for you to add to your diet! Not only are they lower in carbs than your average grain, but they contain a lot of added minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. You’ll find that they can make a very healthy addition to your weekly menu, but it’s essential that you understand both their pros and cons. Below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about raw sprouts:
What Are Raw Sprouts?
The definition of sprouts is “seeds that have germinated and become young plants”. The seeds are usually soaked in water for several hours, then exposed to a combination of moisture and precise temperatures. They will typically sprout within 2-7 days, and will grow up to 2 inches long. They can be made from grains like rice and quinoa, legumes like kidneys beans and lentils, peas, soybeans, vegetables like radishes and broccoli, nuts like almonds, or even pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. They are best when eaten raw, though they can be cooked.
Why Eat Raw Sprouts
Raw sprouts are one of the most nutritious plant-based foods on the planet. They are fairly low in calories, but they contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They’d packed in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, manganese, magnesium, protein, phosphorus, and many more powerhouse nutrients. Sprouting increases the amino acid content of these plants, meaning you get more protein per serving. Sprouts can also be easier on your digestive system, as the sprouting process reduces the quatity of antinutrients in the food. They’re packed with antioxidants and other important plant compounds. All in all, they’re definitely one of the healthiest food choices you can make.
The Benefits of Sprouts are Many
Sprouts have been shown to improve heart health, reducing cholesterol and helping to boost your levels of good cholesterol. Some studies have shown that sprouts can help your body manage blood sugar levels by regulating the activity of amylase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down sugars. Sprouts are packed with fiber, up to 133% more than un-sprouted grains, and you’ll find they’re amazing for your digestive health. All in all, they’re definitely one of the most beneficial of the natural, raw foods you can eat.
Sadly, Dangers Exist
Raw sprouts are considered a risk due to the fact that they may contain E. coli and Salmonella bacteria. In order to sprout, they have to grow in warm, moist environments, the same type of environment that bacteria needs to flourish. Nearly 50 outbreaks of foodborne illness have been linked by the FDA to raw or lightly cooked sprouts in the last twenty years. The fact that you eat the sprouts raw means you are at higher risk of illness, as there is no heat to kill off the bacteria. Symptoms of food poisoning caused by sprouts may include cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How to Eat Sprouts Safely
If you want to add sprouts to your diet, consider cooking them lightly first. You can add them into your cooked dishes—soups, stews, stir-fried foods, etc.—at the end, and the residual heat will kill off the bacteria without altering or affecting the nutritional quality of the sprouts. If you want to only eat raw sprouts, it’s best to buy raw sprouts that have been properly refrigerated to kill off bacteria. Any sprouts that smell or look slimy should be avoided, and you should always store sprouts in your fridge at temperatures below 48 F. These tips will help you to stay safe and avoid risk of infection or food poisoning while still allowing you to enjoy those healthy, raw sprouts!