What is it about sprouts?

Sprouts have been a medicinal and nutritional mainstay in Asia for centuries. Interactions with the Asian continent introduced sprouts to many cultures, but it was the emigration of those of Asian descent across the globe that allowed the sprout revolution to really take root. Sprouts began gaining popularity in the United States in the 1970s, and hasn’t stopped.

Alfalfa Sprouts
So, what is a sprout? Sprouts are those very very young plants emerging from their seeds. There are many different sprouts available on the market; the most familiar being bean sprouts. But sprouts can also come from grains like buckwheat and rye, nuts, and beans like garbanzo beans; grass like alfalfa; greens like sunflowers; leafy vegetables like radishes; or from the mustard family, especially broccoli. 

Broccoli Sprouts
Sprouting is a good introduction into growing your own food for the uninitiated on a small scale with no soil in any climate. Sprout growth and consumption does not come without risk. The US Food and Drug Administration provides guidelines and are developing mandatory produce safety regulations for the sprout industry which are also useful for growing sprouts at home.

Onion Sprouts
Like its fully formed vegetable counterparts, sprouts provide you a healthy dose of vitamins, fiber, protein, and fats. As young versions of the vegetables, sprouts are more easily digestible as they have not yet developed the thick fibrous exteriors. The USDA Food Composition database provides detailed health information on a variety of vegetable sprouts. Sprouts have altered chemical makeup, reducing their starch contents and increasing their vitamin and mineral levels. When soaked, they also break down other anti-nutrients which allows the body to absorb more of these vital vitamins and minerals.

Mung Bean Sprouts
In addition to the general healthy benefits of sprouts, there are ongoing studies investigating the disease-preventing phytochemicals in sprouts to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and various cancers.

See the experts at Metabolic Medical Center and add sprouts to your next meal to get a super nutritional punch from small package.

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