Superfood #8. Sprouts -Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritionally beneficial of all foods. Their nutritional value was discovered by the Chinese thousands of years ago. Recently, in the USA, numerous scientific studies suggest the importance of sprouts in a healthy diet.
As an example, a sprouted Mung Bean has the carbohydrate content of a melon, vitamin A of a lemon, thiamin of an avocado, riboflavin of a dry apple, niacin of a banana, and ascorbic acid of a loganberry. Other studies have shown sprouts to be a powerful antioxidant and may assist in preventing some types of cancer.
Sprouts are the most reliable year-round source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and many B vitamins (such as folacin). Sprouting seeds, grains, and legumes greatly increases their content of those vitamins. For example, the vitamin A content (per calorie) of sprouted Mung beans is two-and-a-half times higher than the dry bean, and some beans have more than eight times more vitamin A after being sprouted.
Sprouts preserve our body's enzymes, which is extremely important. How do they do this? Sprouted beans, grains, nuts, and seeds are extremely easy to digest. Sprouting essentially pre-digests the food for us by breaking down the concentrated starch into simpler carbohydrates and the protein into free amino acids, so our own enzymes don't have to work so hard. Sprouting also removes anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, and that makes sprouts even easier to digest, further sparing enzymes.
Another anti-nutrient is phytates, which is what stops some people from enjoying grains such as wheat. Many people who can't eat unsprouted wheat find they can eat all the sprouted wheat they want with no problem.
Almost any vegetable or grain can be consumed from sprouts. Broccoli, canola, cauliflower, and mustard greens sprouts are loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, enzymes, and chlorophyll. In a recent study, 1 oz. of broccoli sprouts had the same cancer-fighting power as over 11⁄2 pounds of fully-grown broccoli.