Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are great for your health. It’s undisputed and has shown to reduce cholesterol, help with heart health along with a myriad of other functional benefits etc. The problem with raw grains, even once cooked, is they are covered in anti-nutrients such as saponins, carcinogens, phyates such as phytic acid, and other harsh digestive barriers that wreak havoc on the gut lining and prevent nutrients from being absorbed by the body. What do these acids do? In small doses, they are not harmful, however even in small doeses, they can cause stomach discomfort or resemble issues of IBS, and wreak havoc on your digesting lining, etc. The main problem with these antinutrients however is they prevent the nutrition from the grains and seeds from being absorbed by your system.
Think about it – seeds are designed to survive through the various harsh realities of nature. When a seed or grain is ingested by an animal, many times it actually stays whole and planted back to the earth through the animals’ output – only then does the seed germinate into a plant. The harsh anti-nutrient acidic outer layer protects the seeds from being digested by the said hungry animal. You may often see this in your own output as well. Take flax for example, not only does it leave some people with a sore tummy, but the seeds come out whole and undigested. So, how do we combat this issue? Enter sprouting. Not only does it help with all of the above, it also turns many grains into a super functional/ preventative food!
Through sprouting, the seed is germinated, or brought to life by turning into a plant, which stimulates the production of enzymes, lactobacilli, and unlocks powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Through the sprouting process, the seeds shed anti-nutrients that inhibit digestion such as phytic acid and other potent carcinogens. Sprouting also breaks down complex sugar molecules, making them easier to digest, and it increases the alkalinity of the seed. (The starch is converted to vegetable sugars, so your body digests the sprouted seed as a vegetable). Sprouting enhances the nutritional profile of the foods without wreaking havoc on your digestive system. For example, Sprouted chia contains triple the vitamins and minerals compared to normal un-sprouted chia. So, when consuming Sprouted chia, not only will you absorb more nutrients during digestion because your body does not have to break down the outer acids that usually coat the seed (as in the non-sprouted case), but there are just more vitamins and mineral for your body to absorb! In terms of becoming a functional food, a few examples are Sprouted buckwheat is more effective at decreasing blood pressure and staving off fatty liver disease over non-sprouted buckwheat and sprouted flax has shown to inhibit breast cancer.
We are on a mission to create a sprouted revolution as these products nutritional elements are far superior to dormant grains and is proven through empirical research data. Sprouted grains offer a relief from bloating or other digestive issues that people can often experience from eating dormant grains. During the germination process, high concentrations of starch-degrading enzymes are created. These convert complex starches to more simple sugars to fuel seed growth. These sugars are also easier for our bodies to break down and digest, however the glycemic index of sprouted grains is very low. Germination causes an increase in total phenolics and flavonoids which leads to an increase in antioxidant activity. This antioxidant activity is also responsible for protecting the high lipid content found in seeds such as chia or flax, therefore elongating the shelf life. Changes in the fiber content lead to a decrease in insoluble fiber and an increase in soluble fiber. Sprouting also creates the probiotic lactobacillus culture, consisting of both in acidophilus and bifidobacterium form – which aids in the digestion and improves Gut Health and Mental Health.
Before you go off and begin your Sprouting DIY projects, just remember the same environment you sprout in can also be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. We at Fermentanicals use specialised methods to sprout to mitigate any risk of contamination plus we test every batch – so you can rest assured you are getting all nutrition and none of the bad stuff! You can use sprouted grains exactly the same as dormant, it just has an improved flavor profile as the seeds/grains are less bitter. Check out our amazing Organic Sprouted Grain collection here!