Health Benefits of Sprouted Grains
Benefits of Sprouted Bread
Sprouted grains have been 'sprouting' up all around grocery aisles and Instagram feeds lately. You likely have seen them advertised on loaves of bread, cereals, pasta, buns, and even pizza crusts. But what does anyone actually know about them? Reliable information seems elusive. Did you know that products made with sprouted grains have so many amazing health benefits?
In layman's terms, sprouting the grains maximizes the nutrition of the whole grains, which makes it easier for your body to absorb them and all of their yummy health benefits. They're often minimally processed and void of artificial additives and preservatives. Incorporating sprouted grains into a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits, veggies, and minimally processed foods, is one simple way to really boss up your nutrition game.
What exactly are sprouted grains?
Ok, so your favorite Insta influencer has been talking nonstop about her avo toast on sprouted grains, but you're still not sure what she's talking about. Let us help you out. Simply put, sprouted grains are any whole grain that has begun to germinate. Yeah, "germinate" sounds kind of gross, but it's actually amazing. Any whole grain can be sprouted, including barley, wheat, farro, amaranth, oats, quinoa, spelt, rice, and millet. You may be more familiar with alfalfa or bean sprouts, though. While those sprouts are longer, the process is still the same. The grain germinates and begins to grow. When this happens and the sprouting process begins, many of the grain's nutrients are released in a way that makes them more available to the body and more readily absorbed. Typically, the sprout on the grain is smaller than the grain itself because the maturation is halted shortly after germination.
Why are sprouted grains better for you?
Always check out the Nutrition Facts Label to compare nutrition contents and look at the ingredient list. Sprouted grains should be the very first ingredient listed, like with Love Sprout Live's Wheat Your Heart Out.
Although sprouted grains do actually contain the same nutrients as whole grains, they have different quantities - which is important to know. Emerging research indicates that when grains sprout, more (bio)available ingredients are released than in mature whole grains.
The sprouting process increases the levels of all sorts of amazing and healthy vitamins and antioxidants including:
Increased vitamin C, produced by sprouting - helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals
Increased folate - helps to make DNA (red and white blood cells) and other genetic material.
Increased B vitamins: B2, B5, B6 - play a vital role in good health and well-being like help control energy levels, brain functions, and cell metabolism.
Increased antioxidants - help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and to a more vain extent, side effects of aging.
Sprouted grains also make sprouted food products easier to digest. Sprouting breaks down starches into simpler molecules that are easier for the body to absorb. Some studies even suggest that sprouted grain breads may be a better alternative for people with gluten sensitivity, depending on individual tolerance, because they contain less gluten. This sounds awesome because sandwiches are delishhh. (Although, this does not include those with celiac disease or a specific allergy, as sprouted products still naturally contain gluten.)
Sprouted grains also have higher amounts of fiber and increased protein content. Look at Love Sprout Live's Lucky No. 7 which has a whole 4g of protein and 3g of fiber per slice.
Dang, sprouted grains are like the super-hero of grain products.
Sprouted grains are just all around good for the diet because whole grains are healthier than refined grains. A study published by the very official sounding BMJ (British Medical Journal) found that increasing daily whole-grain intake appeared to lower the risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. (Probably because of all that healthy stuff it releases we just went over!) The largest difference in risk was found to be among people who ate two servings of whole grains per day compared to those who ate none. A separate study determined that each daily whole grains serving (at 28g) cut the risk of heart disease by 9 percent. Other studies suggest whole grains can help lower levels of dangerous belly fat (gut health, people!) which boosts digestion and immunity.
Products using sprouted grains also have higher amounts of fiber and increased protein content. For example, Love Sprout Live’s Lucky No. 7 has 4g of protein and 3g of fiber per slice.
Sprouted grains are a benefit to the diet as whole grains are healthier than refined grains. A recent study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) found that increasing daily whole grain intake appeared to lower the risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. The largest difference in risk was found to be among people who ate two servings of whole grains per day compared to those who ate none. A separate study determined that each daily whole grains serving (@28 grams) cut the risk of heart disease by 9 percent. Other studies suggest whole grains can help lower levels of dangerous belly fat and may have beneficial effects on the gut health, which boosts digestion and immunity.
Is it still yummy?
YES! Sprouted grains have a mildly nutty taste and can add flavor to your food. Baked sprouted breads seem to have a more flavorful and slightly sweeter taste than traditional whole grain breads. They lend to a softer consistency and sweeter taste than whole wheat due to the starches being broken down into simpler sugars during the sprouting process.
Buying and using sprouted grains
You can find Love Sprout Live breads in the bread aisle of your local Kroger store or in the freezer section at your local Walmart, which is seriously convenient. Find a store near you!
Lela Iliopoulos is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator and an expert in nutrition therapy, health promotion, and education. She is passionate about impacting nutritional health through the practical application of science-based information.