Health Benefits of Sprouted Grains
Benefits of Sprouted Bread
Sprouted grains are popping up in products in grocery aisles because of their valuable nutrients. You might have seen them in breads, cereals, pasta, buns, muffins, tortillas, crackers, or pizza crust. But did you know that products made with sprouted grains have additional health benefits?
Sprouting grains maximizes the nutrition of the whole grains and makes is easier for your body to absorb them. Plus, they are usually minimally processed and void of artificial additives and preservatives. Incorporating sprouted grains into a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and minimally processed foods, is definitely a way to up your nutrition game.
What exactly are sprouted grains?
Simply put, sprouted grains are any whole grain that has begun to germinate. Any whole grain can be sprouted, including barley, wheat, farro, amaranth, oats, quinoa, spelt, rice, and millet. You might be more familiar with alfalfa or bean sprouts. While those sprouts are longer, the process is still the same. The grain germinates and begin to grow, given the ideal conditions in terms of temperature and moisture. When the sprouting process begins, many of the grain’s nutrients are released in a way that make them more available to the body and more readily absorbed. Typically, the sprout on the grain is shorter than the grain itself, because the maturation is halted shortly after germination.
Why are sprouted grains better for you?
First, always check out the Nutrition Facts Label to compare nutrition contents and look at the ingredient list. Sprouted grains should be the first ingredient listed, like with Love Sprout Live’s Wheat Your Heart Out bread.
Although sprouted grains do contain the same nutrients as whole grains, they have different quantities. Emerging research indicates that when grains sprout, more (bio)available ingredients are released than in mature whole grains.
The sprouting processes increases the levels of vitamins and antioxidants including:
Increased vitamin C, produced by sprouting
Increased B vitamins: vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B6 (pyridoxine)
Increased antioxidants: such as beta-carotene and vitamin E
Easier to digest
Sprouted grains also make sprouted food products easier to digest, because 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. (Although this does not include those with celiac disease or a specific allergy, as sprouted products still naturally contain gluten.)
Products using sprouted grains also have higher amounts of fiber and increased protein content. For example, Love Sprout Live’s Lean Clean Protein Machine has 7g 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.
But how do they taste?
Sprouted grains have a mild nutty taste and can add flavor to your foods. Baked sprouted breads seem to have a more flavorful and slightly sweeter taste than traditional whole grain breads. They lend 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 freezer section at a Walmart store near you. 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.