So, what are sprouted grains? They’re types of wheat, barley, millet, and brown rice, and they’re available in every kind of carb, including bread, pasta, and cereal. These greater grains are grown longer than usual to allow them to sprout, and in the process, enzymes change the way they taste (nuttier, sweeter) and their nutritional profile (more micronutrients and protein, fewer carbs). Here are reasons why you should include them in your diet.
1. Additional nutrients
Many sprouted grains pack more immune-boosting vitamin C, energising B vitamins, and disease-fighting antioxidants than unsprouted types, studies found. Sprouting may also increase the folate in grains by 360 percent, according to research in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, upping energy levels and fighting depression. Food companies are required to add folate to white flour, but healthy eaters who avoid processed foods may not get enough. In addition, sprouted grains may give you more iron and zinc, which help keep your immune system strong. “Whole grains also contain these minerals, but your body doesn’t absorb them as well,” explains Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., a professor emerita of food and nutrition at St. Catherine University. “The sprouting process may make the nutrients more accessible.”
2. Fewer carbs, extra protein
In order to sprout, a grain generates energy by digesting many of its own carbs, making it lower in starch. At the same time, enzymes start to break down the proteins in the grain, increasing its number of essential amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein, and you need them to gain muscle and produce hormones and antibodies. According to research, sprouting can increase the amount of these amino acids by as much as 10 times.
3. They won’t bloat you out
Whole grains contain two types of sugars that our bodies can’t digest, starchyose amd raffinose. They ferment in our gut, producing gas. This is less the case with sprouted versions, Jones says. As a grain germinates, many of its sugars, including starchyose and raffinose, break down.