Looking for more information about sprouts and their nutritional value? This article will help you to know about the benefits and harmful effects of sprouts, the way we should consume sprouts etc.
What are Sprouts
Most of us know that sprouts are considered as a power house for our body but do we know what are these sprouts exactly? Sprouts are basically germinated grains or beans and are resulted after the successful sprouting. In sprouting, the seeds (in general) prepare themselves for the new life and the shoot part comes out of the seed coat. This stage of the seed is considered as a ready stage to grow a new plant. If we talk in terms of health and nutrition, these are the germinating seeds or grains which can be eaten cooked or even raw.
Why we should eat sprouts
Sprouts are always there in the list if we talk about diet food, nutritious food and protein source. They are always considered as healthy food for below-mentioned reasons:-
Improve digestion : Sprouts improve digestion for two main reasons. In sprouts, the quantity of insoluble fibers is quite high and these fibers help in the excretion of solid waste from our body and prevents constipation. Another important point is the gluten amount present in seeds is lesser in sprouts than in intact seeds. Gluten is difficult to digest and if the intake gets reduced, it will boost our digestion. Apart from this, the sprouted seeds have less amount of anti nutrients which in turn improves your digestion.
Rich source of nutrients: Although the sprouts are considered as low in calories they are very rich sources of nutrients, especially of plant compounds. The levels of magnesium, folate, phosphorus, protein, manganese, vitamin K and vitamin C get increased during the process of sprouting in seeds. Antioxidants, essential amino acids, and some plant compounds are also high in sprouts.
Keeps our heart healthy: A healthy heart needs low levels of blood triglycerides, Low-Density Lipids (LDL) and total cholesterol and sprouts help in maintaining the low levels of these in your body. The intake of sprouts increases the level of good or healthy Lipids or High-Density Lipids (HDL)./Li>
Blood sugar levels under control: Sprouts help to control your blood sugar levels by reducing the carbohydrates in sprouts and by increasing the activity of amylase enzyme. By this, the body becomes capable of digesting sugar more efficiently hence reduce the blood sugar levels.
Good for weight loss: Sprouts comes always in the list of food for weight loss and this is because they have a high amount of nutrients but fewer calories. The insoluble fiber present in sprouts makes you feel full and lower your appetite. Some studies say that it also blocks or slows down the secretion of a hunger hormone- Ghrelin in our body.
Supports healthy eye-sight: Vitamin A is abundant in sprouts and it supports and even improves our vision. It also prevents damage of eyes cells due from free radicals with the help of antioxidants they have.
Reduces acidity: Sprouts have the capacity to balance our body's pH levels and can also reduce the acid levels in our body.
Boost immune system: Vitamin C is the main key for healthy immune systems and sprouts are having a high level of the same which increases the formation of white blood cells in our body. Sprouts also have lots of Vitamin A, having antioxidant properties and provide strength to our immune system.
Good for hairs: The Vitamin A of sprouts supports the growth of long and thick hairs by stimulating the hair follicles and making the scalp healthy. The zinc in sprouts activates the sebum production which helps in keeping the hairs hydrated and nourished. The presence of a B-Complex Vitamin- Biotin helps in growing healthy hairs.
Keeps your skin healthy: The antioxidants in sprouts fight with free radicals which otherwise damage our skin and other parts of our body. Sprouts help in the production of collagen by providing Vitamin C and this collagen helps in making skin young and healthy. The silica and omega-3 fatty acids are also present in sprouts which help in preventing acne and removing the toxins from skin.
Risk factors associated with sprouts intake
Although the intake of different sprouts on a regular basis is healthy for us for various reasons it is also associated with a risk factor. Consuming raw or partially cooked sprouts can result in food poisoning or infection in the body. The cause for this is the environmental condition required for sprouting. Seeds need a warm and humid environment for the sprouting process and it is the same as required by infectious microbes like E.coli and Salmonella to grow. These microbes are highly infectious that a very small amount of their intake in the body can cause diarrhea that too in just a few hours after intake.
Safety measures to avoid risk-
Below are the points one can follow while having sprouts in their meals to avoid any kind of infection.
Prefer buying the sprouts stored in chilled condition.
Store sprouts in the refrigerator to avoid microbial growth.
If buying from the market, check the physical appearance of sprouts. Microbial growth causes a kind of slimy appearance and can be avoided.
Handle the sprouts with clean hands to prevent any sort of contamination in them.
Before use, wash the sprouts with clean water but do not use soap or detergent.
Avoid using raw sprouts. You can go for boiled, cooked, or even roasted sprouts.
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