Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sprouting Grains adds Health Benefits

While looking for some information to add to my monthly newsletter, I ran across an article about health benefit of sprouted grains.  I have seen a few products made with sprouted grains, but really had not paid attention.  They are not readily available in our area.  My curiosity was peaked, so I looked up some additional information about sprouted grains from the Whole Grains Council.
Grains are the seeds of certain plants, largely cereal grasses. Like all seeds, grain kernels are a marvel of nature, containing the potential of a whole new plant, patiently waiting its turn in the sun.  All three edible parts of the whole grain – the germ, endosperm, and bran – are crucial to creating the new plant. The germ is the plant embryo, which, when it grows, will feed on the starchy endosperm. The bran layers provide some additional nutrients and — along with the inedible husk found on many grains – help protect the grain seed until it’s ready to start the growth cycle.  This is why whole grains are healthier than refine grains.  Refine only contain the endosperm.

Until then, the seed counts on certain built-in growth inhibitors to keep it from germinating until temperature and moisture conditions are just right. Then, once sprouting starts, enzyme activity wipes out these growth inhibitors and transforms the long-term-storage starch of the endosperm to simpler molecules that are easily digested by the growing plant embryo.

Just as the baby plant finds these enzyme-activated simple molecules easier to digest, so too may some people. Proponents of sprouted grains claim that grains that have just begun sprouting – those that are straddling the line between a seed and a new plant offer all the goodness of whole grains, while being more readily digested.

What’s more, the sprouting process apparently increases the amount and bio-availability of some vitamins (notably Vitamin C) and minerals, making sprouted grains a potential nutrition powerhouse.

Until about a hundred years ago, humans harvested their grains, tied them into sheaves, and left them in the field until they were ready to thresh the grain. Inevitably, with this exposure to the weather, at least some of the grain would begin to sprout.
Sprouting grains increases many of the grains’ key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and essential amino acids often lacking in grains, such as lysine. Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic to those with grain protein sensitivities.

Consumers need to be cautious when purchasing sprouted grains as at this time no regulated definition of ‘sprouted grain.'

Watch for future posts on sprouting at home and using sprouted grains.

For a complete copy of the article from the Whole Grain Council

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