Growing your own sprouts for health and self-sufficiency

February 16, 2009

Let us proceed from "hair growing" to "sprouts growing". Does this website have something for everyone or what?

Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritional of all foods that exist. Sprouts are rich with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes . Their nutritional value was discovered by the Chinese thousands of years ago. Over the past several years, in the U.S., numerous scientific studies have shown the importance of sprouts in a healthy diet.

Have you ever heard of a vegetable which continues to gain vitamins after you harvest it? Sprouts do this. Sprouts are LIVING foods. Even after you harvest your sprouts and refrigerate them, they will continue to grow slowly and their vitamin content will actually increase. Compare this with store-bought vegetables and fruits, which start losing their vitamin content as soon as they’re picked and often have to be shipped a thousand miles or more in the winter.

Broccoli sprouts fight cancer

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered that 3-day old broccoli sprouts have exceptionally high amounts of a natural cancer-fighting compound. For many years, scientists have known that vegetables in the cabbage family benefit health. Recently, they've been successful in drilling down further to uncover those benefits, and the reasons why eating such foods can reduce the risk of disease. Dr. Paul Talalay and his colleagues, researching this question for over 20 years, showed that some varieties of vegetables such as broccoli contain high amounts of a substance called 'sulforaphane' which helped support antioxidants, such as vitamins C and vitamin E .(1) This is another example of the synergy which we often find in nature.

Next, the researchers found when testing tender shoots of broccoli at the 3-day-old stage that they contained high amounts of a concentrated form of the cancer fighter, 20 to 50 times more than in mature brocoli. (2)

All that goodness will be sitting in my juicer soon! Yummy.

Why eat sprouts? There are many reasons. In addition to providing the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes of any food per unit of calorie, sprouts deliver them in a form which is easily assimilated and digested. In fact, sprouts improve the efficiency of digestion. Sprouts are also deliciously fresh and colourful.

With the current economic crisis, not to mention the fact that so much of our food supply is contaminated with pesticides and pollutants, it's nice to know you can grow your own sprouts in your home and become more self-sufficient.

Sprouting at home takes only a few moments a day and can produce a good portion of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and the freshness is wonderful. It is a very effective way to add raw foods to your diet. If you can supply a jar, some screen or netting, and rinse the sprouts twice a day, you can grow delicious organic sprouts in 4 to 6 days, even less time depending on your setup.

Growing your own sprouts means having fresh organic vegetables every day from a square foot of counter space. Common seeds for sprouting include alfalfa, fenugreek, peas, lentils, radish and red clover. Mung beans have been sprouted in Asia for thousands of years, but they require more equipment and time than other seeds. Other seeds include broccoli , cabbage, mustard seed, garbanzos, and quinoa.

Benefits of sprouting

Growing sprouts is economic. Seeds can multiply 8-15 times their weight. Depending on what you grow, you can get away with spending 25 cents for a pound of fresh sprouted indoor-grown organic greens.

Sprouts are nutritious. They are baby plants in their prime. They have a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals, proteins, enzymes , phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, nitrosamines, trace minerals, bioflavinoids and chemo-protectants such as sulphoraphane and isoflavone which work against toxins, resist cell mutation and invigorate the body's immune system than at any other point in the plant's life even when compared with the mature vegetable.

Sprouts you grow yourself in your own home are organic. No pesticides , fumigants or synthetic fertilizers. No chemicals.

Sprouts can be grown anytime anywhere . From Alaska to Florida, in January or June, enjoy LIVING food anytime, anywhere. I highly recommend the book " The Sprouting Book " by Ann Wigmore who was considered an authority on sprouting until she tragically died in a fire in 1993.

Growing your own sprouts in your home is easy and takes only a few minutes of care per day. Just add water. No special lights are required. 1 pound can grow in only 12 inches of space depending on how you are setup.

Sprouts are fresh, LIVING foods. No loss of nutrients sitting in warehouses or on grocery store's shelves.

Sprouts are easily digestible. Because they are baby plants, their delicate cell walls easily release elemental nutrients. Abundant enzymes make them easy to digest even for those with a weak digestion.

Growing sprouts offers you versatility. You can have more varieties of salad greens than on the grocery store shelves. Including buckwheat lettuce, baby sunflower, golden alfalfa, Chinese cabbage, purple turnip, curly kale, daikon radish, crimson clover, and more. Your salads will come alive.

Growing your own sprouts in your home is ecologically sound. No airplanes, fuel or oil was consumed to deliver this food to you. No synthetic fertilizers or petroleum-based pesticides .

In my opinion, one of the best sources of inexpensive kits to grow you own sprouts (as well as wheat grass and barley grass) is here .

Sprouting and safety

There have been a few recent news stories regarding salmonella contamination in sprouts. These have been combined with warnings from the Food and Drug Administration that sprouts could be contaminated with food poisoning bacteria and advising the very old, the very young, and those with compromised immune systems to avoid raw sprouts.

Most people knowledgeable in sprouting feel that these stories were far overblown because it made interesting news - it's the original "health food might be bad for you" story.

What can you do to be extra safe in your sprouting?

Use certified organic seeds. Organic certification assures that seeds have been grown and handled in a manner which helps minimize possible sources of contamination. Manure used on organic fields, for example, must be composted for a long period of time. Composting has been shown to reduce or eliminate pathogens in manure. Organic farmers are also required to use rodent/bird proof storage for seeds destined for consumption. Organic sprouting seeds have NOT been implicated in any outbreak of food poisoning. My favorite source for certified organic sprouting seeds is here as well as here .

Also refrigerate finished sprouts. Ideally you want to eat them right after you pick them. Those sprouts are still growing in your plate! Now that's "Fresh"!
Happy sprouting!

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(1) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2002:28;99(11):7610-7615

(2) Washington Post May 28, 2002; Page A04

Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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