Though it may sound like a new trend, sprouted grains and other microgreens have been around for years. Initially, they became popular in the field of alternative medicine, and more recently among vegetarians/vegans, as well as those who want to adopt a healthy lifestyle. These are organic and natural products, and even if they look weird or have an unusual taste, they bring a lot health benefits.
What are germinated seeds and sprouts?
Germs are seeds that sprouted in water and have about 1-2 cm in size. Sprouts are seeds that sprout in water or in soil, which become microplants and can reach a size varying from 2 to 10 cm. If the seeds germinate in water, one can consume both the seeds and the plant, while case when germination took place in soil, only the plant is consumed, while the soil and the roots are thrown away or reused.
Due to the fact that germination process increases the amount of fiber in the seeds, they speed up digestion, ensure proper absorption of nutrients and help eliminate unwanted fat from the body.
What kind of germs and sprouts exist?
Germs and sprouts can be made from wheat, oats, Kamut grass, rye grass (usually cereals sprouts are used in the making of juice, because they are very difficult to digest), buckwheat, white and red quinoa, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, gulia, red and white cabbage, onions, garlic, curly cabbage, leek, mustard, dill, basil, cress, lettuce, arugula, carrot, white, red and black radish, peas, red, black and green lentils, chickpea, beans, clovers, alfalfa, etc.
Useful properties of germs and sprouts
Most germs and sprouts are living foods that contain significant amounts of vitamins A, E, C, vitamin B complex, minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, chromium, selenium, as well as chlorophyll. In addition, due to the high concentration of fiber, they help in combating constipation, reduce cholesterol and increase immunity.
Nutritionists believe that sprouts contain 100 times more enzymes than fresh fruits and vegetables. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for all body functions. The absorption of as many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids as possible provides the body with essential nutrients that determine the effective functioning of each process.
Other useful properties of germs and sprouts:
- are beneficial for digestive system;
- strengthen the immune system;
- are an important part of weight loss process;
- prevent cancer;
- improve blood circulation;
- help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases;
- helps the growth and development of the body;
- reduce the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy;
- help prevent cataracts;
- reduce the effects of allergic reactions or asthma.
Most germinated seeds can be grown at home using a ratio of 1/4 seeds to 3/4 of water, a glass jar with a wide neck, and a protective cap or a gauze. In stores specialized in the sale of dietary, environmental or raw-vegan products, one can buy germination kits, which will greatly facilitate the process. It is recommended not to use tap water and to replace it with cleaner source, like bottled and filtered water. Sprouts must be alive, fresh and green. In order to prolong their life, they can be stored for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
Germs and sprouts in children’s diet
Germs and sprouts are recommended to be a part of a child’s diet, after he actually tried this particular vegetable or cereal. In this case parents should take into account consulting a doctor.
Germs and sprouts are very rich in nutrients, but at the same time they may contain bacteria, such as e-coli, salmonella. Since children have a week immune system, some experts recommend boiling the sprouts in order to reduce the risk of infection. But in order to avoid the destruction of enzymes and vitamins and make the most of the nutrients, they are preferably eaten raw.
Therefore, the introduction of germs and sprouts in the diet of infants and children, in raw or boiled form, is left to the discretion of the parents and only after consulting a doctor.
Germs and sprouts on local market
In recent years, in Moldova, the consumption of germs and sprouts has become increasingly popular, generating the emergence of several local producers that offer these kind of products. An example is the brand Eco Verde, which produces green wheat juices, wheat, peas, red onions and alfalfa sprouts, the brand VerdeGo which offer healthy food with delivery services or Ador Plants, which offer arugula, radish, broccoli, mustard sprouts, as well as various mixes. In Chisinau, there are also several restaurants and cafes in which one can order salads and juices made on the basis of microgreens: Wheatgrass Bar, Organic Raw Cafe, etc.