A Happy, Healthy Family


An Intro. to Sprouted Grains

By now, you've probably heard about sprouted grains, and maybe you're even buying and eating them, but do you really know why? I know I was eating them for a while before I researched why they're good for us.

Here are the basics.

What are Sprouted Grains?
Let's start with the difference between whole and refined grains. Whole grains are foods like brown rice and whole wheat, which retain the entire grain (technically, the bran, germ, and endosperm) and, thus, the fiber and nutrients that are stripped in the milling process that creates refined grains like white flour and white rice.

Sprouted grains are whole grains that have started to sprout (think back to those science experiments from elementary school in which you put a seed in a Dixie cup and watched it sprout).

Why Should I Eat Them?
Our bodies have a difficult time digesting grains, but sprouted grains are easier to digest because they have a lower glycemic index. There is an enzyme released during the sprouting process that breaks down the proteins and carbohydrates in the grains so that your body doesn't have to do all of the work. When our bodies are able to digest foods more easily, we are able to absorb and, consequently, take advantage of more of the nutrients in the foods.

Sprouted grains are also a bit higher in iron and zinc than regular whole grains, which makes them even more beneficial to vegetarians, who really have to watch their diets to make sure they get enough plant-based sources of these nutrients.

Where Can I Find Them?
These days, you can find sprouted grain bread at most grocery stores (it will probably be in the freezer or refrigerated section because it usually doesn't contain nasty preservatives that make other breads shelf-stable). I've gotten sprouted grain rice at Trader Joe's, and some stores carry sprouted grain flour, pretzels, tortillas, and other items.

How Can I Learn More?
Click here for a summary of research on the benefits of sprouted grains.
Click here for more basic information on sprouted grains.

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