Monday, June 17, 2013

Sprouts - A Mine of Nutrients


Friends it has been a very long time since I updated this blog. The reason is very simple; I am not an expert in nutrition. Whenever I find any article or information that strikes my mind or when I feel certain article helps people in building their health; I prefer to share with you in this blog. I started this blog to educate people about certain foods that are really nutritious but we ignore them due to lack of knowledge, ignorance or any other reason. While referring to one of the books written by Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju, I came across a very interesting article on a mine of nutrients called ‘sprouts’. So today’s update is all about sprout and its importance.

People following Dr. Raju certainly know lot about sprouts and their benefits as he has been spreading the benefits of sprouts for a very long time. This update on my blog is such an attempt from my behalf.

One of the readers Mr. Raj commenting on my update “Healthy Natural Way of Eating” in my blog ‘Natural Way of Living’, sought information on the quality, quantity and the type of food one has to consume during breakfast, lunch and dinner in detail. Today I am going to provide complete details about ‘sprouts – a mine of nutrients’ to be served in breakfast.

For people living in southern part of India like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamilnadu the regular breakfast involves puri, Idli, dosa, vada, upma, uttapam etc. with specially made chutney and sambar. Ask any south Indian, what he had in breakfast? He will name one or more of the items mentioned above. If you give any other thing apart from these he feels that he had skipped the breakfast that day. People often come to me seeking remedies for their growing weight. I always start with asking questions related to their diet pattern. On enquiring their food pattern they say, “These days I am not taking any breakfast you know? I have totally skipped my breakfast, I am taking little rice for lunch and 2 phulkas for dinner and I don’t understand why I am still putting on weight. You please teach us some asanas to reduce the weight.” I started working on a group of people suggesting same kind of asanas and same diet pattern. After 90 days, I noticed modest change in some people, drastic change in some and no change in some people. To my surprise, people who said they eat less are the one’s who had no change and in fact they put on more weight. Initially I was little surprised and confused as well. Then I enquired more about their eating pattern. I asked them; don’t you feel hungry when you skip your breakfast and having little quantity of Lunch? I was taken away by more surprise when they said they don’t feel hungry at all. I realized that they might be hiding some information due to shyness or they are not aware of their calories. I have a friend who has been practicing yoga for about 2 years now. His weight is more than 100 kilos and has no change in his weight. If anyone asks him, what kind of yoga you are doing man, you haven’t lost any weight all these years? He says that I can’t resist my appetite; I am practicing yoga for maintaining health and enjoying food for joy thereby balancing the act. I got an opportunity to stay with him for couple of days when we were been to a holiday spot. We were in a group and therefore we used to move together and eat together. I realized a very strange thing in him. He used to finish his plate of meals before others and used to look at them. One or the other members of the group used to offer from their share and if no one is responding then he used to grab and take some food from others. Sometimes we were so involved in enjoying the trip that we used to forget about breakfast, lunch or dinner. There were no restaurants nearby. I observed him stopping at every hawker on the roadside and eat whatever he used to find there. He has been doing this all along the day. He ate at least a dozen times in this way. In the evening we were all eagerly waiting for the dinner to get ready and this man was seen relaxed. When we returned back to Hyderabad, he immediately stepped out of the railway station and took us to the tiffin center nearby to have a breakfast. He finally had a sigh of relief on having his regular plate of idli and vada in breakfast.

This experience has helped me in understanding the eating pattern of those people. On enquiring the food pattern of those people thoroughly, they admitted eating biscuits, chocolates, fruits, sweets, snacks etc at least 6 times a day apart from lunch and dinner. We are so deeply conditioned we don’t accept any food apart from the above items as breakfast; we don’t accept any food apart from rice as lunch and dinner. We need to uncondition and recondition ourselves to change the deep rooted unhealthy eating habits to remain healthy and happy.

When I sacrificed non-vegetarian food and started eating sprouts in my breakfast, greens and veggies in lunch and dinner, people started calling me a grass eater and today I can say that I am proud to be a grass eater. Now let us go into the details of sprouts – a mine of nutrients.

Sprout – A Mine of Nutrients:

 

Sprout is the best food offered to a man by the nature with its most nutritious value. It has all types of vitamins and minerals. In short you can call this food a ‘mine of nutrients’ required by the body. It is a natural food full of life energy that enables you to lead a natural life. It has natural enzymes hidden inside. It is very difficult for a man to survive exclusively on fruits and vegetables but if he can eat sprouts plentifully, he doesn’t have to eat anything else, but lead a life without any ailment.


Seeds that get sprouts:

Wheat, barley, green gram, black gram or Bengal gram, malt, green peas, cow peas, groundnuts, beans etc.

        

Process of Sprouting:
  
Out of the above mentioned seeds I prefer to sprout green grams, black grams and cow peas for my breakfast. These are not only nutritious but also delicious to eat. Sprouting process is quite simple. Soak the grams in water for 8 hours. Rinse the grams couple of times in water and tie them up in a dry cloth and keep them thus for 15 hours in a plate. Then the seeds begin sprouting. The sprout will be roughly one inch in size. Let me elaborate it. Soak the sprouts in the morning, rinse and tie them up in a piece of cloth in the evening after 8 hours. Sprouts will be ready to eat by next morning. This is the traditional method of sprouting in India. However, sprout makers are readily available in market these days. The entire process is same. Instead of tying in a cloth you have to put it in the sprout making boxes.

     
Some important notes in sprouting:

1. Some times the seeds might not sprout (1 or 1.5 inches) as expected. You need to keep another 8 hours in the cloth or boxes for better results. If you happen to soak for more than 15 hours then you need to soak the sprouts in the evening instead of soaking in the morning as mentioned above.

2. If you eat less sprouted seeds then it might result in gas trouble and bloated stomach. Therefore you must make sure that they sprout approximately 1 inch in size.

3. If the sprouts are overgrown and roots are formed then it might be bitter in taste which you might not enjoy. Therefore make sure that it is neither under sprouted nor over sprouted.

4. Sometimes the sprout does not grow properly and might even stink. You need to choose good quality seeds for sprouting. The best way to check is to change the seeds and sprout. Try to buy the seeds from couple of other stores and check the difference. Most probably you will find a solution to this problem. Even if the problem continues it is not the cause of seeds. Instead you must understand that certain seeds do not sprout during a particular season. Don’t get disappointed and continue sprouting other kinds of seeds. In my experience I found green grams are best for sprouting in all seasons among others.

5. You need to take special care in sprouting wheat to avoid stinking smell. Soak wheat for 12 hours in water, rinse well and pour them into a plate and let them dry in a cool place for 8 hours. After that tie them up in a cloth and keep them aside for a day, you get long sprouts.

6. You can also soak groundnuts in water at night and eat in the morning. You don’t have to wait till they get sprouted.

7. Remember! If you wish to eat different sprouts in your breakfast, soak and sprout them separately. Do not mix them with one another. If you mix them they might not sprout well and if any of the sprouts stinks then all the sprouts have to be thrown.

How to eat sprouts and how much to eat:

  

Eating sprouts is a tricky and patient work. Some people complain that they feel hungry early after eating sprouts and as a result of which they eat other foods along with sprouts then on. The reason is very simple. Because of the time and effort it takes to chew they eat fewer sprouts which make them hungry and they start eating some other food along with sprouts. This is not a healthy practice. Then the question arises how much of sprouts one has to eat? There is no prescribed quantity as such. You can eat as much as you can. It is better to eat a larger quantity. As a beginner, one can increase the quantity gradually day by day. Initially you may experience gas trouble in your abdomen. Don’t you worry, it subsides in no time.

You can eat 2-3 varieties of sprouts per day. You should eat each variety separately. Should not mix everything together for the simple reason that some sprouts are big in size where some are small. For example, if you eat groundnuts and malt together, the groundnuts are big in size get grounded first in your mouth. The tongue tries to drive inside its paste. Along with the churned groundnut, the thin malt that gets stuck between the teeth while eating is driven in without proper chewing.

All the seeds have an outer skin. It prevents the entry of digestive juices into the seeds as a result they are not digested. Our body does not have the capacity to break the unbroken seeds and pulses. It can’t even break a tiny sesame seed if unbroken. If you don’t chew your seed food properly, they can’t be digested and comes out of the body along with stool. Body tries to digest it by releasing more gastric juices but can’t break it. Due to the release of gastric juices your abdomen gets irritated and you feel lot of trouble inside your stomach causing gases and burning sensation. For example, you might have noticed many people complaining stomach ache on eating guava. It happens because of the unbroken seeds of guava swallowed inside. Therefore, there is no point in eating sprouts or any other food that is not properly chewed. It is better to eat each variety separately and eat them taking ample time.

Health benefits of Sprouts:

1. If you compare the nutritious value of the sprouts with that of dry seeds, the value of the former is surprisingly more.

2.  At the time of sprouting, the percentage of vitamins, minerals and proteins in the seeds increase enormously. At the same time the carbohydrates reduce to a lower percentage.

3. There will be very little water content dry seeds. The water increases by 10% once they are soaked for sprouting. It results in the multiplication of nutrition in the seeds on sprouting.

4. Sprouts are considered as a mine for nutrients because they have more proteins that protect the body. During the process of sprouting, the carbohydrates are separately very minutely and these seeds absorb the nitrogen prevalent in the atmosphere around. Carbohydrates are now changed into amino acids that can be digested very easily. This is why the content of carbohydrate is reduced more in the sprouts than in dry seeds. So the proteins thus in the sprouts are more easily digested than the proteins we eat through other food items. The table given below shows you the difference in percentage of nutrition in sprouts against dry seeds.

Nutrients
Percentage Increased
Percentage Decreased
Water

8.3%
-
Energy ( Calories)

-
15%
Carbohydrate
-
9%
Proteins
30%

-
Calcium
34%
-

Potassium
80%
-

Sodium
690%
-

Iron
40%
-

Phosphor
56%
-

Vitamin
285%
-

Thiamin or B1 Vitamin
208%
-

Riboflavin or B2 Vitamin
515%
-

Niacin or B3 Vitamin
256%
                           -

Vitamin C
great extent
-


5. The sodium helps in quick digestion in stomach and small intestines. It also helps in driving out carbon dioxide in the body. Since the sodium content enormously increases in the sprouts, food can easily be digested.

6. Vitamin C content is very less in dry seeds and dry food. But when soaked in water for sprouting the same seeds absorb the atmospheric values increasing the percentage of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in defusing proteins quickly and hasten the movement of iron into blood from intestines.

7. Sprouts contain more fiber that enables free bowel movement.

8. You don’t feel thirsty while or after eating sprouts as they naturally contain more water in them.

This is it for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Keep watching the space for more updates.


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