Sprouted Grains 101

Sprouted Grains 101

Wheat Germs Isolated on White Background

By Joni Garcia MS, RD, Contributing Blogger

I love scouring the supermarket aisles and checking out the newest products and food trends that pop up on store shelves. Lately, I’ve been noticing the influx of foods made with sprouted grains. I’ve been a fan of sprouted grain bread for a while, but dug in to learn why these foods have become so popular.

What Are Sprouted Grains?
Grains start out as seeds or kernels (think popcorn kernel). Under the right conditions, the seed will begin a new life cycle and spout, resembling grass. If the grain continues to grow, it will turn into a full-fledged plant. Foods made with sprouted grains use the seed right at the point where it begins to sprout. Other grain foods wait until the grain is tall and mature before using it.

Pros vs. Cons
When the seed of the grain begins to sprout, some of the starch from the seed is absorbed for energy. Vitamins and minerals (like B-vitamins, vitamin C, and iron) and protein within the seed also increase. Because of this, sprouted grains tend have higher amounts of these important nutrients. There’s also an increase in the seeds enzyme activity when it begins to sprout. This allows the grain to be more easily digested and nutrients to be more easily absorbed in our bodies.

However, although sprouted grains may be higher in protein and certain vitamins and minerals, other important nutrients may be lost during when processed into products we find on store shelves.

Bottom Line
Sprouted grains are whole grains and definitely a healthier choice over refined grains, like white bread. But considering some nutrients may be lost during processing, they may not be all that much better than 100% whole grain foods.

TELL ME: What’s your take on sprouted grains?

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