Sprouts, a Living Food With Amazing Health Benefits

by Dr Mercola

If you struggle getting enough vegetables into your diet, try juicing, and add sprouts. Sprouts are exceptionally packed with nutrients, including antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free radical damage, so in terms of volume you can get away with eating far less.

The content of vitamins and essential fatty acids increase dramatically during the sprouting process. Sunflower seed and pea sprouts tend to top the list of all the seeds that you can sprout and are typically each about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables you can even harvest in your backyard garden.

The quality of the protein and the fiber content of beans, nuts, seeds and grains also improve when sprouted because minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, bind to protein, making them more bioavailable. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fats from other foods.

Sprouts support healthy cell regeneration, and have an alkalinizing effect on your body that is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic). Abundantly rich in oxygen, sprouts also help protect against viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment.

Sprouts are the ultimate locally-grown food, and can easily be grown in your own kitchen, so you know exactly what you’re eating. Another boon is their low cost. Sprouts-as-medicine.com is a good source for things relating to sprouts: their health benefits, recipes, and how to grow your own.

The British verticalveg.org is another. The latter gives helpful growing tips for each month of the year. One of the benefits of sprouts is that you can grow them year-round, even when it’s cold and dark. Easy Steps to Sprout Heaven teaches you how to grow your own sprouts, from start to finish. Some of the most commonly sprouted beans, nuts, seeds and grains include:

Broccoli: known to have anti-cancer properties, courtesy of the enzyme “sulforaphane”

Alfalfa: a significant dietry source of phytoestrogens. Also a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K

Wheat grass: high in Vitamins B, C, E and many minerals

Mung bean: good source of protein, fiber, vitamin C and A

Clover: significant source of isoflavones

Lentil sprouts: contain 26 percent protein, and can be eaten without cooking

Sunflower: contains, minerals, healthy fats, essential fatty acids, fiber, and phytosterols. It’s also one of the highest in protein

Pea shoots: good source of vitamins A, C and folic acid and one of the highest in protein

My Most Recommended Vegetables List

My recommended list of vegetables (below) provides a guide to the most nutritious vegetables, and those to limit due to their high carbohydrate content (think: starch is “hidden sugar”). Organic and locally grown vegetables are ideal for maximizing nutrition, limiting pesticide exposure, and increasing freshness. Avoid wilted vegetables, as they lose much of their nutritional value once they wilt.

Again, juicing is a great way to boost your vegetable intake. When you drink fresh-made green juice, it is almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes because they go straight into your system without having to be broken down.

Highly Recommended Vegetables

Asparagus

Escarole

Avocado, very high in healthy monounsaturated fat

Fennel

Beet greens

Green and red cabbage

Bok choy

Kale

Broccoli

Endive

Brussels sprouts

Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf

Cauliflower

Mustard greens

Celery

Onions

Chicory

Parsley

Chinese cabbage

Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot

Chives

Tomatoes

Collard greens

Turnips

Cucumbers

Spinach

Dandelion greens

Zucchini

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