Grow your own health food!
There has been a great deal of research into the benefits of eating sprouting seeds – in particular whole wheat berries; peer reviewed laboratory experiments appear to show that these food products have a significant number of health benefits.
Most of us know and understand the many benefits of plant based foods – they are generally nutrient rich and an excellent source of energy. It makes sense then, that consuming the seeds of germinating plants will provide many health benefits. Germination causes rapid multiplication of nutrients when seeds are provided with the right growing conditions.
Most seeds are constructed in such a way as to be prevented from germinating until ideal conditions are achieved – meaning that some seeds remain viable for long periods. Wheat berries thought to be thousands of years old were found to be viable after their discovery in the pyramids of Egypt.
Benefits of sprouting wheat berries
Consumption of sprouting wheat berries provides a number of benefits – multiplication of the nutrients contained therein and neutralising of the powerful inhibitors maintaining viability of the seeds. These inhibitors include phytic acid – known to reduce absorption of a number of essential minerals.
Enzyme inhibitors will also be neutralised when the seed is sprouted or soaked correctly. Failure to neutralise the enzymes within the seed may cause the enzymes of our digestive tract to be neutralised, with a negative impact on overall health. Soaking does, however, produce beneficial plant enzymes in the early stages of growth that may be exhausted as the plant grows – consuming sprouted berries will ensure we receive the maximum benefit from these plant enzymes.It is essential to soak whole grains in an acidic solution prior to consumption in order to prevent the phytic acid binding the very minerals we need to consume – failure to follow this overnight soaking process may well result in mineral deficiency and increase the risk factors for the development of osteoporosis.
Germination of any plant causes a dramatic increase in the antioxidant properties of the plant. Studies have shown that, in particular, vitamin C and E content, along with beta-carotene content, increases as germination proceeds – even when the content of these compounds was negligible prior to the germination process.
There are many studies showing the great number of health benefits provided by antioxidants.
These compounds are known to reduce the risk of cancer as they reduce the effects of free radicals on DNA.
Buying your sprouting seeds
Sourcing your sprouting seeds may initially be quite difficult – they are not generally available at the local grocery store for example. Try to find organically grown seeds from a local supplier such as a grain farm or mill.
When sprouting your seeds it is probably wise to start with a small amount – one or two cups for example. Soak the seeds for at least twelve hours in a covered container after rinsing them well. Once the seeds have been soaked and drained they should be rinsed a couple of times each day.
The length of sprouting time will depend on the planned method of preparation and is very much an individual choice. Seeds that are to be dehydrated and cracked may only require sprouting for a couple of days at the most. Cracking the dehydrated seeds reduces cooking time and can be done by hand. These sprouted seeds can be used in a number of ways –
- Creamed wheat
- Added to soups and casseroles
- Added to vegetables to provide added flavour and texture
Sprouted wheat berries are an inexpensive way of adding variety, taste, and versatility to your diet, whilst, at the same time, providing a wide range of health benefits.