What is sprouting? Why do we sprout our grains and lentils?
In simple language, sprouting is nothing but the seeds that are germinated which turn into very young plants. This is done by soaking the grains for several hours. The soaked grains are then exposed to a certain temperature and moisture to allow them to shoot out. This process reduces the anti-nutrients from the grains and thereby increases the bioavailability of the nutrients to the body.
Few important benefits of Sprouting:
- Sprouting increases the nutrient content of the grains
- It makes the grains rich in proteins (since they contain higher levels of essential amino acids), folic acid, phosphorus, and vitamins C and K
- Sprouting changes the nutritional composition of a grain. It increases the fiber content of the grain and hence aids in digestion and helps control blood sugar levels
- It also improves heart health by helping in increasing the HDL levels “good cholesterol”, and decreasing the LDL levels “bad cholesterol”, triglycerides, and total cholesterol
- Sprouting supports cell regeneration and hence may protect the body against cancer
Rice is a staple food in a lot of countries and has gained popularity and is becoming a common household ingredient in many parts of the world. Basmati rice (also known as long-grain rice), is one of the most aromatic rice originating from India.
Here are some important features of Basmati rice:
- The most important benefit of rice is that it is Gluten-free
- The major advantage of Basmati Rice is that it is lower in arsenic (a heavy metal which is known to potentially increase the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and heart problems). Although brown rice is higher in fiber as compared to basmati rice, brown rice is known to have higher arsenic levels, since the arsenic accumulates in the outer bran layer
- Basmati Rice has a medium glycemic index (GI is 50-58), and therefore if combined with a lentil (GI is 32) or whole grain, it helps in lowering the GI index of the meal. (GI is a measure of the speed at which the carbs in food raise the blood glucose levels. Glycemic Index is ranking a food from 0 to 100, higher the GI the faster the sugar is released into the blood
- Basmati rice has all eight essential amino acids. If combined with a lentil or legume, it would make a complete first-class plant-based protein
- Basmati rice is low in sodium and contains no cholesterol
Mung Beans are a native to India and have gained popularity all over the world because it is packed with rich nutrients. Sprouting of Mung Beans increases the free amino acids and also the antioxidant levels of the bean. Antioxidants help in removing the free radicals, which are the potentially harmful molecules.
- Mung Beans are gluten-free and also have anti-inflammatory properties
- Mung Beans are rich in plant-based proteins. Each cup (7 ounces) contains 14g of proteins
- Being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber mung beans may help reduce blood pressure
- Being high in fiber and protein, it slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, thereby helping in keeping the blood sugar levels under control. This also helps curb hunger, which in turn aids in weight loss
- It helps in reducing the risk of heart disease by helping in lowering the LDL “bad” cholesterol
Quinoa technically speaking is a seed from a flowering plant. However, since it is so nutrient-dense, it is used and eaten like a grain.
There are so many benefits of Quinoa and here are a few most important ones:
- Quinoa is naturally gluten-free
- It is one of the very few sources of first-class plant-based protein, which means that they contain all the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. Each cup contains 8g of complete plant-based proteins
- It is very rich in dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals
- Quinoa contains plant antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer, anti-viral properties. Sprouting of quinoa increases these antioxidant levels even further
- Quinoa has a low glycemic index (53) which makes it a great food for diabetics. Being a rich source of dietary fiber and proteins, along with a low glycemic index, it is an ideal food choice which can help in weight-loss
Pearl Millet (Bajra)
Pearl Millet is an ancient grain and has a slightly nutty taste, but overall a very mild flavor. It can therefore easily absorb all the characteristics of the spices and flavors around it.
Millet used to be part of a daily diet in India and here are some obvious reasons why:
- Millet is highly nutritious, high in fiber and gluten-free
- Being high in insoluble fiber, aids in digestion. It is high in iron and folic acid and therefore helps in increasing hemoglobin levels in the blood
- It is also a rich source of calcium and phosphorous which is an important mineral which supports bone growth and development in young children
- Being low in glycemic index (54), it is an excellent grain for diabetics and for weight loss
- Millet is rich in antioxidants and so protects the body from harmful oxidative stress
Lentils have always been an integral part of the Indian diet and are now also gaining popularity in the western world, especially because of their high protein content.
There are so many benefits of consuming lentils and here a few important ones:
- Lentils are gluten-free and a rich source of plant-based proteins
- They are great meat alternatives since they are made up of over 25% proteins. Each cup of cooked lentils (198 grams) provides 18 grams of proteins
- Lentils are high in polyphenols. Polyphenols are active compounds that fight against the harmful agents and free radicals in the body
- They are a very good source of iron and folic acid. Iron helps in pumping oxygen from the blood throughout your body. Folic acid is an important nutrient required for fetal health during pregnancy, and also supports healthy hair growth and supports heart health
- Lentils may also help in reducing blood pressure and support heart health. Being a rich source of fiber, lentils keep you full longer and therefore helps in weight loss and keeping blood sugar levels steady