Sprouting 101

The Secrets Behind Germinated Foods

If you would like to incorporate more nutrients into your diet without additional supplementation, consider eating germinated foods. Aside from a discussion about science homework, ‘germination’ is not the most common topic of conversation at the dinner table. Perhaps it should be. Through my hunting and gathering of research on the world’s healthiest foods, I came across information about ‘germinated’ foods that is just too interesting to ignore.

So, what are germinated foods? Well, for those of you who eat raw, organic, and/or vegan, the term might be familiar. However, for newbies to clean eating, micronutrient superfoods and the like, eating anything ‘germinated’ probably equates with germs — not something we’d even consider picking up fully wrapped! And for those hypochondriacs — well you’re probably not reading this anyway.

You can call this Seed Nutrition 101. To sum up years of scientific research, germination (also referred to as “sprouted”), simply put, is the growth of an embryonic plant within a seed. When germination occurs, "anti-nutrients" are reduced and enzyme inhibitors are eliminated. That’s the complicated part…. it gets easier to understand. Ultimately, nutrients become available for your body to digest and absorb. This is known as bioavailability — the body’s ability to dissolve and absorb nutrients in the food we eat. When a seed germinates, it changes, thus creating an entirely new, bioavailable food source. Aha! Why eat the caterpillar when you can have the butterfly? Perhaps that is not the best analogy.

What germination/sprouting can achieve:

•   Vitamins and antioxidants can increase 1000%
•   Enzymes can increase up to 800%
•   The ratio of soluble to insoluble fibre improves
•   Cofactors and coenzymes are created to more effectively absorb and utilize essential fatty acids
•   Plant hormones in flax called lignans are increased by 14%
•   Sterols and stanols are increased
•   GABA and L-lysine in brown rice are increased
•   Sulforaphane is as much as 50 times higher in germinated broccoli seed

Simple Steps to Germinate/Sprout Yourself: DIY

Most seeds, legumes, grains and some nuts will germinate/sprout. Here are four simple steps to sprout your own.

1. Put 1-2cm of dried seeds at the bottom of a jar (the lid should have small holes), cover your seeds with water and soak for about twelve hours. You can use one type of seed or a mixture. The seeds will expand as they grow, depending on the type of seed.

2. Rinse your seeds in water at room temperature after twelve hours and drain the water through the holes in the lid, leaving the seeds damp.

3. Repeat the rinsing process at least once every 12 hours until the sprouts are ready — about 2 to 4 days.

4. Eat your sprouts immediately or store them in the fridge where they will keep for a few days. Enjoy!


Lisa Cantkier is a holistic nutritionist and lifelong celiac who specializes in food allergies and special diets.  For more information, visit her website LisaCantkier.com

Categories: Allergies & Special Diets