Sprouts: Benefits And Side Effects
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- TATA AIG Team
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Sprouts are rich in nutrients and minerals that assist with several health issues. These young plants are collected and consumed after germination. They come in various types and help improve digestion, maintain blood sugar levels and even prevent heart disease.
Sprouts are young plants that have been allowed to germinate and are consumed raw as young plants. They're available in a wide range of varieties and are very nutritious. For anyone asking, "Are sprouts good for your health?" in this blog, we'll break down their benefits and side effects to give you the whole picture.
Types Of Sprouts
The word "sprout" refers to the plant that springs from the seed after germination. They are often consumed raw and are available in many types. Here is a list of common sprout types and their benefits.
- Bean And Pea Sprouts: Some popular bean sprouts include lentil, garbanzo, adzuki, mung bean, green pea, soybean, black bean, kidney bean, and snow pea sprouts. These are not only flavourful but also filled with nutrients.
The mung bean sprout, called moong sprout or green gram sprout in India, is a popular superfood. It's got a variety of benefits, including improved digestion and eyesight, and it's also great for cardiovascular health.
*- Sprouted Grains: *This includes brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa and oat sprouts. These are known to be more nutritious than whole grains as the germination process breaks down some of the starch, which boosts its nutrient profile. They're rich in folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and protein.
The germination process also breaks down phytate, a form of phytic acid which decreases the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the body. Since they have less starch, they're also easier to digest when compared to whole grains.
- Vegetable Or Leafy Sprouts: These are radish, mustard green, clover, broccoli, beet, cress and fenugreek sprouts. These sprouts look like germinated seeds with a root and stem. The cotyledon stage begins as soon as the leaves appear.
Plants with one cotyledon leaf are called monocots, and plants with two are called dicots. These tender young plants are also called microgreens and are highly nutritious.
- Nut And Seed Sprouts: Sprouted nuts are untreated, raw nuts that are soaked in water until they germinate, usually overnight. Some typical nut and seed sprouts are almond, radish, alfalfa, pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seed sprouts. Most of them are soaked in water for 3 - 12 hours.
Since sprouting requires a humid environment, it can promote bacterial growth. It's generally recommended that you don't try to sprout nuts and seeds yourself.
Benefits of Eating Sprouts
Here are some common advantages of sprouts when they’re consumed:
1. They Are Extremely Nutritious
They are both low and calories and packed with nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, with their vitamin and mineral content varying based on the type of sprout.
Unlike non-sprouted plants, sprouts are richer in protein, folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamins C and K. Sprouts also contain higher levels of essential amino acids, with specific individual amino acids increasing by almost 30%.
Furthermore, foods made from sprouted beans were also more nutritious. For example, tofu made from sprouted soybeans contained 7 - 13% more protein, 12 - 24% less fat and 56 - 81% fewer antinutrients when compared to regular tofu and soy milk.
2. Helps To Control Blood Sugar Levels
Sprouts are great for managing blood sugar levels because sprouting reduces the total amount of carbs in sprouts. So consuming sprouted grains rather than whole grains could benefit patients with high blood sugar levels more.
Another adage is that it may help regulate the amylase enzyme - Which is used to break down and digest sugars in our bodies. So people with type 2 diabetes can consume sprouts to better control their blood sugar levels. However, more studies are needed to verify this.
If you're someone with type-2 diabetes, consider incorporating more sprouted foods into your diet alongside investing in a medical insurance plan.
3. Helps In Weight Control
Many studies show that sprouting helps increase protein content. This is especially beneficial for weight loss as they're easy to make and keep you full longer, which is an excellent deterrent for binge eating. Weight loss and weight maintenance are known moong sprouts benefits, and they're a prevalent type of sprout in India.
In addition to following a healthy lifestyle having a health insurance plan is the next best step for you to take. It can cover the expenses of regular doctor checkups that help detect diseases in their early stages. This makes them easier to treat and saves you from spending more on medical treatments.
4. They May Improve Digestion
Sprouted foods are easier to digest. For example, one of the green gram sprouts benefits is improved digestion. This is because the germination process increases their fibre content. For example, one study shows that sprouted grains contained 133% more fibre than non-sprouted grains. In another study, germinating beans until their sprouts were 5 mm long showed an increase in fibre content by 226%.
Furthermore, sprouting also reduces the gluten amount found in grains, which makes them easier to digest. This is especially beneficial for people with chronic gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
Overall sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables contain lower levels of antinutrients, making them easier to digest for the body to absorb.
5. Sprouts May Improve Heart Health
This is in part because they reduce blood cholesterol levels. Many animal studies on this show that they increase "good" HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and reduce "bad" LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.
When used in human trials, one study indicated that consuming 100 grams of fresh broccoli sprouts every day for a week decreased LDL and total cholesterol levels in men and increased HDL cholesterol levels in women.
While these results seem promising and highlight the advantages of sprouts, more research is needed before any firm conclusions can be made.
Are There Any Side Effects To Consuming Sprouts?
Sprouts have a short shelf life and must be consumed immediately. They also have been found to cause salmonella, E.Coli bacteria and virus attacks in the body. This is the case when low-quality sprouts are used.
Some people developed bouts of food poisoning and abdominal cramps when the sprouts they consumed were grown in unsanitary or under poor conditions. As stated, sprouts need humid environments to germinate. This, however, can also encourage bacterial growth, so you must exercise care when making them at home.
People with nut allergies should avoid sprouted nuts, which can trigger a reaction. In these cases, health insurance can be beneficial as it can cover recurring and emergency medical expenses.
Furthermore, sprouted nuts with high oil content should be stored in a cooler place to prevent them from going rancid. People with pre-existing conditions or autoimmune disorders are advised to consult their doctors before introducing sprouts into their diet.
Sprouts of any kind are highly nutritional and provide many benefits when consumed regularly. Based on the type of sprouts, these sprouts benefits can also vary. They're commonly consumed raw and are great additions to a balanced diet plan.
This, along with the benefits of health insurance plans from Tata AIG, will help you lead a healthier, fuller life.
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