In the past decade people have become more aware of sprouting. The consumption of sprouts is gradually increasing, and people are becoming conscious of the relationship between diet and health.
There is also an increased accumulation of knowledge relating to the therapeutic properties of sprouted foods to improve immunity. Sprouting means to begin to grow or germinate; give off shoots or buds according to the Webster dictionary. Almost any seeds or beans can be sprouted, offering a wide variety of quick and easy food. The nutritional value is greatly enhanced as well. Even grains such as rice, barley or wheat can be sprouted to make bread. Whole-grain breads cannot match sprouted-grain breads nutritionally and they are delicious.
There are two steps in the process of sprouting. First, soak the seeds, beans or grains for several hours or more. Depending on the type of bean or seed, some outer shells may peel off. Second, set up a simple apparatus to allow sprouting, such as in a large mason jar. Average soaking and sprouting times are around a week or less. There are sprouting packages available online or at health food stores. Once sprouted, they are ready to eat and can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
The process of sprouting “activates enzymes in a dormant seed and triggers various enzymatic activities leading to the breakdown of stored protein, carbohydrates and lipids into simpler forms. During the process, the degradation of sugars, free amino acids, and organic acids is significantly increased. The processes ultimately increase the bioavailability of active compounds in sprout seeds. This bioavailability of active compounds source provides health benefits in prevention and treatment of various diseases.”
Benefits of sprouting:
- can be grown in any climate at any time of the year;
- can be grown indoors with minimal space;
- requires neither soil or sunshine, yet are still rich in vitamins and minerals;
- are a powerful source of antioxidants;
- can rival meat in nutritive value;
- are full of living enzymes;
- are a good source of essential fatty acids;
- are one of the highest sources of fiber; and
- have a low glycemic index and are low in calories.1
The process of sprouting or germinating seeds and receiving the full benefits for physical health are a parallel to our Christian walk with God. “The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a beautiful figure of Christian growth,” says E.G. White in “God’s Amazing Grace,” page 283. The seed is the life of Christ within us. That seed must peel off the outer shell, our own will has to be buried and broken; “Being born again” like Nicodemus so we can grow spiritually. For the spiritual life to happen, there is ongoing preparation that takes place every day, preparing our mind and heart to be receptive to God’s voice! Paul said, “Set your mind on Christ!” David said, “Create in me a pure heart!”
It is my prayer that as we daily spend more time in His Word and on our knees we not only know the physical benefits of sprouting but, most importantly, the spiritual germination that makes Jesus alive and shines through each of us.
Yin Schaff is Wisconsin Conference health director.