Sprouted grains have moved from virtually unknown to trendy and available in your supermarket, farmers’ markets and bakeries. Are sprouted grains another trend that will fall flat and die a slow death, or do they have something to offer you nutritionally? Have you heard of sprouted grains and wonder what all the buzz is about? Read on …
The kernel is another name for the seed of the grain plant. A sprouted grain is the grain kernel or seed that has barely sprouted — where the new plant begins to just peek out of the seed. Research on the health benefits of sprouted grains is currently limited, as most studies have been done in test tubes or animals and need to be replicated in humans. But preliminary data suggests that sprouted grains may have some potential health benefits including:
- A low glycemic impact and possible blood glucose-lowering effect. In a recent study from the Journal of Nutrition Metabolism, researchers fed five kinds of bread (white bread, two multi-whole-grain breads, sourdough bread and sprouted grain bread) to overweight and obese men, and then measured blood glucose levels. The lowest glycemic impact was from the sprouted and sourdough breads, which could prove beneficial as we age and the potential for prediabetes and diabetes tends to skyrocket, affecting both women and men.
- An increase in the amount and/or bioavailability of fiber, the B vitamin folate and vitamin C in grains, as well as some micronutrients.
- May be easier for some people to digest.
- Certain sprouted grains (sprouted barley) may decrease blood pressure and protect again fatty liver disease (sprouted buckwheat).
These grains have a nutty, hearty flavor. You can find them in breads, tortillas and chips, cook sprouted grains such as barley or rice as side dishes, or bake with sprouted grain flours.
Finally, find sprouted grains and legumes in your supermarket or a natural products store.
Sprouted Rice and Lentil Salad with Fresh Herbs
We love the crunchy texture of this high-protein salad, which makes a satisfying vegan main dish or flavorful side.
Recipe developed by Regina Ragone MS, RDN
Makes 6 1-cup main dish servings
3 cups cooked, sprouted brown rice (cooked according to package directions)
2 cups cooked, sprouted lentils (cooked according to package directions)
⅓ cup roasted sunflower seeds
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¾ tsp salt
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey mustard
- Combine rice, lentil, sunflower seeds, cilantro, mint and ½ teaspoon salt in large bowl.
- In another bowl add lemon juice and slowly whisk in olive oil, mustard and remaining salt until slightly emulsified. Toss with salad and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.