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Sprouts for your health

Posted May 15 2009 12:32am

I always have easy to grow sprouts growing on my kitchen windowsill. We like to eat these with sandwiches, salads and whatever. One of my favourite spouts to grow is garden cress. Lovely in salads and sandwiches.

What you see here is my usual selection- alfalfa mixed with a little of another seed mixture which has some strong tasting sprouts like mustard, radish and lentils:

My sprouting kit has different layers and on the top I grow garden cress (tuinkers). Place a layer of cotton wool which is wet and sprinkle garden cress on it. This grows really well and just make sure the cotton stays wet.

The other seeds need a soaking in water before they are placed in the trays. I leave them in water for a few hours, and then place them in the tray and give them a short rinse.

As they continue to grow I rinse them everyday, or sometimes twice a day until they are long enough to store. I do this in the fridge in a closed container. I also give them a good rinse when I take them out of the fridge.

I found this article about sprouts and why they are healthy:

Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritional of all foods that exist. Sprouts are rich with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. Their nutritional value was discovered by the Chinese thousands of years ago. Recently, in the U.S., numerous scientific studies have shown the importance of sprouts in a healthy diet.
Have you ever heard of a vegetable which continues to gain vitamins after you harvest it? Sprouts do this. Sprouts are LIVING foods. Even after you harvest your sprouts and refrigerate them, they will continue to grow slowly and their vitamin content will actually increase. Compare this with store-bought vegetables and fruits, which start losing their vitamin content as soon as they’re picked and often have to be shipped a thousand miles or more in the winter.

Broccoli sprouts fight cancer:
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered that 3-day old broccoli sprouts have exceptionally high amounts of a natural cancer-fighting compound. For many years, scientists have known that vegetables in the cabbage family benefit health. Recently, they've been successful in drilling down further to uncover those benefits, and the reasons why eating such foods can reduce the risk of disease. Dr. Paul Talalay and his colleagues, researching this question for over 20 years, showed that some varieties of vegetables such as broccoli contain high amounts of a substance called 'sulforaphane' which helped support antioxidants, such as vitamins C and vitamin E. This is another example of the synergy which we often find in nature.
Next, the researchers found when testing tender shoots of broccoli at the 3-day-old stage that they contained high amounts of a concentrated form of the cancer fighter, 20 to 50 times more than in mature brocoli.
Why eat sprouts? There are many reasons. In addition to providing the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes of any food per unit of calorie, sprouts deliver them in a form which is easily assimilated and digested. In fact, sprouts improve the efficiency of digestion. Sprouts are also deliciously fresh and colourful.
Sprouting at home takes only a few moments a day and can produce a good portion of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and the freshness is wonderful. It is a very effective way to add raw foods to your diet. If you can supply a jar, some screen or netting, and rinse the sprouts twice a day, you can grow delicious organic sprouts in 4 to 6 days, even less time depending on your setup.
Growing your own sprouts means having fresh organic vegetables every day from a square foot of counter space. Common seeds for sprouting include alfalfa, fenugreek, peas, lentils, radish and red clover. Mung beans have been sprouted in Asia for thousands of years, but they require more equipment and time than other seeds. Other seeds include broccoli, cabbage, mustard seed, garbanzos, and quinoa.

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