What are the Benefits of Sprouting and Soaking?

Whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are a healthy addition to any diet. But you can make them even more nutritious by the simple process of soaking and sprouting them beforehand. The benefits of sprouting will make you want to add them to your plate and start sprouting at home.

Sprouting 101

Sprouts can be a super healthy addition to any meal, and they taste great. Although sprouting is a simple process, you need to use the correct technique to extract all that goodness. Sprouting is a natural process where seeds put out shoots or germinate. By soaking seeds and grains and allowing them to sprout, you can get the most nutrients from your food.

A Guide to Soaking and Sprouting with Registered Dietitian

You can soak and sprout beans, nuts, seeds, and grains. Soaking is the initial step before sprouting. In this stage, the legumes or seeds germinate. This allows the outer shell to soften and the spouts to grow. 

The next stage is to sprout your grains. This is when the little tail starts to protrude from the grain. As you begin to sprout, the tail will get longer, which means your grain is growing. The process of sprouting is complete when the seeds have a tail or they have sprouted greens. 

What is Phytic Acid?

Phytate is a form of phytic acid. Usually, phytic acid hinders the absorption of vitamins and minerals into the body. The germination process breaks down phytic acid, increasing the available nutrients in sprouted grains. This is one of the reasons why sprouting is so popular.

5 Benefits of Sprouting and Soaking

If you’re looking for new hobbies to do at home, sprouting should be at the top of your list. The process of sprouting unlocks so much goodness inside seeds and grains.

Soaking chickpeas in water to ferment cereals and neutralize phytic acid to get the benefits of sprouting.
The Process Of Sprouting Unlocks So Much Goodness Inside Seeds And Grains (Image Source: Shutterstock)

1. Increase Nutrient Availability

When you sprout foods, it increases the nutrient content. Sprouted grains and seeds have higher levels of vitamin C and B vitamins. Getting nutrients from veggies is a super important part of eating a healthy and balanced diet. Eating sprouted foods allows you to eat the whole grain raw and get all those nutritional benefits.

2. Easier to Digest

Another one of the benefits of sprouting is that it neutralizes enzyme inhibitors. When you neutralize these enzyme inhibitors, it unlocks the true nutrient potential and makes the foods easier to digest. Enzymes in the digestive tract play a key role in breaking down the food you eat. In turn, this helps to speed up the body’s chemical processes that allow you to absorb nutrients from food.

Woman against a pink background touches tummy showing good digestion.
Enzymes In The Digestive Tract Play A Key Role In Breaking Down The Food You Eat (Image Source: Shutterstock)

3. Decrease Phytic Acid

Although phytic acid isn’t harmful to humans, it does affect the absorption of nutrients during digestion. Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, which would otherwise decrease nutrient absorption. In particular, it affects the absorption of copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. When you soak these foods, it allows the breakdown of phytic acid.

4. Boost Fiber Content

Research shows that, when you sprout seeds, it increases the amount of fiber. One study found that grains left to sprout for five days contained 133% more fiber than unsprouted grains. Sprouting appears to increase the amount of insoluble fiber in grains. Fiber is crucial for a healthy gut, regular bowel movements, and keeping you feeling fuller for longer.  

Chickpea soaked in water in a glass bowl.
Sprouting Appears To Increase The Amount Of Insoluble Fiber In Grains (Image Source: Shutterstock)

5. Improve Blood Circulation

Who knew that sprouting foods had benefits for your blood? Eating sprouted foods can help improve your blood circulation. This is because sprouts contain good levels of iron and copper. These are essential nutrients for maintaining healthy red blood cells and supplying oxygen throughout your body.

How to Sprout Grains, Nuts, and Seeds

You’ve probably heard of bean sprouts, but you can sprout many types of food like wheat, lentils, broccoli seeds, and pinto beans. On average, it takes between three to seven days to germinate, depending on the conditions and type of seed you’re sprouting. Sprouting requires two stages: soaking and sprouting. Here’s what you need to do to start sprouting:

Step 1: Soaking

The soaking stage is straightforward. Depending on the type of seed, nut, bean, or grain, the soaking time will vary. To soak foods, you need to:

Soaking green peas cereal in a water to ferment.
Depending On The Type Of Seed, Nut, Bean, Or Grain, The Soaking Time Will Vary (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  1. Soak your seed, nut, bean, or grain in water. Use double the amount of water to food, as it will absorb the water a little. Leave your food to soak in a jar or bowl at room temperature. Depending on what you want to sprout, you will need to soak from two hours to one day. 
  2. Drain the water, and you can cook or eat your soaked food as normal. After soaking, you can eat it, or you can begin the sprouting process. 

Step 2: Sprouting

After you finish soaking, you will sprout your grain, nut, seed, or bean. In general, this process takes a few days. Because sprouting foods can be vulnerable to contamination, you must wash your hands, equipment, and all surfaces before starting the process. It’s a good idea to buy fresh organic produce for sprouting.

How to Sprout Anything

If you’re new to sprouting, start with mung beans, lentils, or sunflower seeds. These are some of the easiest to sprout. Here’s what you need to do to start: 

  1. Soak your nut, seed, grain, or bean in water as per the instructions above. 
  2. Next, drain the liquid and fill your jar back up with water. 
  3. Continue to repeat step two at least twice a day, refilling with fresh water.  
  4. After one to four days, you should see sprouting, depending on the type of food. 
  5. Store in the fridge and eat within two to three days. Use with salads, smoothies, and sandwiches.

Foods for Good Digestion: Using Sprouted Nuts, Seeds, and Grains  

If you’re looking for foods for good digestion, look no further. Sprouts tend to contain higher amounts of insoluble fiber, which is great for easing digestion and preventing constipation. This type of fiber acts as a prebiotic that feeds the “good” bacteria in your gut. 

A healthy gut is an important part of overall well-being and weight loss. You can access the benefits of sprouting and support a healthy gut. On top of a healthy and varied diet, drinking water to lose weight is part of a sustainable weight loss program. 

You can soak and sprout your favorite grains at home. Mix up your go-to salad with a handful of sprouted grains and start reaping the benefits.