Posted by Starwest Botanicals on 27th Jul 2022
There’s no question that a nutritious diet is a major factor in overall health. If you’re looking for a natural boost on your wellness journey, sprouts (edible, germinated seeds with shoots) are a unique culinary option that can support a healthy lifestyle.
What are the health benefits of sprouts?
We’ll cover everything from gastrointestinal health to blood pressure support, as well as the possible risks of consuming improperly prepared sprouts. Read on to join us as we explore how organic sprouting seeds can contribute to a sustainable wellness routine.
Sprouts: Benefits and What To Know
If you’re not already familiar with these miniature organic seedlings, we’re here to help.
Sprouts are germinated seeds. This means they’ve begun the process of growing into plants, but they aren’t fully grown. Actually, sprouted seeds would turn into standard plants, flowers, and herbs if not for a few key details:
- Water only – Sprouts don’t develop in soil. Instead, after the germination process begins, sprouted seeds are transferred to water to continue developing.
- Short growth time – Most sprouts reach maturity within about a week. After the sprouting process, sprouts are removed from water, dried, and stored.
- Short shelf life – Sprouts are living organic plant life. That means they will begin to decompose if not used quickly. The clear signs of sprout deterioration include a lingering smell, browning, or wilting.
Sprouts come in many different forms, including bean sprouts, vegetable sprouts, nut sprouts, and even sprouted grains. Today, they’re available in grocery aisles, health food stores, and even online. You can also easily find microgreens at these locations. While many think that these micronutrient plants are the same thing, there are actually many differences to consider between microgreens vs sprouts. If you do not want to purchase these in-store, you can also learn how to grow sprouts and microgreens at home for maximum taste and freshness.
#1 Gut Health and Digestion
You want everything you eat to go down smoothly. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. That’s where sprouts come in. Sprouts can provide gastrointestinal support by:
- Providing fiber – A carbohydrate typically found in plants, your body cannot completely digest fiber. This is actually to your benefit. Fiber works to keep gastrointestinal processes running smoothly, relieving constipation and discomfort.1 Sprouts are also high in fiber, which can aid digestion and bowel movements.
- Encouraging healthy weight – Sprouts may be low in caloric content, but they’re full of macronutrients that can leave you feeling satisfied. For those interested in healthy eating and maintaining a healthy weight, sprouts can provide a simple snack and dietary addition for crafting filling and enjoyable meals.
- Prebiotic qualities – You may have heard of probiotics—the yeast and good bacteria required for a healthy gut. Prebiotics act as a food source for that healthy bacteria, providing the nutrients and energy for digestive yeasts to thrive and function properly.2
#2 Detoxifying Qualities
Unhealthy foods, alcohol, and airborne pollutants can have seriously unpleasant effects on our health. Sprouts could provide your body with a much-need detox, which could help you purge your system of toxins, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
If you’re hoping for an all-organic detox, sprouts can help with the following issues:
- Fatigue – Sprouts can provide energy for days when you’re feeling slow and sluggish. Getting over a long night of heavy foods? Perhaps a sprout smoothie could help you feel like yourself again.
- Inflammation – Some sprout variants are known for containing high levels of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, a necessary nutrient known for its anti-inflammatory properties.3
- Sugar levels – A serving of sprouts contains less than a gram of sugar. While a little sweetness is nice on occasion, high levels of sugar can cause a physical crash, bloating, and discomfort. Swapping out sugary snacks for sprouts could help refresh your body and lower your overall sugar intake.
#3 Heart Health Support
Cardiovascular complications are a major risk for millions of Americans, and heart health is a critical component of overall wellness.4 Getting active, managing stress, and healthy eating are all key factors for keeping your heart in great shape.
To lead a heart-smart lifestyle, consider adding sprouts to your next meal. Why sprouts? Sprouts offer a variety of heart health benefits well worth investigating, including:
- Added potassium – This essential mineral is often associated with muscle and nerve health.5 Your heart is a massive muscle itself, and your potassium levels could play a role in keeping it beating regularly. Sprouts offer a great source of potassium for those looking to expand their dietary intake.
- Cholesterol management – Studies may suggest that sprouts have a complementary relationship to cholesterol.6 While consuming sprouts is not a substitute for medication, they may have a positive effect on your cholesterol levels.
- Folate source – The natural form of vitamin B9, folate has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.7 Adults are encouraged to consume folate daily, and sprouts are an easy way to add a little more into your diet.
#4 Immune System Support
Fighting back against viruses and bacteria is our immune system’s main job. Healthy lifestyle choices can have a major effect on your immune system's overall strength, and sprouts are just one part of the picture.
Sprouts can contribute to a strong immune system by providing the following:
- Sulforaphane – Our immune systems require several biochemicals to function at their peak. Sulforaphane is one of those essential biochemicals, known for its relationship to antioxidants and general immune health.8 It also happens to be found in a variety of edible sprouts such as broccoli sprouts.
- Magnesium – Sprouts are well known for their rich mineral content, including magnesium. This mineral is correlated with immune health, offering support to your cells for fighting back against germs and pathogens.9
- Calcium – Looking for some calcium? Sprouts could be a great source. You might already associate calcium with bone and teeth health, but did you know that calcium may also play a prominent role in regulating your immune system? Studies suggest that calcium can help your immune system’s response to invasive organisms.10
#5 Bone and Blood Health
What’s more fundamental than bones and blood? Our skeletal and circulatory systems connect to every part of our body, providing the blueprint for our total health.
Curious how a serving of sprouts could impact your bone and blood health? Consider the following:
- Source of protein – The building blocks of life, protein is vital for developing and maintaining biological function. From repairing your bones and muscles to growing your hair and fingernails, your body uses protein throughout your body for a range of essential processes.11 Sprouts can provide an extra boost of protein to your diet. (A little can go a long way.)
- Variety of micronutrients – They may be called micro, but they’re essential to ensure your body is functioning properly. Sprouts contain micronutrients, including magnesium and phosphorus, and they can contribute to blood health, energy, and nerve function.12
- Blood pressure support – Due to their low carbohydrate level, sprouts may be a helpful food for regulating blood pressure and lowering blood sugar.13 The fiber content of sprouts may also contribute to blood sugar management and blood health, in addition to the aforementioned dietary benefits.
Potential Health Risks
When correctly cultivated, stored, and prepared, sprouts are a healthy treat that can expand culinary experiences. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sprouts can pose a health risk if proper care isn’t taken during germination, transportation, or prepping.
Like all food, there’s a proper way to enjoy and benefit from sprouts. So long as you take proper precautions, sprouts shouldn’t pose a problem. Consider the following advice for avoiding any health risks when growing sprouts on your own:
- Wash thoroughly – All produce requires adequate washing to remove organic matter, potential pesticides, and bacteria. Wash your sprouts every chance you get—as seeds, while growing, and before consuming. Additionally, sanitize all surfaces and containers when preparing sprouts at home.
- Maintain ideal growing conditions – Ensure your growing sprouts are continually rinsed and stirred. If the seeds are left to clump in stagnant water, bacteria could build up quickly and contaminate the entire batch of sprouts.
- Implement proper storage and disposal – Once you’ve harvested your sprouts, place them in an air-tight container. This will keep them out of contact with airborne contaminants. Additionally, sprouts should be refrigerated immediately after harvesting and checked regularly. Sprouts can go bad quickly, so keep an eye out for any discoloration or mold.
Additionally, if you’re purchasing pre-grown sprouts, take the time to look over the exterior surface of the sprouts for signs of bacteria. Consider inquiring about when and how the sprouts were grown. If you have any suspicions, consider leaving any questionable sprouts off your plate.
Find Your Next Sprout at Starwest Botanicals
There’s no single dietary solution for good health. That said, adding sprouts to your diet may provide amazing health benefits, a wellness boost, and a long-term positive impact. Curious about the best way to find sprouts? Explore Starwest Botanicals to discover a range of sprouting seeds that includes alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, mung bean sprouts, radish sprouts, and more. They’re certified organic and sold with full transparency.
At Starwest Botanicals, we take health seriously. That’s why we’ve spent more than 40 years building a community of wholesalers committed to quality and customer satisfaction. Today, we’re proud to offer a wide range of products—from sprouting seeds to natural body care—designed to keep you feeling your best.
1Mayo Clinic. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
2WebMD. Prebiotics. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/prebiotics-overview
3WebMD. Beta-Carotene - Uses, Side Effects, and More. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-999/beta-carotene
4Health.gov. Keep Your Heart Healthy. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/health-conditions/heart-health/keep-your-heart-healthy
5Medline Plus. Can potassium help your heart?. https://magazine.medlineplus.gov/article/can-potassium-help-your-heart
6WebMD. Sprouts: Are They Good for You? https://www.webmd.com/diet/sprouts-good-for-you
7WebMD. Folic Acid for Your Heart. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20021122/folic-acid-for-your-heart
8Cleveland Clinic. What Are the Health Benefits (and Risks) of Eating Raw Sprouts? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-are-the-health-benefits-and-risks-of-eating-sprouts/
9Science Daily. Magnesium is essential for the immune system, including in the fight against cancer. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220119121455.htm
10Science Daily. Calcium signals balance the body's response to infection against potential for self-attack. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160531130505.htm
11Medline Plus. Protein in diet. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm
12Men’s Journal. Small But Mighty: Why You Should Be Eating Sprouts. https://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-sprouts-and-microgreens/
13Nutrients. Edible Plant Sprouts: Health Benefits, Trends, and Opportunities for Novel Exploration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8398379/
14CNBC. A doctor shares the 5 ‘magical superfoods’ she always adds to her diet ‘for a strong immune system’. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/05/doctor-shares-best-superfoods-she-includes-in-her-diet-for-a-strong-healthy-immune-system.html