Great reasons to sprout your own food

sprouts (Custom)

Although they can certainly help you look and feel great, there are some specific foods you can add to your diet to increase the health clout of every meal.
Sprouts are an alkalising, living food which continue to grow and gain vitamins after being harvested. Many illnesses including cancer have been linked to excess acidity in the body.
These superfoods are a rich source of antioxidants (minerals, vitamins and enzymes) which assist in protecting against this damage. Alfalfa sprouts are one of these ‘superfoods.’
Sprouts contain several essential nutrients and minerals that you won’t get from processed foods and even some fresh vegetables.
They are great to be eaten on their own, used in salads and stir-fry’s or juiced into a green drink.

Surprising benefits
* Research suggests that garlic that has begun to sprout may have more health benefits than fresh garlic.
* Sunflower seed sprouts can boost your fertility.
* Use sunflower sprouts to ease chest congestion.
* There can be many more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables.

Other key benefits of eating sprouts:
* Sprouts are natural sources of fibre.
* Sprouts are very low in calories.
* Sprouts contain healthy fats such as essential fatty acids.
* Eating sprouts increases your protein count.
* Sprouts contain many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B Complex, C and E.
* Sprouts can ward off viruses and kill off bacteria.
* Sprouts are inexpensive.
* Sprouts are the ultimate locally-grown food (when you grow them yourself you are helping the environment and ensuring that you are not getting unwanted pesticides, food additives, and other harmful chemicals).
Now that we now how good sprouts are for us, which are the best to sprout?
Try mung beans (the easiest to sprout), peas, soya beans (probably the most nutritious), barley, lentils, chickpeas, fenugreek and alfalfa.
To sprout your own seeds, do the following:
* Rinse seeds (or beans) thoroughly (use a sieve).
* Soak seeds overnight in water, and then rinse again.
* Drain and rinse with fresh water the next morning.
* Place the seeds in a sprouting bag or jar or a germinator and ensure that they are evenly spread out and not too cramped together (seeds should be damp, not wet).
* Place the jar or germinator in a well-lit spot, but away from direct sunlight and keep at room temperature.
* Rinse with fresh water twice daily to keep sprouts wet and clear of mould.
* Ensure sprouts never dry out, and repeat the process every day.
* After four to six days your sprouts are ready to harvest, rinse thoroughly with fresh water and serve immediately in salads, wraps, smoothies, juices, on breads or crackers, or just eat as a snack (sprouts can be kept refrigerated but for a maximum of only five days).
A word of caution: tomato, potato, rhubarb and aubergine sprouts should not be eaten as they can be poisonous. Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind, including alfalfa and mung bean sprouts.
* Information courtesy of qualified therapeutic massage therapist and member of the SA Natural Health Practitioners Board (SANHPB), Zelda Fourie.

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