As kids, one of the most fascinating science experiment for us was soaking chickpeas in water overnight to see them sprout little roots in the morning. Back then, this whole experiment was just fun for us and we were unaware of the range of nutritional benefits that these little sprouts offered. But now that we’ve grown up and are trying to live a more conscious life, health-wise (or so we hope), we cannot get enough of these little delicious seeds of nourishment.
Sprouts are basically legumes that have been germinated and then consumed raw. These seeds are soaked in water for a certain period of time leading to germination which causes the outer layers to tear open and allows the young shoot to blossom. While it may look like a simple process, there is a certain technique and process that needs to be followed to extract the maximum benefit from these tiny packets of goodness. So here are some benefits of sprouts you need to know - for your hair, skin and general overall health. If these don’t force you to eat more of them, we don’t know what will.
Sprouting is beneficial because it enhances the nutritional benefits of the grains, legumes or beans that you’ve chosen. The sprouts contain a great number of nutrients like vitamin E, potassium, iron, antioxidants, bioflavonoids and protein. Other nutrients like folic acid, zinc, copper and magnesium are also present in them, which are extremely beneficial for hair and skin.
It is true, however, that the process of sprouting increases the nutrient value of these sprouts, making it richer in protein, folate, magnesium, manganese and vitamin C and K than their unsprouted counterparts. In fact, sprouting is believed to increase the levels of essential amino acids by as much as 30%. The proteins in sprouts can also be easier to digest once the seeds germinate due to the reduction in the number of anti-nutrients present in them. These anti-nutrients are what make it difficult for the body to absorb plant nutrients. That’s why sprouting is such a healthy process and a must-have in your diet.
The thing about these seeds is that if they’re eaten without the germination process, the chemicals present in them bind the nutrients and interfere with digestion. These chemicals then cause problems like stomach ache and indigestion. But once they’re sprouted, they’re free from these chemicals making it easier on the body to process the nutrients. That’s why people with chronic digestive problems are advised to consume more sprouts.
When it comes to weight loss, sprouts are a lifesaver. Even with the high nutritional content, they have negligible calories. This means that you can consume large quantities of sprouts without worrying about the weighing scale. Additionally, the high content of fibre in these sprouts keeps you full for a longer period of time and inhibits the release of ghrelin - a hormone that causes hunger and forces you to eat more.
A huge benefit that the consumption of sprouts offers is a better immune system. With high levels of vitamin C content, sprouts make for powerful stimulants for the white blood cells in the body which are responsible for fighting off diseases and infections, ultimately helping strengthen your immune system. The presence of vitamin A in abundance also helps build the immune system with all the antioxidants they offer.
A deficiency of vitamin A has been associated with poor eyesight. Since these sprouts contain high levels of vitamin A, they have been known to help improve vision and eyesight if consumed regularly.
The health benefits of sprouts are never-ending. The omega acids present in these wondrous little packets of goodness help boost the good cholesterol levels in your body and reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol in your blood vessels. Not only that, omega acids have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce excessive stress on your cardiovascular system. Even the presence of potassium lowers the blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems further.
For our body, sprouts are alkalizing in nature. Due to this, they help regulate and maintain the pH levels of the body by reducing the level of acids present. Since acidity is responsible for many illnesses in the body, including cancer, making sprouts a regular part of your diet will help reduce the risk of these diseases.
With a high content of Vitamin A, C and K, sprouts promote healthy hair growth. The vitamin C in sprouts destroy the production of free radicals in the body that are responsible for making your hair weak and brittle while vitamin A stimulates hair follicles and promotes hair growth. A deficiency of vitamin A can lead to dry scalp, roots and strands which ultimately leads to hair loss. This is why regular consumption of sprouts also help prevent hair disorders that cause hair loss like alopecia, hirsutism and sometimes even male pattern baldness. As for vitamin K, it is a fat-soluble vitamin which builds protein and it helps in maintaining stronger roots and strands since hair is essentially made of protein.
One of the secrets of getting long and healthy hair is to have good blood circulation and that is exactly what sprouts do. By boosting blood circulation, sprouts help maintain your red blood cell count by increasing the amount of iron and copper in the body. These superfoods also help generate new blood vessels by increasing the flow to the scalp and hair follicles.
A huge reason for premature greying of hair is because of oxidation of tissue. The number of antioxidants present in these little seeds prevent the corrosion of tissues over time and help reduce the possibility of premature hair greying.
Iron in the bloodstream is responsible for carrying oxygen to all the organs of the body including the scalp, roots and tresses. Without iron, the hair is starved of oxygen and tends to weaken and fall out. Zinc is responsible for sebum production in the scalp. This sebum ensures that the scalp, roots and hair strands stay hydrated and it also assists in faster regeneration of scalp cells.
Sprouts contain selenium which helps to kill Malassezia which is a fungus that sheds dry fragments from the scalp. Also, to encourage new hair growth, sprouts help ward off dandruff and remove debris which in turn, alleviates itchy scalp.
Hormonal imbalance is a huge reason for hair loss in women especially for those with PCOS. Sprouts help correct that balance which restores the vibrancy and strength of the hair.
We’re sure you’ve heard of the importance of Omega Acid and Biotin in maintaining the shine and elasticity of your hair. Sprouts, with their nutritional qualities, provide ample amounts of both the nutrients to the hair follicles which helps reverse any hair loss and also adds inches to your current length.
We’re almost tired of raving about the nutritional benefits of sprouts, almost. The secret to healthy skin is what you consume. It’s important to remember that what you put in your body is what your skin reflects. With sprouts, you’re eating healthy and putting in a lot of much-needed nutrients making your skin glow.
We’ve talked about free radicals and how they harm your hair but let’s talk about your skin now. Free radicals are produced in the body by constant exposure to both sunlight and pollution. As mentioned before, the antioxidants in sprouts drastically reduce the production of free radicals and protect you from skin cancer.
Sprouts boost healing and rejuvenation of the skin. This process helps heal the wounds at a faster pace than normal and also works to replace damaged tissue. Another great benefit that comes from regular consumption of sprouts is that it lightens skin discoloration and age spots to leave you with clear and flawless skin.
Vitamin C is responsible for collagen production which gives you better and healthier skin. Vitamin C also increases the elasticity of your skin to give you a more youthful appearance. Collagen, also known as a protein-like cement, holds the body tissues and organs together. By rejuvenating the skin from within, it reduces wrinkles and other visible symptoms of aging.
As mentioned above, sprouts contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. They decrease inflammation and help get rid of problems like acne. That’s not it, regular consumption of sprouts also reduce the risk of skin problems like pruritus and psoriasis, giving you smoother skin.
One of the things that sprouts contain is silica - a nutrient that is required to regenerate the connective tissues. Not just that, it also removes toxins from the body that may be causing dull skin and other skin problems.
Images: Wholesome Supplies, Pexels, The Fit Indian, The Statesman
Featured Image: FoodieCrush, The Little Epicurean
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