Sprouts are the baby shoots of plants, and just about any edible plant seed can be sprouted, especially nuts, beans, and grains. They are increasingly popular as ingredients in fresh juice and smoothie recipes. Sprouts have been consumed as a food in Asian cultures long before recorded history! They are used in Chinese and Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine to treat ailments ranging from digestive and kidney disorders to arthritis and the retention of water. Introduced to North America from Europe in the mid-18th century, it’s only in recent history that the US has begun to consume sprouts. They were an important food for fighting scurvy among early sailors.
Research on Sprout Juice
Saponins are plant molecules found in abundance in alfalfa sprouts and they have gained much attention recently. According to studies from the Linus Pauling Institute saponins have strong anti-inflammatory properties. In The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, author Michael T. Murray posits that the phytoestrogens in sprouts not only lessen the unpleasant effects of menopause but may also diminish the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. The saponins in sprouts, according to Murray, may also help boost the immune system. The Hippocrates Institute, the leading proponent of raw foods, was founded by a woman who cured herself of inoperable cancer with sprouts. They are 10 to 30 times more nutritious than the best food, with bean and sunflower sprouts topping the list. Occasionally I come across references to toxins in some sprouts. This is actually true but like toxins in apple seeds it is so minute that’s it’s not a health concern.
Benefits of Sprout Juice
Sprouts are a ‘superfood’ packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, amino acids, carotenes, chlorophyll, saponin, phytoestrogens, and antioxidants. The vitamins in sprouts are C, A, K, E, and B-complex. Minerals include calcium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, molybdenum, potassium and magnesium with trace amounts of sodium. Sprouts get a five-star rating as a weight loss tool due to their abundance of fiber and protein, absence of fat, sugar, and cholesterol, and low-calorie count. Their antioxidants assist in lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol and raising the good (HDL). Sprouts are so high in protein and calcium, as well as fiber and carotenoids, they’re a staple for vegetarians and vegans.
Ingredients for Sprout Juice Recipe
- 1 handful of Sprouts
- 2 Carrots
- 1 stalk Celery
- 1 slice Jalapeno
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 Apple
- One of the joys of juicing is that it’s so simple! Go ahead and substitute or add ingredients you like. Switch ginger for the jalapeno or beets for the carrots.
- If you’re concerned about mixing fruits and veggies leave the apple out but rest assured that nutritionists agree that apples are an exception and can be mixed with veggies with no digestive issues for most people.
- I always include the peel in my juices for an extra nutritional boost!