A Healthy Addition to Your Diet
Sprouted grains have been popular among health food junkies for years, but they’ve only recently hit the mainstream, popping up everywhere from breads and cereals to restaurant menus. This hot new healthy ingredient has loads of nutritional benefits and is increasingly easy to find. But what exactly are sprouted grains?
A sprouted grain is the beginning of a grain seed’s life cycle, before it becomes a mature plant. Given just the right temperature and moisture conditions, the outer layer will split open and a young shoot will sprout out of the grain, releasing vital nutrients and enzymes stored inside. Grain seeds are similar to long-term storage packages, designed to keep their goodness locked inside until conditions are right to grow a new plant.
According to the Whole Grains Council, the sprouting process can increase the amount and availability of some vitamins (notably vitamin C) and minerals, making sprouted grains a potential nutrition powerhouse.
“With the attention paid to gluten-free, a dark cloud has been surrounding whole grains for several years,” says registered dietitian, Kashi nutrition partner and author, Toby Amidor. “Unless you have celiac disease or other individual needs, whole grains—including sprouted grains—are an important part of a healthy diet.
“Sprouted grains are a delicious way to add fiber and essential minerals such as iron, zinc or magnesium to your diet,” continues Amidor. “They aren’t just for the serious health food aficionados anymore. Many new packaged foods feature these unique and nutritious grains.”
Eating real, pure foods is at the core of a healthy lifestyle. By taking a closer look at packaging while at the grocery store, you can find items made with wholesome ingredients and positive benefits. These days, many grocery stores carry a variety of nutritious options on their shelves as well.
“People don’t always check the nutrition label while they’re shopping,” says Amidor. “Take a moment to pause and read the labels to get the full picture and really understand the foods that are going into your grocery basket and onto the family table.”
For food and recipe ideas, visit Kashi.com and for more information on whole grains, the Whole Grains Council is a great resource.