The health benefits of sprouted grains
Most people who shop in health food stores, or go into the health food section of a regular grocery market, have probably seen a variety of products advertising that they are made from sprouted grains. However, while the consumption of sprouted vegetables (especially things like bean sprouts) has been a dietary staple in the East for thousands of years, it is only fairly recently that the West has begun to discover it. And for those who are adventurous eaters and up for trying new things, the rewards that eating a diet which includes sprouted grains can be significant. Read on to find out more about sprouted grains and the amazing health benefits they can bring with them.
What exactly are sprouted grains?
What people call "grains" are actually the seeds of grasses like wheat or oats. Sprouting these grains simply means that those seeds are allowed to germinate and become young plants, or seedlings. These seedlings are then used to make a variety of products such as breads, wraps and muffins, just to name a few. Their nutritional value is high. Sprouted grains are rich in vitamins B and C as well as folate, fiber, essential amino acids and a variety of antioxidants. It is the rich nutritional value that leads to the tremendous health benefits sprouted grain products can offer.
Health benefits of sprouted grains
The health benefits of consuming sprouted grains are many, and they include:
Lower blood pressure. Research has found that regular consumption of sprouted buckwheat in particular can reduce high blood pressure levels, likely due to its antioxidant properties.
Good glycemic control. Stable blood sugars are important, especially for those struggling with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Eating sprouted grains regularly can help with this due to its high fiber content, which slows down the rate at which the body breaks down sugars.
Better cholesterol levels. The high-quality fiber in sprouted grains can reduce heart disease risk by lowering unhealthy, LDL cholesterol while at the same time raising up levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.
Better postpartum experience. One study which tracked new mothers found that women who consumed the highest amounts of sprouted grains had the fewest problems with postpartum fatigue, stress and depression as well as stronger immunity, likely due to high levels of antioxidants.
Increased liver function. Because of their high content of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds like quercetin, it has been found that consumption of sprouted grains can lead to a healthier liver and reduce potential problems like cirrhosis or fatty liver disease.
So for those who are really serious about getting the most nutritional value out of the food they eat, consider adding sprouted grains and sprouted grain products to their diet. These grains are not only incredibly delicious and can be used in a variety of dishes, the nutrients they literally bring to the table translate into a whole array of great health benefits.
Healthy Stuffing Recipe for Thanksgiving
1 lb bread cut into 1-inch cubes - about 12 cups, (see note)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoon Italian parsley
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
You can dry your bread cubes two ways:
Place your bread cubes in a large bowl and sit on the counter covered for 1-2 days to dry out. Stir them occasionally.
Place bread cubes on baking sheets in a single layer and toast at 250 degrees for 45-60 minutes stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a skillet, heat olive oil then add the onion, carrot and celery. Saute until vegetables are soft. Pour mixture into the bowl with the bread. Add the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir together.
Melt butter, pour butter and chicken broth over bread cubes and mix well. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until top is golden brown and middle is set
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