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When in doubt, start to sprout. Sprouted grains — or partially grown grains — are deemed superior to their standard counterparts for a variety of reasons, including improved bioavailability of nutrients and increased antioxidant capacity. Under the right temperature and moisture conditions, a grain grows thin sprouts and beings to germinate into a plant. Instead of letting the sprout grow into a plant, you can eat or process the grain in its early stages to reap the benefits.
“The sprouting process make the nutrients in the grains more highly absorbable, meaning the body doesn’t have to work as hard to break them down,” says Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D. “This makes sprouted grain bread a great choice for promoting optimal digestion and muscle growth.”
Further, a 2014 International Journal of Food Science and Technology study found that sprouted grains have more than double the vitamin E content, 19 percent more niacin, and 50 percent more riboflavin than unsprouted grains.
So how do you sprout? Cording says to place the grains in a strainer or colander, then rinse and drain. Then place grains in a bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight.
Next, drain and rinse the grains again, and finally soak in a covered jar for one to five days. Eat the grains raw, cook them, or dry them in a dehydrator, low-temperature oven, or in the sun before grinding into flour.
Wheat berries, quinoa, millet, barley, and lentils are some options for at-home sprouting. If you’re looking for supermarket sprouts, Food For Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 bread is popular, and the brand also makes sprouted pasta, tortillas, and more. Way Better Snacks makes sprouted grains chips, and Nate’s Raw Harvest has sprouted almond butter.
Makes 12 pancakes