The Skinny on Sprouted Grains

The Skinny on Sprouted Grains

Sprouted grains seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Literally–and for good reason because a growing body of research suggests sprouted grains may have a little more to offer nutrition-wise than their unsprouted counterparts. Here’s the skinny on these special grains, and a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them:

What are sprouted grains?  

Simply put, sprouted grains are seeds from cereal grasses (think whole grains like wheat, oats, barley, spelt and brown rice) that have begun to develop into new plants. When temperature and moisture levels are just right, whole grains can actually be coaxed to germinating. Cool huh? When this happens, the whole grain’s starchy endosperm and nutrient-rich bran nourish the plant’s growing embryo, also known as the germ, while the husk adds a layer of protection at the beginning stages of sprouting.

After the grains have sprouted, they’re either dried and stored until they are cooked or milled or they’re pureed and used to make baked goods like bread, english muffins or tortillas and are usually sold frozen.

How are they different than unsprouted grains?

In the process of sprouting, certain nutrients increase, others decrease, and enzymes stored inside the whole grain are released. As a result, sprouted grains are typically little bit higher in protein, sugar, fiber and certain vitamins and minerals, and slightly lower in starch which is turned into energy to fuel growth. Additionally, the amino acid composition (the building blocks of proteins) changes as well.

As for formally differentiating the two, there is no official definition for “sprouted grain” but if you’re interested you can read more about industry standards here.

What are the nutritional benefits of sprouted grains? 

The sprouting process increases the amount and bioavailability–the amount of a certain nutrient our bodies can absorb–of certain nutrients like iron, vitamin C, the B vitamins like folate, fiber and essential amino acids typically lacking in grains, like lysine. Since sprouted grains also tend to be slightly lower in starch they might also be a bit easier on the tummy.

The nutritional content of sprouted grains is influenced by the seed type, quality, sprouting conditions and processing. Though the nutrient changes are subtle, sprouted grains offer all of the same–if not more–benefits of traditional whole grains including dietary fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and selenium, important nutrients that are missing from white or refined grains.

How can add sprouted grains to my diet? 

Sprouted grains, and products that contain them, are showing up more and more on supermarket shelves. Keep your eyes peeled in the bread aisle, freezer section and the cereal aisle too.

I’ve tried a few different types of sprouted grain breads and tortillas, as well as a new cereal from Kashi called Organic Promise Sprouted Grains which is made with a blend of several sprouted wheat, oats, barley, spelt and brown rice. Yum! They sent me some to taste test and I’ve been loving it (and the 6 grams of protein and fiber, and only 9 grams of sugar it packs in a serving) with a little milk in the morning, or sprinkled into yogurt with some fresh fruit for a midafternoon snack. It’s not out yet (sorry to be a tease!) but will be available at grocery stores including Whole Foods, Costco and Kroger starting in April.

Another delicious way to incorporate sprouted grains into your diet is by sprouting your own! I haven’t gotten around to trying it myself but hear it’s pretty simple and safe when done correctly. I found this great guide to sprouting if you want to give it a try!

Are you a fan of sprouted grains? Ever tried sprouting your own? 

A special thanks to Kashi for sponsoring this special sprouted grains post.

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  • i bought mine at 99 cent store for 99 cents HAHAHAHA hehehe and crumbed it and breaded pork chops and then breaded chicken breast with it the following night and baked as usual, came out like a champ, yuumi, I havent tried it with milk yet tho :(

  • The kashi cereal as mentioned above is to die for! I rarely eat cereal but when I do I try to eat the healthiest form. This cereal has flavor and all the nutrients. Also it’s healthy!! Can’t beat it. Get it from Costco for a 2pk for $4.99.

  • So great to see that there will soon be a cereal on the market. Like Ashley, I buy the sprouted grain bread from Trader Joe’s, it’s delicious and is a bit easier on my stomach like you mentioned. I would love to sprout my own grains but I haven’t dedicated the time yet to learn about it. Thanks so much for sharing this information!

  • Hi Elle! I think I understand. I’ve actually known there was some superiority to sprouted grains for a while and found a decent Trader Joe’s sprouted grain bread, but I haven’t bought it in months. Thanks for the details. I’m not much of a cereal eater, but I’ll look out for the Kashi kind once it hits stores. :)

  • Another benefit, amongst the many, of living in France, is that some sprouted grains have been on the Supermarket and Health Food shelves for some time. They go under the name of Son d’Avoine and Son de Ble. This realisation of the goodness to be found in these grains was by Dr. Dukan who is the diet guru from France. Think of Kate Middleton, who lost weight before her wedding and quickly regained her former sillouette after the birth of baby George. I have never followed a diet, lucky me, but now find myself following at least, the principals of Dr. Dukan. Breakfast for me is the sprouting grains of,three spoons of oats to one spoon of wheat mixed with yoghurt and this delicious concoction has been my breakfast for a long time now and I never feel hungry.
    Bon journee,

    • I am actually living in france and currently trying to find sprouted whole wheat flour. My french isn’t very good and I am having a hard time finding the correct translation. DO you know what what sprouted whole wheat flour is called in france?

    • I am currently living in france and looking for sprouted whole wheat flour, however my french isnt very good an having a hard time finding the translation. Do you know what sprouted whole wheat flour is called in france?