No one wants to catch cold whenever the season changes or fall ill frequently. While medicines can come to the rescue, it is not the best solution to stay healthy. So, people often look for other options related to their lifestyle. Food is something that we think has answers to most of our problems. So, a quick online search for foods to boost your immune system will give you many results. Well, don’t forget to include sprouts in this list. Sprouts happen to have many health benefits, and are great for immunity.
Health Shots connected with Ishrat Jahan, Senior Clinical Nutritionist, BLK Max Super Specialty Hospital, Delhi, to find out what makes sprouts the perfect immunity booster.
What are sprouts?
Sprouts, which are used by many in dishes, are very young plants that are harvested a few days after they germinate. Some of the popular types of sprouts include bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, lentil sprouts and sprouted grains. They are rich in fiber, essential amino acids, vitamins D, A, C, K and E, says Jahan. They are also great sources of iron, magnesium, folate and calcium.
Sprouts for immunity
There are many ways to boost the immune system, and eating sprouts can help.
Here are some of the reasons why sprouts are good for immunity!
• Sprouts are rich in vitamin C, which is very essential vitamin for a healthy immune system.
• Sprouts allow better nutrient absorption into our bodies because when grains are soaked, tannin and phytic acid content decreases, says the expert.
• Sprouts are also rich in minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals help to regulate the count of red blood cells in the body, and these red blood cells influence the response of the immune system.
• The process of germination also increases the content of antioxidants, protein and fiber. This helps to improve your body’s defense against diseases and bacteria.
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Health benefits of sprouts
Sprouts are great for immunity, but they have more health benefits. Sprouts help to improve digestion of carbohydrates and proteins. According to Jahan, germination stimulates the release of enzymes to pre-digest starch. It may aid in gut health and also reduce intestinal gas.
Sprouting doesn’t really change the nutritional profile of the plant, but rather helps to release compounds that are beneficial to us. For example, plant foods contain phytates that bind with minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium. This prevents those minerals from being absorbed in the body. We don’t have the enzymes to break down phytates, but the sprouting process helps to release enzymes in the plant to do just that. This allows for minerals to be freely absorbed.
You can add sprouts to sandwiches and salads. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
So, add sprouts to your sandwiches or salads. They are also easy to add to warm meals such as rice dishes, stir fries, omelettes and soups. But if you eat sprouts daily, you should keep a few things in mind.
While you can always buy sprouts from a store, you can also grow sprouts at home.
How to grow sprouts at home?
All you need to do is place the seeds in a jar or a bowl then fill it with water. The water should be at least two to three times more than the seeds in the bowl. Keep it away from sunlight at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. After you are done soaking the seeds and the germination process begins, it will be time to rinse and drain them until they start sprouting.