In 1997, researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that broccoli sprouts contain astounding levels of cancer-protective chemicals. These chemicals, called isothiocyanates, make broccoli sprouts anywhere from thirty to fifty times more potent than mature broccoli.
Since the discovery of the humble seed’s potential, broccoli sprouts have reached superstardom in health-conscious circles, but most people in this country don’t even know of their existence. Broccoli sprouts are still a niche of a niche, with far less than 1 percent of the U.S. population enjoying them on a regular basis.
Still, there is no shortage of great information about broccoli sprouts. We all know that if you eat broccoli, it’s great. If you eat sprouted broccoli seeds, it’s even better. Combine the two and you’ve increased their benefits exponentially. A team at Johns Hopkins found that a daily serving of broccoli sprouts for two months reduced the marker for the presence of H. pylori, the bacteria that can lead to ulcers and gastritis, by 40 percent. Eating broccoli sprouts has the potential to boost your immune system because they contain meaningful amounts of vitamin C and boost the development of white blood cells. Those are paramount for fighting off infections in both old and young people. The list of benefits goes on and on.
If broccoli sprouts have so much going for them, imagine the phenomenal health benefits a variety of sprouted foods can add to our diets! I believe that each living plant has something to teach us, and each sprout has its own story to tell. If as much money as went into researching broccoli sprouts went into a few other sprouts, I believe you would be blown away. But what we do know about sprouts is truly astounding, and without a doubt, there is no sustainable food on earth more nutritious than sprouts.
Sprouting brings new life to food, adding flavors and textures while packing in vitamins, micronutrients, phytonutrients, minerals, flavonoids, polyphenols, antioxidants, prebiotics, probiotics, and live enzymes. Sprouts are super low in calories (zero points on the Weight Watchers system!), low glycemic, and high in fiber and protein. Sprouting increases protein by as much as 20 percent and vitamins and minerals by up to 500 percent, making sprouts a healthier, unprocessed alternative to chalky, processed protein powders. Sprouting reduces phytic acid and lectins, substances found in beans and grains that can make them hard to digest. When beans and grains are sprouted, many people who gave them up are newly able to eat them.
Sprouts are low in calories and high in everything that’s good for us. We’ve all heard about Captain Cook’s strategy of bringing citrus on board long sea voyages to keep his sailors from getting scurvy. What’s even more interesting to me was learning that he also initiated a continuous program of growing and eating sprouts that was key to keeping the sailors well fed with vitamin C and avoiding death by scurvy.
As Dr. Dean Ornish told me, Sprouts have a germinative energy that we don’t yet have the capacity in science to measure, but I believe this energy is one of the reasons seeds and nuts in general have been shown to be so powerful in preventing and treating so many diseases. Like seeds and nuts, sprouts by nature are designed to burst into a plant, and as such, they have benefits above and beyond the nutrients that they provide.
For all intents and purposes, if you ate sprouts for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, you would barely get 800 calories into your system (and feel full) but the equivalent of 3000 to 4000 calories of nutrition relative to other foods. Sprouts are also Bulletproof, Keto, Atkins, and Paleo friendly. Sprouting takes us back to the seed with an invitation to achieve our greatest health potential.
You can safely make sprouts at home in two to seven days without specialized equipment. If you’ve heard scary stories about contaminated sprouts, not to worry. Sprouting is easy: you simply add water, then wait for nature’s magical transformation from bean, grain, or seed to sprout. In my book, I cover how much water to add, when to add, when to rinse, and when to refrigerate your sprouts to easily eliminate any chance of contamination.
Sprouts are your answer to fresh produce daily. That’s why everyone should start sprouting now. A 2-pound bag of broccoli sprouts can deliver fresh produce for you and your family for 2 to 3 months, reliably, safely, without leaving your home. Sprouts are your ticket to food security in uncertain times.
Not only can you nourish your body with this amazing plant food but you can make magic in your kitchen. Sprouts add excitement to meals: adzuki, alfalfa, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, chia, chickpeas, clover, fenugreek, green pea, lentil, mung, mustard, onion, radish, sunflower . . . all these can be sprouted and offer up crisp, crunchy textures and tastes ranging from nutty to hardy, hot, crisp, powerful, sweet, and spicy.
As you eat more sprouts as part of a plant-based diet, you will find yourself craving the pure burst of energy that a sprout smoothie, sprout salad, or a simple handful of sprouts delivers. You can expect to lose or maintain your weight while taking in more nutrition than ever, gaining energy, reducing inflammation, sleeping better, becoming more regular, and thinking more clearly. You can even tailor your sprout eating to supplement particular nutrients or target specific health conditions. This raw, living, plant-based way of eating is a deliciously low-cost, accessible way to heal the world, one seed at a time.
Doug Evans is the author of The Sprout Book. He is an artist/inventor/entrepreneur who was born and raised in New York City. He studied the work of Dr. Dean Ornish and other leaders in health and began living and breathing a raw vegan lifestyle. Armed with the knowledge that 90 percent of Americans weren’t getting enough vegetables, in 2002 he co-founded (with Denise Mari) Organic Avenue. Organic Avenue was the first organic cold-pressed juice and raw food retailer in the United States. During his 10 years at Organic Avenue, Doug saw the incredible transformations people made when they had access to more servings of organic vegetables, prompting him to create Juicero, the first at-home cold-pressed juicing system. His next business venture, Sproutero, is the Juicero for sprouts and microgreens. Doug lives off the water grid and food grid on his land with private hot springs east of Joshua Tree, California.