Sprouts Are Supreme!

Many people look down upon sprouts as rabbit food that should be left on salad bars!  But if you share that view, you may be missing out on a highly nutritious shoot!

Sprouts are very low-calorie but are high in nutrition.

Kale sprouts, which I found in Florida, have 15 calories for one ounce.  They contain 12mg of sodium, 1 gram of fiber and protein.  They are also loaded with 88% of your daily vitamin A requirements!

Sprouted mung beans are baby mung bean plants. One cup contains 26 calories.  Because mung bean sprouts are so small, they contain a concentrated amount of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, folate and vitamin C. They are also a good source of protein. As the plants sprout, they also produce enzymes that make it easier for your body to digest and metabolize the protein they contain. Add these tiny nutritional powerhouses to a variety of healthy recipes to boost the protein content.  The hardy nature of mung beans entices their use in stir frays and soups to provide crunch.

Alfalfa sprouts are the shoots of the alfalfa plant, harvested before they become the full-grown plant. Because they are so small, the sprouts contain a concentrated amount of certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin K and vitamin C. Alfalfa sprouts contain just 8 calories and 0 grams of fat per cup. Alfalfa sprouts are higher in protein than lettuce and spinach greens, but alfalfa sprouts contain very little sugar. Alfalfa sprouts are a good source of phosphorus and zinc, but they are not an especially good source of calcium or iron.

You should rinse alfalfa sprouts thoroughly under running water for one to two minutes and allow them to drain before eating them. Pat them gently with a paper towel if needed. Alfalfa sprouts have been linked to outbreaks of salmonella or E. coli, with a high of four outbreaks in 1997. Salmonella and E. coli are types of foodborne illness that cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

I’ve recently began to include sprouts in my food plan to benefit from their taste and nutritional value. Add rinsed alfalfa sprouts to a green salad or layer them into a lean turkey or chicken sandwich. Top a burger with fresh sprouts or add them to a pita stuffed with hummus and tomatoes. Top a serving of pasta or bean salad with alfalfa sprouts to enhance the flavor and add key nutrients.  Add the hardier varieties to Pho soup for a delicious crunch.

 

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