Sprouts - your microbiomes new best friend?

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Sprouting jars filled with Nufields sprouting seeds

 

What if we told you there is a science backed way to provide your microbiome with HUGE benefits using your own homegrown organic food - in 5 days?

Sprouts have been around for a long time, having been hailed as medicinal foods in Chinese cuisine for over five millennia. More and more studies, a tiny fraction of which we cite in this article, are beginning to reveal the true potential of sprouts – especially how it benefits your microbiome.

Having gone a bit out of fashion in recent times, sprouting is making a come back as a functional food due to the ever-expanding body of research that is revealing the true potential sprouts have as a natural homegrown supplement and an amazing natural ingredient in health promoting recipes.

But how can such a small, 5 days old sprouted seed wield so much power? Let’s first dive into a super quick crash course of the science behind sprouting!

All seeds comprise of 3 basic parts. The seed hull/coat, the endosperm and the embryo.

  • The seed hull surrounds and protects both the endosperm and embryo.
  • The endosperm surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition during the initial stages of growth. It consists primarily of starches, this is what is sought after in seeds like wheat and barley to make bread and beer etc.
  • The embryo is the star of the show. It contains the earliest forms of the future plant’s roots, leaves and stem.

When seeds are soaked, the embryo cells are rehydrated and begin to duplicate. The starches in the endosperm begin getting converted into sugars, nourishing the embryo. This is why sprouts and microgreens are seemingly able to inexplicably grow with little to no external nutrients added. Their parent plant has done some excellent meal prepping and provided them with enough nourishment to make sure they won’t go hungry!

Vitamins are produced and used by the seedling to metabolise food and heal it’s cells and they produce these very quickly to promote rapid growth. This is why sprouts and microgreens are known to be up to 20 to 30 times more vitamin dense within a few days of sprouting than the mature plant they would grow into.

So that’s the crash course in the fundamentals of sprouting and what’s going on when you sprout seeds and grow microgreens.

But how does this benefit my microbiome?

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two bacteria that are associated with beneficial effects on the microbiome and general human wellbeing.

In a 2013 study, (Pathak 2013), these bacteria were found to be vastly increased by the process of germination in seeds like lentils and mung beans. These bacteria occur naturally in healthy digestive systems and by ingesting and boosting their numbers in your gut you can promote a multitude of benefits.

  • Improved immune response by increasing the expression of genes in the intestines (PMID: 20823239)
  • Lactic acid produced by these bacteria can prevent harmful bacteria from thriving and can protect the lining of the intestinal tract. (PMID: 22254077)
  • Can possibly prevent the progression of more serious diseases. (PMID: 22903218)

Sprouted seeds have also been found to have increased levels of insoluble fibre, the kind of fibre that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive system.

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, kale and radish contain a collection of compounds that have been found to benefit certain gut bacteria and help alter bacterial community composition in your microbiome (PMID: 19640972). These vegetables contain compounds like glucosinolates and dietary fibre that can be utilised and fermented by a huge range of gut bug species.

With the help of the Good Gut Doc, an MD and microbiome researcher based in Ireland, we have put together a seed blend called The Good Gut Mix™. This unique and delicious certified organic blend contains 10 different seed varieties, each proven in pre-clinical and clinical trials to have positive gut health impacts.

In a recent human trial, researchers asked their subjects to eat 20g of raw broccoli sprouts every day for 4 weeks. Upon studying their stool samples, researchers found that the subjects that ingested broccoli sprouts passed stool easier, had a richer environment of microflora and experienced less oxidative stress which impairs regular defecation. (PMID: 29371757) Growing your own sprouts and microgreens can seem like a daunting and laborious task - we know, we once believed the same! In reality, growing vegetables this way is not only incredibly easy, rewarding, fun and delicious - but regular and consistent use of a wide selection of sprouted seeds - from broccoli to lentils - can kick start a revolution in your gut that can benefit your entire body, life and wellbeing. Feed your gut bacteria and they will love you forever!

A wide variety of sprouting and microgreens are available on our website including our Good Gut Mix™ - our science backed mix of 10 different sprouting seeds - each specially selected by our friend the Good Gut Doc for having positive gut health impacts! 

We have fallen in love with sprouts and can only speak for the benefits we have experienced ourselves since starting our sprouting journey many years ago. We, as a small business built on trust between us and our customers, never want to try and convince someone that eating sprouts and microgreens will cure their ailments - so do some googling as find out for yourself!

Thanks for reading,

Denis


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