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Publix GreenWise Market Magazine
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Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - Summer 2011

What's Sprouting?

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Get more whole-grain goodness by eating sprouted breads and cereals.

Maybe you've switched from white rice to brown or from white bread to whole wheat. Want to take your nutrition another step beyond refined grains? Consider adding sprouted whole-grain products to your shopping cart.

Sprouting (germinating) whole grains may boost their nutritional value and possibly even their digestibility. Unlike the green vegetable sprouts we enjoy on salads and sandwiches, sprouted grains are sprouted only for a very short time so the kernels can be mashed into a wet dough used to make such products as bread, cereal, English muffins and pasta.

Manufacturers sprout whole grains by adding moisture while carefully controlling temperature, then stop the process shortly after the sprout emerges to lock in nutrients.

Nutritional Powerhouse
Sprouting activates enzymes that may spark many beneficial nutritional changes. "When wheat is sprouted, it becomes a very concentrated source of a mixture of antioxidants," says researcher Tapan Basu, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. That includes antioxidant vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and certain polyphenols, nutrients that may have important disease-prevention qualities.

Sprouting grains also increases levels of some essential amino acids (protein building blocks) as well as the content of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This amino acid is known to be an integral part of the human brain and nervous system and helps relieve stress and anxiety. GABA is especially prominent in sprouted brown rice.

A small study in Japan found that nursing mothers experienced less depression and fatigue when they ate sprouted brown rice daily instead of white rice -- possibly due to the higher levels of GABA and vitamin B1 in sprouted rice.

Studies with animals suggest that sprouted grains may help lower blood pressure and protect against colon cancer. They also may be easier to digest. Sprouting whole grains neutralizes phytic acid, a substance that interferes with the body's absorption of calcium, iron and other minerals, says Janie Quinn, author of Essential Eating: Sprouted Baking (Azure Moon Publishing, 2008). Sprouting grains that contain gluten -- such as wheat, barley and rye -- greatly reduces but doesn't eliminate the gluten, a protein people with celiac disease must avoid.
Ezekiel BreadGetting Sprouted Grains
Sprouted grains are gaining popularity, according to the American Association of Cereal Chemists, especially for breads. California-based Food for Life pioneered development of sprouted grain breads, although the concept dates back to biblical times. Food for Life's Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100 percent Whole Grain Bread includes all four of the grains (plus two legumes) mentioned in that scripture -- wheat, barley, millet and spelt.

Devotees of sprouted grain bread praise its chewy texture and nutlike, earthy flavor. That heartiness helps satisfy hunger pangs.

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