Introduction and background

Sprouted grains and sourdough bread are simple wonderful food and make an ideal, perfect part of any fitting diet. They aren’t necessarily living probiotic foods. This article is intended to discuss some of their key benefits and effects on human health. Read on to discover more:

The benefits

The good bacteria (Lactobacilli) transform the bread through fermentation prior to baking. The heat kills the beneficial bacteria, but the fermentation process has already developed many vitamins and minerals that aren’t found in regular grain. So these grains are supercharged, plus the fermentation process alters the structure of the grains so that they’re more easily digested. Dieticians have discovered that grains are not the same as they once were. For thousands of years, sheaths of grain would be cut by hand, stacked in the fields, and left to be gathered the next day. The morning dew would cause the grains to sprout, thereby unlocking the nutrients and deactivating the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, making the grains easy to digest. Then the workers would gather the grains and take the seeds off the stalks to be used. Today we have combines that remove the seeds instantly, never allowing the grains to sprout.

Our baking traditions have changed, too. Sourdough starters used to be the standard mode for rising breads. The bacteria and yeasts in the starter transform the wheat in the flour in the same way that sprouting does—releasing nutrients and creating a more digestible product. This process doesn’t use sprouted flour, but bread made this way has the same benefits as bread made with sprouted flour. But this transformation is dependent on letting the dough culture for many hours at room temperature. It takes at least seven hours for these dramatic changes to occur. Now with instant yeasts, the bread rises so quickly that it never has a chance to be transformed.


What does this mean?

What does this mean for us? For many, it meant painful days of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). And for thousands of others, it means a gluten free diet. However, now there are other options. You can buy sprouted flour and sprouted bread products at any health-food store. Most, however, prefer to bake homemade sourdough and sprouted breads and to make their own flours, because they can control how the products are created.

Making your own sprouted flour takes some equipment, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Ancient cultures knew the benefits of soaking and sprouting grains because they experienced them firsthand. They passed these cultures down through generations like heirlooms. And until fairly recently, sourdough starters bubbling on kitchen counters were the norm and not the exception.


Health benefits of sprouted grains and Sourdough

While many of us struggle to digest grains, we flourish when these same grains are sprouted. The process of sprouting improves the quality of the grain, making it more nutrient dense. These grains provide us with vitamins and minerals that affect every aspect of our well-being—from mood to digestion to immunity. Sally Fallon, president of the Weston

Price Foundation and the author of Nourishing Traditions, sums up the benefits of sprouting so clearly that her words seem the best way to pass along the information: The process of germination not only produces vitamin C but also changes the composition of the grain and seeds in numerous beneficial ways. Sprouting increases vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6, and carotene increases dramatically—sometimes eightfold. Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc; sprouting also reduces enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds.

One of the other wonderful advantages of sprouted grains is that they are considered low glycemic. Sprouting the grain returns it to a plant state. This allows sprouted grains to digest as vegetables in the body. Without sprouting, grains digest as starches. What does this mean for you? Basically, vegetables are much easier to break down than starches, which use pancreatic enzymes. Most people don’t produce these enzymes in large quantities, so an overabundance of starches taxes the pancreas. If you are diabetic, this is not good.

But here’s something everyone will love: Sprouting grains increases their satiety factor—meaning they fill you up faster, which is great for weight management.  Like sprouted grains, when you use a sourdough starter to make bread, mineral inhibitors are deactivated and the bioavailability of nutrients increases. While the sprouting of grains happens with water, the transformation of sourdough to a healthier form that is easier to digest is due to good bacteria working with yeast in symbiosis. This action also makes the bread resistant to mould and staleness.


All in, the combination of sprouted grains in any diet will bring enormous share of benefits for health and fitness. You must definitely give it a try to achieve your fitness goals.

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