Steve Meyerowitz, author of numerous books on sprouting and nutrition energized the meeting with his exposé on the benefits of eating sprouts.
Steve backed up his statements with nutritional and medical studies that convincingly showed sprouts contain micronutrients in greater quantities than many other vegetables. Alfalfa, radish, and clover, for instance, are 4% protein. Iceberg lettuce is less than 1%.
Sprouts are often far more nutritious than mature plants. Steve cited radish sprouts for having 2.4 times the calcium, 4.9 times the magnesium, 6.3 times the protein and phosphorus and 39 times the Vitamin A as radishes.
Eggs, may have 12.5% protein but they are 10% fat. Lentil sprouts have 9% protein and 0.55% fat. Chicken has almost twice the protein as lentil sprouts but chicken has forty times the fat.
Sprouts are loaded with phytochemicals which have important health benefits. Some of these nutraceuticals are:
PLANT ESTROGENS – hot flashes, menopause, osteoporosis. PMS
SAPONINS – Raises HDL. Sterols reduce cholesterol
ANTI-OXIDANTS – Anti-aging. Vitamin C, Polyphenols
ELECTROLYTES – Hydration. Sodium and potassium salts
TRACE MINERALS – Sulfur, Zinc, Manganese, Iodine, Iron, Selenium
BIO-FLAVONOIDS – Cancer Prevention. Induces phase II enzymes. Quercetin – inflammation
CAROTENES – over 600 different carotenoids
INDOLES – Anti-inflammatory, precursor to Neurotransmitters Serotonin, Melatonin
ISOFLAVONES – Anti-estrogenic, Helps Breast Tumors
SULPHUROPHANES – Protective Enzymes Inhibit Tumor Growth
PHYTOSTEROLS – Cardiovascular disease. Lowers total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL.
FLAVONETRICIN – Relaxes smooth muscle tissues. Cramps and colic
ADAPTOGENIC HERB – Balances estrogen levels in blood – high or low
RNA, DNA – Synthesizes Protein – Life’s Purest Energy
Clover and soy sprouts are loaded with Coumesterol, the most potent phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens reduce symptoms of menopause. They also reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases and osteoporosis from the lower levels of estrogen after menopause. Phytoestrogens are a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy. They also decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Phytoestrogens prevent bone loss and increase bone formation and density.
The increase in phytoestrogens in soybean sprouts is 4200% over un-sprouted soybeans.
Alfalfa sprouts increase 450% in saponin over un-sprouted seed. Saponin reduces cholesterol, is anti-carcinogenic, stimulates the immune system, and increases activity of natural killer cells and increases interferon production.
Alfalfa sprouts can also lower the LDL cholesterol by 16.6% and increase HDL by 11.2% as shown in clinical studies. Alfalfa sprouts can also reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Buckwheat sprouts are antioxidants and can slow the effects of aging.
Patients with ulcerative colitis showed improvement in only four weeks on a diet rich in Barley sprouts.
Sprouted Fava Beans can be used to manage Parkinson’s disease according to another study.
Crucifer sprouts such as cauliflower, broccoli, and kale are rich in a variety of glucosinolates, many of which are potent antioxidants. Cauliflower and broccoli sprouts contain glucoraphanin and myrosinase in various parts of the plant tissue. When the sprout is chewed these two glucosinolates combine to form a powerful isothiocyanate called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is anti-carcinogenic and as such inhibits bladder cancer cell proliferation and reduces the risk of developing the cardiovascular problems of hypertension and atherosclerosis. It can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and of helicobacter pylori infection. It can also protect skin against damage by UV radiation.
Steve also showed a study carried out by Jonathan Sprouts and the University of Massachusetts which compared a variety of minerals found in soil vs. hydroponically grown Wheatgrass. It concluded that there was very little difference in the mineral content and that soil does not enhance the nutrition of sprouts.
He did note, however, that the quality and nutrition of sprouts is greatly affected by the quality of the seed used to produce the sprouts.
Steve has been studying the nutrition of sprouts for more than 30 years. His books can be found on his website www.sproutman.com or among the hundreds of sprout books at www.sproutnet.com/sprouting_books.htm. My personal favorite is “Sprouts the Miracle Food.”