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The Extraordinary Health Benefits of Sprouts

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Sprouts are healthy alternatives to adult plants. Find out more about the nutrient power of these plants below!

Sprouts, including bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, and onion sprouts are incredibly healthy and provide a wide variety of nutrients- particularly a high intake of B vitamins that are beneficial in a range of health conditions, including ADHD. Learn more about the health benefits of sprouts and how they can help treat ADHD naturally below.

What Are Sprouts?

Most plants start out as sprouts. Sprouts are not a particular variety of plant so much as simply the baby form of many common plants eaten today. Research suggests that sprouted forms of the plant may be healthier and provide additional nutrients because the plant is younger and contains all of the nutrients required to bring the plant to full maturity.

The World’s Healthiest Foods explains it like this: “Sprouting is simply the way that a seed cracks open for the first time and sends a root or a leaf stalk poking upward out of the soil and into the open air. Because the sprouting stage of growth is so unique in the life of a plant, there has been special interest in potential health benefits that might be associated with this stage of growth. In general, sprouts are often more concentrated in certain nutrients-including some key antioxidants-when compared with fully mature plants."

By eating sprouts, you are able to consume a greater number of nutrients which is particularly helpful for individuals who are typically low in B vitamins, such as individuals with ADHD.

Health Benefits of Sprouts by Type

Spouts provide some of the highest concentration of nutrients in the smallest package. Most sprouts contain a variety of nutrients including fiber, calcium, thiamin, niacin, zinc, vitamins A, C, D, B6, B12, E, and K, protein, folate, riboflavin, iron, and potassium.

Watercress was recently given a nutrient density score of 100 percent by a 2014 study published in Preventing Chronic Disease. Sprouted sunflower seeds, peas, alfalfa, wheat grass, lentils, mung beans, Brussels, onions, and broccoli provide an amazing mix of nutrients that can help you keep healthy and focused throughout the day.

What sprouts contain the most beneficial ingredients for ADHD and concentration?

The following list of sprouts offer an incredible wealth of nutrients for anyone struggling with concentration problems:

Nutrients in Sprouts

Lentils: Protein, vitamin C, thiamin, folate, B6, iron, copper, phosphorus, manganese

Mung beans: Protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate

Alfalfa: Vitamin A, C, D, B, E, and K

Sunflower sprouts: Protein, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium

Broccoli sprouts: Sulforaphane, antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, calcium

Wheatgrass: Vitamin B, E, C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, manganese, choline, other B vitamins, magnesium, protein, copper, potassium

Brussels sprouts: vitamin K, vitamin C, B vitamins, manganese, choline, potassium, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber

Why You Should Eat More Sprouts

According to sprouting experts dietitian Reem Jabr and Elisabetta Politi, RD, nutrition director at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, sprouts have several health benefits that fully grown plants do not. In general, sprouts will provide these additional health benefits:

More vitamins: the vitamin content in a sprout is more concentrated than in a fully grown plant. This could be simply because the same amount of nutrients are compacted into a smaller size, so when you eat the same serving amount you get more vitamins. This could be particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD who tend to be lacking in nutrients like B vitamins. Researchers estimate that sprouts can have up to 20 times more nutrients than an adult plant. In mung beans, sprouts have 285 percent more vitamin B1, 515 percent more vitamin B2, and 256 percent more vitamin B3. This is extremely beneficial for concentration problems.

More enzymes: enzymes help break down food and absorb nutrients better. According to sprout experts, sprouts can contain up to 100 times more enzymes than adult plants.

More usable nutrients: During the seed growth process, minerals bind to proteins in the plant which makes the nutrients easier to absorb. This means that you are not only eating more nutrients, but actually can use them in better, more-efficient ways. More fiber and fatty acids: While plants are sprouting, the plant has the most fiber and fatty acid content. Many individuals are lacking in these nutrients. Sprouts can provide an excellent source of these nutrients.

According to dietitian Reem Jabr, sprouting makes it easier to absorb all nutrients, but particularly vitamin C, iron, and zinc. Some sprouts have been linked to the prevention of cancer when they contain glucosinolates (broccoli sprouts have a high concentration of glucosinolates). Additionally, sprouts are easier to digest because sprouts are already partially broken down. Politi, recommends sprouts for individuals with sensitive guts.

Where to Find Spouts

It may be possible to find raw sprouts at grocery stores, but increasingly, grocery stores have stopped selling sprouts because of the risk of salmonella poisoning. The FDA recommends not consuming raw sprouts purchased from commercial stores. The humid conditions necessary to grow sprouts are also ideal conditions for bacterial growth. When seeds are contaminated by bacteria, the bacteria can spread while the seed grows.

Because of this, the best (and safest) way to obtain sprouts is to grow them yourself at home from a trusted seed source.

Are There any Risks in Eating Sprouts?

There is some risk of bacteria poisoning with sprouts just like for any raw food. The FDA recommends cooking sprouts to avoid consuming harmful levels of bacteria. According to Organic Authority, commercial sprouts are more likely to be contaminated than home-grown because runoff from animal manure or factory farm run-off can poison the seeds.

At home, the risk is much less, although there is still some risk if the seeds themselves are contaminated. The best way to avoid risk of bacterial contamination is to purchase seeds that are sanitized (usually with bleach) or sanitize them yourself at home before planting.

How to Grow Sprouts at Home

Sprouts are easy to grow at home. Purchase your seeds from a supplier who sanitizes them properly and outlines their sanitation process on their package or website. If you want to be extra careful, you can sanitize them yourself by heating a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the seeds into the peroxide mixture for 5 minutes. Stir to ensure all seeds are clean. Rinse the seeds under fresh water for one minute, then discard the peroxide solution.

Once the seeds are sanitized, they are ready to sprout! Place your seeds into a shallow container or mason jar.

Cover your seeds with three times the amount of water as seeds. Cover the container with a piece of cheesecloth or a straining lid. Allow the seeds to soak overnight.

Dump the water and rinse the seeds. Place the container upside down so the seeds can start to sprout.

Drain and rinse the seeds about 3 times a day until the seeds have sprouted.

Remove the hulls and eat the sprouts when they reach the desired size.

Sprouting can take between one and three weeks.

You can also use a seed tray which can sprout seeds in larger quantities.

Other Natural ADHD Treatment Methods

Eating sprouts alone is not likely to completely cure concentration issues. Studies show that individuals with ADHD typically have lower levels of certain nutrients like omega 3, B vitamins, iron, and calcium. Supplements combined with the consumption of sprouts can help prevent some of the common side effects of ADHD. Using sprouts along with supplements can maximize the effectiveness of any nutrient intake.

According to ADDitude Magazine, while diet and food changes will not cure ADHD (current research suggests it is a difference in how the brain makes connections and translates impulses), dietary changes can help control some of the least desirable symptoms of ADHD. According to research cited by Experience Life Magazine, the following nutrients are extremely important for children and adults with ADHD:

Protein: Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that children who ate a protein-rich breakfast and lunch were less likely to have symptoms of ADHD. The researchers recommend children consume between 24 to 30 grams a day and adults consume 45 to 70 grams a day.

Micronutrient Supplements: According to a study from 2008, children and adults who took a variety of nutrients, including vitamin D, E, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, glutamine, phenylalanine, and methionine for 14 days saw a reduction in ADHD symptoms.

Avoiding Grains: Some research suggests that children with ADHD often have trouble processing grains. The high glycemic load of grains can trigger ADHD symptoms. Dr. Kenneth Bock, author of the book “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies” individuals with ADHD should consume no more than three servings of grain a day. He recommends using grains only as a side dish served with plenty of protein, fat, and fiber.

Great Reasons to Eat More Sprouts

Sprouts are healthy plants that have a wide variety of health benefits and nutrients. Since spouts have all of the same nutrients as their adult counterparts in smaller amounts, you can consume a higher number of nutrients simply by exchanging spouts for other veggies. Sprouts may be particularly beneficial for individuals who are lower in B vitamin levels, such as individuals with concentration problems or ADHD.

By consuming sprouts, you not only consume a greater number of nutrients, but you also are eating enzymes and antioxidants that boost your absorption of nutrients from other sources as well. For individuals with concentration problems or ADHD, adding sprouts to the diet is an extremely beneficial practice that can boost your overall health and increase your concentration. Raw or cooked, sprouts are an essential part of a healthy diet.

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