The term “superfood” can often be used quite liberally, but not all superfoods are equal.
The true meaning of superfood, is a natural wholefood whose nutritional benefits outweigh its caloric content, that contains compounds shown to have significant health benefits when consumed over the long term. And let me tell you, the epitome of a superfood is sprouts.
You may have seen sprouts in your supermarket, I remember alfalfa sprouts always being put on my salad sandwich at the humble corner store as a kid, never realising how much nutrition I was flooding my body with, with just a small serve of sprouts.
There are many different varieties of sprouts, but what makes them all so special? Well they are a nutritional powerhouse, packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, all whilst being super low in calories, minimal sugars and carbohydrates and very low in fat. I consider sprouts one of the cheat codes to longevity.
There are numerous studies showing their benefits and some of them include:
- Regulated blood sugar levels (great for preventing afternoon energy crashes & binges, helpful for weight loss and in managing diabetes)
- Improved Gut Health: Sprouts are actually a prebiotic food. This means that they actually feed all the bacteria in our gut. Without healthy food for our microbiome, it starves and dies and this can lead to numerous health issues as we age.
- Cardiovascular benefits: Studies have shown consuming sprouts daily helps balance our cholesterol by increasing the HDL (good) and lowering the LDL (bad), this can help prevent age related disease such as heart attacks & atherosclerosis.
- Supports healthy circulation with iron & copper. Healthy circulation means healthier hair & skin and improved energy
- Reduces the production of ghrelin, which may aid in weight loss. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for feeling hungry, by reducing the production we feel satiated for longer, reducing the amount of food we consume
- Rich in antioxidants shown to reduce DNA damage and fight ageing.
Depending on the type of sprouts you choose each will have different benefits and nutritional values. But majority of sprouts are rich in:
- Vitamin A: immunity, skin healthy and mucous membrane health
- Vitamin K: Needed for the utilisation of calcium and bone health
- Vitamin C: immunity, collagen production, skin health & cardiovascular health
- Folate: Methylation, healthy DNA, energy production, hormone health, mood
- Iron: Needed to carry oxygen around the blood, energy, this is a vital nutrient for women’s health
- Magnesium: Has over 300 functions in the body, you cannot get enough magnesium through your diet, sprouts are rich in this mineral
My top choice for sprouts are:
- Contains a compound that “turn on” genes that are beneficial for fighting disease, cancer and slowing down the ageing process and helps “turn down” the genes that increase our risk of these issues.
- Regular consumption activates an defence enzyme within our cells called NRF2.This is the mother of all anti-ageing activities in the body. It helps detoxify and clear out debris in our cells (keeping them young and happy) and also help block cancer causing enzymes.
- Sulforaphane found in broccoli sprouts improves the health of overall gut function by supporting the cells lining our gut wall (helping to prevent leaky gut)
Mung Bean Sprouts:
- Highest levels of Vitamin K, this is an underrated nutrient that is vital in looking after bone health and helping to prevent osteoporosis as we age (especially for post-menopausal women who are at the greatest risk of osteoporosis).
That being said, all sprouts are amazing for your health, I recommend consuming a wide variety of sprouts.
How to get them in your diet
- Blending in smoothies
- Mixing through soups
- Adding to stir-fry’s
- As a topping on avocado on toast
- As a snack by themselves
- Blending through dips
- Mixed through salads
My favourite sprouts are the ones by Aussie sprouts, Australian owned and grown, they are fresh, affordable and you can find them in all good supermarkets.