Sprouted Grains, Seeds and Beans – Oh My!
There are a lot of stories that start with seeds and end with something pretty amazing – how about the might oak that comes from a mere acorn, the tiny mustard seed, and even Jack and his magical beans that produced the fabled beanstalk. Bottom line – seeds are small but powerful packages. Seeds hold all of the potential of a mature plant and are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals to prove it. And when you germinate, or sprout, those seeds those vitamins and minerals are unlocked and become available to be utilized by the human body.
Seeds are designed to survive the rigors of nature before embed themselves and take root. Seeds and grains are designed to pass through the body undigested and once eliminated, remain capable of growing into a plant. Those hardcore little seeds are covered with a protective layer of phytic acid – a substance present in the bran of all grains and seeds that can inhibit some absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc – and enzyme inhibitors to help protect them and ensure they are able to fulfill their destiny to sprout.
Nature doesn’t want the seed to germinate before its time so it literally locks down the nutrients to ensure this doesn’t happen. This is called enzyme inhibition.
When we eat seeds and grains, these inhibitors can prevent the formation of enzymes in our digestive tract, interfering with the body’s ability to effectively digest and absorb them.
Germination refers to the growth of an embryonic plant within a seed. Most seeds go through a period of dormancy where there is no active growth. During this time the seed can be transported (via wind, animal, farmers hands, a hiker’s shoe) to a new location and survive harsh conditions until the circumstances are just right for growth. Once the seed lands in the right place and has access to moisture and the right climate, germination can begin.
So, why would we want to eat seeds that have been germinated (or sprouted)? Well, we know that grain, vegetable and bean seeds are jam-packed with nutrition and in order to take advantage of those nutrients we have to make them available to our bodies first – otherwise our digestive systems have a hard time getting past the phytic acid because we lack the appropriate enzymes.
When we germinate the seeds and then ingest them we can access those tiny powerhouses and maximize what they have to offer – this is called bioavailability, which refers to the body’s ability to dissolve and absorb nutrients found in the food we eat.
Here are just some of the benefits of sprouted – or germinated – seeds:
- Sprouting the seed increases it’s enzymes and starts the seed on its way to becoming a plant. When the seed begins to sprout the natural inhibitors that protect it from digestion are no longer present.
- The seed is biologically activated when it is sprouted. All of the plant proteins, oils, starches and vitamins are now bioavailable for human digestion, resulting in better nutritional absorption.
- Sprouting is the natural way to increase the vitamin, mineral and lignan content of flax and naturally stabilize the Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids.
Now…why would we put this in chips? We all know that snack foods historically have a bad reputation. Typically loaded with additives, preservatives, sugar, sodium, highly processed ingredients – and equally light in any sort of nutritional value or healthy attributes. We think there is a way to make a more nutritious snack food and that’s what we set out to do. By including sprouted ingredients like flaxseed, quinoa, black beans, broccoli and radishes we are able to boost the nutritional value of the beloved chip. In fact, 11 of our chips carry many of the same valuable vitamins and minerals of 1.5 servings of mature broccoli. Not too shabby.