Sprouted lentils

Hey Healthy Hotties!

If you’ve been following my recipes you’ll know that I enjoy occasionally incorporating legumes into them. Lentils, chickpeas, beans and more—they’re so full of nutrients and maybe even linked to prevention of chronic diseases. What’s not to love?

Most people boil their legumes, but that’s not the only way. Sprouting is becoming more and more popular lately, and I bet you want to know which of these preparations is better for you…

Let’s find out!

One way to compare the value of sprouted versus boiled legumes is to measure the phytonutrient levels in each. (Phytonutrients are what many scientists believe protect us from chronic diseases.) The results are inconclusive, however. Some sprouts have more phytonutrients than their boiled counterparts, some have less.

So we can also look at the cellular effects of each. Researchers thought of that, and they studied the effects of raw bean, boiled bean and sprouted bean extracts on breast cancer cells (in Petri dishes). Not surprisingly, the raw bean extract had a much lesser effect no matter the concentration—about 40 times less, in fact. Both boiled and sprouted beans, on the other hand, seemed able to actually stop the growth of these cancer cells.

These researchers also considered the effects of legumes on our brains. They looked specifically at astrocytes, star-shaped cells that proliferate in our brains and keep everything in working order. Past results suggested that elderly people who regularly consume legumes might suffer less cognitive decline. When astrocytes are damaged, they can contribute to the development of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, so it made sense to focus studies on these crucial cells.

The results? With some boiled bean extracts, the astrocytes seemed to be protected from damaging chemicals. The sprouted beans did not have the same effect. 

Personally, I find sprouted beans give me more energy, hold the life force of the plant better, and feel healthier. That’s part of the philosophy behind eating a high raw diet.

However, it’s really up to you. Beans are good for you in every form, so eat them however you most enjoy them—especially if you find them a satisfying replacement for any animal products in your diet!

There’s so much more to know about thriving on a plant-based diet! Learn more with Wild Nutrition: Your 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality.

 xx

Donna

Source:
N J Maragakis, J F Rothstein. Mechanisms of Disease: astrocytes in neurodegenerative disease. Nature Clinical Practice Neurology (2006) 2, 679-689.
A Lopez, T El-Naggar, M Duenas, T Ortega, I Estrella, T Hernandez, M P Gomez-Serranillos, O M Palomino, M E Carretero. Effect of cooking and germination on phenolic composition and biological properties of dark beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Food Chem. 2013 May 1;138(1):547-55.
X Chen, Y Huang, H G Cheng. Lower intake of vegetables and legumes associated with cognitive decline among illiterate elderly Chinese: a 3-year cohort study. J Nutr Health Aging. 2012;16(6):549-52.
J Curran. The nutritional value and health benefits of pulses in relation to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S1-2.