Bean sprouts . . . I know they’re good for you, but I’ve never really given them a go before. Now I have two boxes of them to munch through in a week – 454g of sprouting lentils, chick peas, aduki and mung beans.
Bean Sprout Nutrients
All the nutrients that go into making a plant are collected in their seeds. These nutrients burst into life when the seeds begin to sprout, so these boxes of bean sprouts are really packing a punch. The label tells me that the sprouts are ‘nutritious and delicious eaten hot or cold’ and are full of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins.
On further investigation I find that all are a good source of protein and fibre, plus:
• Raw sprouted lentils contain: very good levels of vitamin C, folic acid and manganese and good levels of thiamin, iron, phosphorus and copper.
• Raw sprouted aduki (or adzuki) beans contain: vitamin A, B, C and E, calcium, iron and niacin.
• Raw sprouted mung beans contain: very good levels of a vitamins C and K, riboflavin, folic acid, copper and manganese, and good levels of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
• Unsprouted chick peas (garbanzo) contain: very good levels of molybdenum and manganese, and good levels of folic acid, copper, phosphorus, and iron. (I am still looking for reliable information on the nutrients in sprouted chick peas.)
Beans vs Bean Sprouts
Before it sprouts, a bean contains enzyme inhibitors, which prevent it from growing. These enzyme inhibitors also make the beans harder for the body to digest.
As the bean sprouts the enzyme inhibitors are deactivated, which makes the sprouts much easier to digest. This means our bodies can gain more nutritional value from the bean sprouts than the actual beans.
In order to sprout, a bean must have enough energy and nutrients to transform it into a plant so when sprouting occurs the bean is at its nutritional peak. Weight for weight, sprouted beans have a much higher nutritional content.
Random Bean Sprout Stir Fry
For my evening meal I decide to try them hot and opt for a stir fry. As I look for other things to put in the wok, I notice the red cabbage from last week, still in its prime. I chop a third off and shred it. Then I slice up the yellow pepper and some spring onions. I serve the stir fry with egg-fried rice with a splash of soy sauce. It’s a very tasty and colourful meal, and the bean sprouts turn out to be really lovely – a little nutty with a delicate crunch.
Using up random items from my veg box in this way has inadvertently led to me eating a rainbow, something we are told is good for getting a wider range of nutrients into our diet. I would never have bought a red cabbage or a yellow pepper in my regular shop so this has been a good lesson. Both of these veg tasted great so I won’t rule them out again.