Eating Raw Sprout: Benefits & Risks
Sprouted foods has been frequently touted as a healthy sign or consuming
nutrient powerhouses. Sprouting increases concentrations of certain nutrients
over a food's non-sprouted version but the risk of contamination cannot be
ignored. Sprouts like radish, alfalfa, clover, soybean, and broccoli are
excellent sources of
and a wide range of different nutrients that can help maintain good health.
Outbreak of number of food borne illnesses have been linked to sprouts. The
illness seem to be caused by harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E.
coli) or Salmonella.
Seeds that are generally sprouted include alfalfa, celery,
clover, oats, radish, fenugreek, and sunflower. Soak the desired amount of
in a two-quart jar by filling the jar half-way with tepid water and covering
it with cheese-cloth or nylon, securing the cloth with a rubber band. Place
the jar in a dark area, at about room temperature, for about five hours.
After five hours, drain, rinse, and let the seeds stand without water for
about eight to twelve hours. Rinse again and drain well to prevent rotting.
For the next six days, the seeds should be rinsed and drained twice a day
using lukewarm water. They should be kept at room temperature in a dark
place. After the sixth day, place them in the light for one more day to
increase their chlorophyll content. When determining the desired amount of
seeds for each container, consider that seeds will expand about eight times
the original amount. One jar may be used as a starter and others added as
the need arises.
include rye, wheat, buckwheat, barley, millet, and rice. Their preparation
is the same as for the seeds.
- Legumes nclude lentils, mung beans, and
Due to their hardness, they require an initial soaking of about fifteen
hours. They should be rinsed twice a day and given three days for adequate
germination. One cup of beans may be used for each two-quart jar, since
expansion in their case is not so great as in the case of seeds and grains.
It should be noted that sunflower and lentil sprouts should not be larger
than the seed itself in order to be palatable. The time required for these seeds
to sprout is about two or three days.
How Sprouts Can Become Contaminated
Scientists believe that the most likely source of contamination is the seeds that are used to grow the sprouts. Seeds may become contaminated by animal manure in the field or during storage, and the conditions required to grow sprouts (like warmth and humidity) are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria. Poor hygienic practices in the production of sprouts have also caused some sprout-related outbreaks of foodborne illness in the past.
Most sprouts, including alfalfa sprouts, can only be eaten raw. This means they
are not exposed to temperatures high enough to kill bacteria that may be
present. Some sprouts, like mung bean sprouts, can also be eaten cooked. To
ensure that bacteria are destroyed, these sprouts should be cooked
They are an excellent source of enzymes, which can keep our
healthy and fit.
Sprouts are very high in protein. In fact, they can contain up to 35
percent protein. Adding sprouts to your diet will give you the necessary
protein intake required by your body minus the fat, cholesterol, and
calories that typically come with animal meats.
It is easy to digest sprouts. Its digestibility is rooted from the high
amount of enzymes that they contain. Eating sprouts can be very helpful for
people with digestive or bloating problems.
Idle choice for those seeking
The Risks of Eating Raw Sprouts
all those who enjoy eating sprouts need to take precaution in order to avoid
E. coli or Salmonella infection. Especially children, seniors and
people with weak immune systems.
The symptoms of E. coli infection can include stomach cramps,
vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms can start within one to 10 days of
eating contaminated food. A small percentage of people can develop a serious
condition called haemolytic uremic syndrome, and may need blood transfusions and
kidney dialysis. Severe cases could cause permanent kidney damage or even death.
People infected with Salmonella bacteria may experience fever,
headache, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually
start six to 72 hours after eating contaminated food, and usually last for four
to seven days. Severe cases may require hospitalization.
If you experience any of the symptoms of E. coli or Salmonella
infection, you should contact your doctor immediately.
If you are a healthy adult and want to eat sprouts, you can reduce your risk
by taking the following precautions:
Buy sprouts that have been stored at refrigerated temperatures.
Temperatures should be at or below 4°C (40°F).
Select crisp-looking sprouts. Avoid sprouts that look dark or smell
If buying bean sprouts in bulk display, use tongs, a glove or place a
bag over your hand to place the sprouts into a plastic bag.
Refrigerate the sprouts immediately when you get home. Your refrigerator
temperature should be at or below 4°C (40°F).
Respect the best-before date on prepackaged sprouts. Throw away any
unused sprouts after a few days, or as soon as they lose their crispness.
If you choose to eat mung bean sprouts, make sure they have been
thoroughly cooked to kill any bacteria that may be
present. Reduce your risk of foodborne illness by avoiding raw or
lightly-cooked mung bean sprouts.
Dated 11 November 2011