There are a number of significant health benefits produced by sprouting whole wheat berries. These benefits are not speculation or derived just from conventional wisdom. Rather, they have been demonstrated in peer-reviewed laboratory experimentation.
When one considers the plant that results from the germination of any seed, including wheat berries, it is not difficult to conceive of how much energy and nutrients are packed into these little parcels. These nutrients are released and multiply rapidly through the amazing process of germination when the seed encounters optimum conditions.
[box type="note"]Part of the parcel is made up of constituents, which keep the seed from germinating until conditions warrant. This allows for some seeds such as wheat to have incredibly long viability. Wheat berries discovered in the Egyptian pyramids was found to be viable after thousands of years.[/box]
Hence, the immediate benefits of sprouting wheat berries are not only to multiply nutrients, but also to neutralize the powerful inhibitors, which keep the seeds viable. These includes phytic acid, which inhibits absorption of several essential minerals including iron, calcium, copper and magnesium.
If whole grains are consumed without prior soaking in a slightly acidic solution overnight or sprouted the phytic acid will bind with the essential minerals that we eat and keep us from digesting them. This will inevitably lead to mineral deficiencies and may play a role in the widespread incidence of osteoporosis.
Enzyme inhibitors in the seeds are also neutralized. If the grain is not sprouted or soaked these inhibitors can neutralize our own enzymes in our digestive tract, which are essential to our good health. At the same time, enzymes conducive to plant growth are produced. These are very beneficial to us and are rapidly used up in the early growth stages. Hence, they can only be enjoyed by eating sprouted wheat berries.
[box type="info"]The process of germination dramatically increases vitamin content especially antioxidant vitamins. In a study at the University of Alberta it was demonstrated that Vitamins C and E and carotene, which were barely detectable prior to germination steadily increased to high levels.[/box]
A study from the University of Camerino in Italy supported the increase in antioxidants and showed how they were able to prevent cancer cells from forming and attenuate existing cancerous cells. The antioxidants scavenge free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to DNA.
Now, before you run out to buy some wheat berries to sprout you should know you probably will not find something this healthy in your local grocery store. Most of the stuff there is processed and/or refined. You should be able to find them with a bit of rooting around, preferably organically grown, not necessarily certified. I buy mine bulk from a local, family run, organic grain farm and mill.
I have found several tasty and satisfying ways to make them a part of my regular fair. I usually sprout about a cup or two at a time by soaking them for 12 hours in a mason jar with a screen for a lid. This facilitates rinsing them before covering them in water and a couple of times a day after draining them.
You can experiment with how long to sprout them for depending on how you plan to prepare them. As I generally crack them in a hand-mill after dehydration I only sprout them for a day or two. Then I spread them on a large tray and stick them in an oven preheated to less than 150 degrees F. I turn the oven off and turn the oven light on and they are usually dry in less than a day.
I crack them so they don’t need to be cooked as long to prepare the dishes, but a mill is not essential. I then use them to make cream of wheat, which is very tasty sweetened with honey and naturally produced Maple Syrup. I also add a little Stevia, which is a health topic for another discussion.
The sprouted grains can also be added to soups, which adds a nice flavor and chewy texture, not to mention the benefits of additional vitamins and enzymes. They also can be used with a variety of root vegetables or whatever you fancy to make casseroles.
If you want some very healthy, inexpensive staple meals the soups and casseroles can provide these. You can insure that you are consuming all of the nutrients provided by eating meat, without the expense. Prepare the soups and casseroles using a good beef or chicken stock.
Again, you probably won’t be able to but this at your local grocery store and may have to make it from scratch as I do. For me, this means finding free range chickens and obtaining beef knuckle bones, marrow bones and meaty neck or rib bones from pasture fed stock. I generally simmer these for a couple of days to extract all of the nutrients.
[box type="note"]The thing is, sprouted wheat berries are tasty, versatile and relatively inexpensive in view of the incredible health benefits they provide.[/box]