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Innovation / 30. March 2021

Sprouted Foods As Nutritional Powerhouses

Certain foods were made from sprouted grains several thousand years ago already, such as Essener Bread. Other cultures left legumes or quinoa to soak in water for a few days before consumption. The benefits of these practices, such as increased nutrient content, breakdown of antinutritive substances, and improved digestibility, were probably already recognized at the time without any background knowledge of nutritional science. Thanks to modern research, we now know that sprouting makes our food more nutritionally valuable. Various manufacturers in the USA have now reacted to this: from flour and bars to muesli, hummus, plant-based milk, pasta, pizzas and potato chips, a wide variety of products are also offered as "sprouted". Many suppliers are now entering the European market.

Getting more from the grain: What are sprouted ingredients?

Sprouting of grains and other raw materials is based on the idea of activating the germ metabolism in the grain. In this process, cereals, legumes, seeds or kernels are first soaked in water to start the germination process. After a short time, which can vary depending on the product the process is interrupted again and the seeds are gently dried. This process leads to improved and higher availability of nutrients and better digestibility.

Nutritional and physiological advantages of sprouted ingredients

During the sprouting process, so-called antinutritive substances such as phytic acid, tannins and trypsin inhibitors are broken down. Without sprouting, phytic acid and tannins bind minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, proteins, starch and digestive enzymes. Enzyme inhibitors such as trypsin inhibitors prevent the breakdown of protein in non-germinated raw materials and thus their absorption. The breakdown of these nutrient-binding substances and enzyme inhibitors increases the availability and digestibility of nutrients.

Finally, the sprouting process activates the metabolism of the seed. New active enzymes transform complex chemical compounds in the grain into more easily digestible compounds. One example is the breakdown of amylose and amylopectin into simple sugars. In addition, the number of various vitamins, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid increases.

Especially in a vegan lifestyle, where the basic diet is mostly based on whole grains and legumes, it can be useful to break down antinutritive substances, at least in part, through proper preparation. This allows more proteins and minerals to be absorbed.

Muesli, flour and beans: New products from sprouted ingredients

Kündig’s new products include germinated grains such as oats, spelt, pseudocereals such as buckwheat and quinoa, and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas. Seeds and kernels offered include pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Also offered are finished products made from sprouted ingredients such as strawberry granola, muesli mixes and pasta.

All products made from sprouted ingredients by Kündig are grown and processed under controlled conditions in the EU. For more information about our products, visit kuendig.com/.