By now we all have heard that whole grain bread is recommended over bread made with refined white flour. Newer on the scene is the latest buzz over sprouted grain bread.
What is it and is it better than whole grain bread we choose now?
Sprouted grain bread also uses the whole kernel of grain similarly to our current whole grain bread but is processed by breaking down the macronutrients in the grain (carbohydrate and protein) which is thought to make the micronutrients (vitamin and minerals) more absorbable. Because more of the nutrients are in a form that we are able to absorb, it can be more nutritious per slice because we are absorbing more of the nutrients including amino acids such as lysine, minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron and vitamins including B vitamins and C.
The process involves soaking the grain in water until is sprouts or germinates. After it sprouts, the grain is then processed/ground for use in baked products like bread.
The sprouted grain bread marketed as Ezekiel bread has no preservatives, refined sugar or artificial ingredients. The products can spoil quickly as a result. Because Ezekiel breads are derived in reference to Bible verses, they contain six types of grains — wheat, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans and spelt. Another version of sprouted grain bread is Essene bread which contains sprouted rye and spelt.
Food regulations do not define what sprouted grains are. Many with gluten sensitivities are turning to sprouted grain breads but will find that they still naturally contain gluten.
Sprouted grain breads can be considered complete proteins and could help vegetarians get all the amino acids and protein they need when not eating animal protein sources.
You can buy sprouted grains not just in bread versions but also as cooked side dishes and packaged as sprouted grains to use in your own recipes.
Using sprouted grains for those who desire an alternative to refined bread products is a good way to get the whole grain goodness we know we need to achieve a balanced and varied diet. Be aware that they are more expensive and harder to find than other whole grain sources so may not be the answer for everyone and especially if you need to avoid gluten.
More research is being done to investigate their nutritional composition so expect to continue to hear more about them in the future.