All about sprouted grains

Sprouted-grain bread and tortillas are great Fast Metabolism foods. They’re more nutritious and easier to digest than the regular versions—and they taste fantastic. If you’ve never tried sprouted grains, here’s the how and why.

What are sprouted grains?

They’re just what they sound like: grains that have been allowed to sprout. It’s not a newfangled, health-foody idea, either. Until about 100 years ago, we all ate sprouted grains. That’s because farmers usually hand-tied sheaves of grain and left them to dry in the fields, where some of the grain would inevitably sprout.

Modern farm machinery skips that step—but it turns out that sprouting tweaks the grain in really beneficial ways.

Sprouted vs. regular grain—what’s the difference?

When grains sprout, they fine-tune their nutrients to nourish the new baby plant. Vitamins and antioxidants are pumped up. Minerals (especially iron and zinc) become easier to absorb. Protein increases. Starch decreases.

All of this makes sprouted grains easier for your body to digest. If regular bread leaves you feeling bloated and gassy, try sprouted bread. (Sprouting doesn’t get rid of gluten, though, so take care if you’re gluten-intolerant.)

Bonus for your metabolism: Sprouted-grain foods won’t launch your blood sugar on a metabolism-blocking roller-coaster ride. That’s partly due to all the fiber (which regular whole grains have, too), but partly due to the special “flourless” method of baking sprouted grains. The softened, whole grains are simply mashed into a dough and baked. Your body processes these big pieces of whole grain more slowly than any finely ground flour, even whole-grain flour.

What do sprouted grains taste like?

If you like whole-grain bread, you’ll probably love sprouted-grain bread. Both look and taste pretty similar (in fact, you could serve someone sprouted-grain bread, and they’d probably never suspect), but sprouted-grain bread tends to be even nuttier-tasting, with nice chewy bits of whole grains.

You’ll find sprouted-grain bread, tortillas, and English muffins in most supermarkets (look in the health-food section). They’re often sold frozen because they don’t use any chemical preservatives. You should keep them frozen, too, so they’ll stay fresh until you’re ready to eat them.