What exactly are sprouted foods, and do we need to be eating them? We investigated

It can be hard to keep up with all the health trends these days. For example, one second we’re being told coconut oil is a life-saver, the next we’re being instructed to cut down on it. You may have heard your fair share about sprouted foods lately, and if you’re not sure what those are all about, don’t worry — you’re definitely not the only one who is slightly confused.

The most commonly seen sprouted foods out there are whole grains, whether they come in the form of bread, granola, or cereal. Actually, that little cafe down the street that makes really good avocado toast probably boasts that it comes on a slice of sprouted bread.

But what exactly is sprouted food? Is it ~that~ much better for us than the regular stuff?

HelloGiggles spoke with someone who knows all about the sprouted food game. Meet Stan Smith, the founder and President of Silver Hills Bakery, a company based in Canada that has been making delicious, wholesome foods since 1989. Their specialty is comforting, sprouted breads that taste phenomenal and are packed with nutrition. (Their Organic Cinnamon Raisin flavor is to die for.)

"Sprouting is nature’s way of unlocking valuable nutrients, making them more digestible and absorbable," Smith explains to HG.

Smith suggests we think of it this way: Whole grains are full to the brim with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. When you germinate these grains with water and warmth, they begin to sprout a new plant, which “activates an increased amount of essential nutrients and enzymes.”

So when you sprout whole grains, an enzyme inhibitor called phytic acid is broken down, and Smith says this allows better absorption of all the good stuff: protein, fats, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

In other words, you’re getting way more nutrition from sprouted foods.

In fact, when you sprout whole grains, you’re getting up to 10 times more vitamins and four times more folate. Munching on sprouted bread, which has a lower glycemic index level than regular bread, will boost your metabolism and level out your blood sugar. Sprouted bread is also lower in carbs than the other stuff, which means you won’t feel heavy or sluggish after eating it.

"Sprouted breads help mental focus," Smith adds. "Complex carbs fuel the brain and vitamins B and C give a boost of focus and mental alertness."

This sounds almost too good to be true, right? So what’s the catch?

Because of the complex sprouting process, it’s not uncommon for sprouted foods to taste like a slab of unseasoned cardboard. Sad, but true. That’s why it’s very easy to find sprouted nosh that doesn’t exactly look or taste appetizing.

Smith is fully aware of this fact, though, and Silver Hills Bakery has put in their work to make sure that their products taste as good, if not better than, the everyday stuff.

“Through close to 30 years of sprouting we cracked the code on making our sprouted bread taste like regular bread with a soft, fluffy texture,” Smith says. When grains are sprouted correctly, the bread will have a nutty flavor that’s absolutely irresistible.

Because of the overwhelming success of Silver Hills, Smith also founded One Degree Organic Foods, which makes granola, cereal, and breads. All the ingredients are straight from organic farms that deliver non-GMO, sustainable goods.

Imagine your favorite breakfast food, and you can find it from One Degree in a healthier, sprouted form, like Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps, Sprouted Raisin Bran, and Sprouted Oat Honey Hemp Granola.

Smith says sprouted breads and products like these have an immensely positive impact on your digestion. “Many of our customers have told us that while other breads affect their digestion, they enjoy our sprouted bread without any digestive issues,” he says.

If you struggle with any kind of digestive issues — gas, bloating, indigestion — you should consider making the switch over to sprouted foods. Consuming less phytic acid might be exactly what you need to better digest the foods you love most.

Not only do sprouted breads, cereals, granolas, and even flours taste just as good as the foods you’ve been eating, but they’re just as versatile. You can make your favorite sandwiches, bake your favorite treats, and whip up your favorite breakfasts with anything sprouted. The possibilities are truly endless.

No matter what, we could all benefit from eating more sprouted foods in our life. And if they taste better than the original? Well, that’s a very happy coincidence indeed.

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