Cereal sprouts: composition, nutritive value, food applications.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1980;13(4):353-85.
The practice of sprouting of cereal grains has become popular in the western world. Sprouted grains are thought of as having exceptional nutritive value. Sprouting is easy and can be done without sophisticated equipment. Untreated seeds of good quality and high germination percentage are placed in an environment of adequate water, a desirable temperature, and a certain composition of gases in the atmosphere for several days for sprouting. The sprouts can be kept for a few days to over a week under refrigeration. They can be used in many different foods including breakfast items, salads, soups, casseroles, pasta, and baked products. Sprouting of grains causes increased enzyme activity, a loss of total dry matter, an increase in total protein, a change in amino acid composition, a decrease in starch, increases in sugars, a slight increase in crude fat and crude fiber, and slightly higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Most of the increases in nutrients are not true increases, however. They simply reflect the loss of dry matter, mainly in the form of carbohydrates, due to respiration during sprouting. As total carbohydrates decreases, the percentage of other nutrients increases. There are no nutritional evaluations of cereal sprouts in humans. Animal studies with cattle, pigs, chickens, and rats have failed to show a superior nutritive value of sprouted grains over ungerminated grains. Studies with humans are not likely to produce more encouraging results.