Good things come in small packages

10th August 2020 | Michaela Sparrow

Eating well and supercharging your health with whole foods doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. There are many simple foods you can add to your daily diet to give your nutrition a boost and help fight ageing. One of my favourite affordable superfoods? Sprouts.

You may have seen a variety of sprouts in the refrigerated part of the produce section, walked straight past and not even thought twice about them. But I guarantee you, after you read about their benefits and discover how easy they are to incorporate into your diet, sprouts will become something you pick up with each grocery shop.

These tiny little vegies pack a powerful nutritional punch, and also have a delicious, nutty flavour that makes them easy to hide from even the pickiest of eaters. Plus, at around $2 a packet, they’re way cheaper than any of the superfood supplements currently available.

All the small things: sprouts are incredibly nutritious, and available year-round.

Sprouts are super high in many nutrients needed for immune function, bone health, energy production and even wrinkle prevention, including vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A and iron.

It’s true that now more than ever, we’re all looking to support our wellbeing with nourishing foods. But it’s not just about today. With the projected substantial increase in the rate of many age-related and debilitating diseases such as cancers, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia over the next 50 years, plus the rising increase in infections and compromised immune systems, it’s smart to start supercharging your nutrition now so you can enjoy a long and healthy retirement later.

Adding sprouts to your diet is the perfect way to do this. There are a variety of sprouts you can buy, but here I’ve included my favourite ones.

Peace, love and mung beans: three things to help you live a long and healthy life.

Mung bean sprouts

These are super high in vitamin K, which is important for bone health and circulation – something especially beneficial for developing children and women heading into menopause. Vitamin K has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Mung beans also contain the wrinkle-fighting and immune-supporting nutrient vitamin C. This is a vitamin that’s needed for the production of collagen – a lack of vitamin C can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin, degradation of joints and even impact your heart health. Vitamin C also fights oxidative stress and free radicals.

Mung beans also contain a nice amount of iron and folate, both important for energy production, but especially important for women of childbearing age.

Lentil sprouts

These guys are a great nutritional all-rounder. They contain all the B vitamins, which are needed for energy, nervous system health and hormonal balance, and are also rich in my favourite anti-ageing nutrient, vitamin C.

Chickpea sprouts: good for your muscles and your heart.

Chickpea sprouts

Not only are these super-rich in many nutrients, they also contain a great amount of protein, so they’re perfect for vegetarians, vegans, gym junkies and those trying to lose weight. They’re also super high in fibre, which supports liver function, feeds your microbiome and keeps you full for longer. Recent studies have actually shown chickpea sprouts can help lower blood fat levels, leading to reduced levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and triglycerides (high levels lead to the hardening of the arteries and increase your risk of stroke and heart disease). Chickpea sprouts are my go-to for helping clients lose weight, regulate cholesterol and support liver health.

Sprinkle some sprouts and your meal is complete.

How to get more sprouts into your diet

There are many simple ways to add sprouts to your diet. I recommend eating them three to four times a week to get the most benefits. Here are some suggestions:

• Add to your salads
• Pop on your sandwiches
• Great as an addition to avocado on toast
• Garnish your steak, chicken or salmon with them
• Add a handful to the top of your soup
• Mix them through your guacamole or other dips
• Add to your smoothies
• Mix through your stir fries
• Eat them on their own as a healthy snack

If you’re looking for the best sprouts, I highly recommend Aussie Sprouts. They have a product called Crunchy Combo which contains all my favourites. It’s an Australian-owned company (which I feel is so important, especially right now, when purchasing food) that uses the highest quality growing and processing procedures for sprouts in Australia.

Michaela Sparrow is a naturopath, nutritionist and anti-ageing practitioner.