Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Benefits of Sprouted Legumes (Beans and Lentils)

Legumes have been part of the human diet for as long as grains. The Native Americans have in fact cultivated beans as far back as 7000 BC. They even have a traditional companion planting technique which utilizes this legume along with corn and squash. Evidence of its historical cultivation has also been found in other parts of the world. Beans were discovered stored in ancient Egyptian tombs and they’re mentioned in Homer’s Iliad.

Lentils and other types of beans have been and still are known today as the best sources of protein. Various methods of preparation have been invented to make their digestion easier and thus maximize their nutritional value. One such method is to manually germinate legume seeds and turn them into bean sprouts.

Continue reading to discover more of the benefits of sprouted legumes (and be sure to also check out recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice).

Sprouted Legumes Benefits:

Legumes are generally abundant sources of protein. Around 30% of the calories provided by lentils for example come from its protein content. In certain regions of the world, beans and other types of legumes are used as a cheap substitute for meat. Unlike meat however the essential amino acid methionine is comparatively low in most types of legumes. One way to compensate for this is to consume a combination of legumes and grains. With most grains low in lysine, the two types of food complement each other adequately and enable a more complete delivery of proteins.

Beans are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber. This is the type of fiber that’s responsible for providing a greater feeling of satiety because it slows down the transition of food through the stomach and intestines. It also delays the absorption of glucose, which mitigates sudden changes in blood sugar levels, and lowers cholesterol especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

As mentioned in the previous article about quinoa, amaranth and millet, sprouting can improve the nutritional profile of grains. The process reduces the amount of phytic acid, which hinders the absorption of certain minerals, and triggers beneficial enzymatic activity. The same is also true of legumes. One study that included lentils and mung beans among other types of legumes compared the nutrients between their seeds and sprouts. As it turns out, the sprouts have more Vitamin C, and B vitamins thiamine, niacin and riboflavin compared to the seeds.

It is commonly known that eating beans can produce some extra intestinal gas. This is due to the complex sugars (oligosaccharides) in legumes that can’t be absorbed by the intestines but are consumed by gut flora instead. Much of these sugars are broken down with sprouting thus making sprouted legumes far more digestible.

You’re probably quite aware that there needs to be a balance between acidic and alkaline foods in your diet. Another advantage that sprouted beans and lentils provide is that they are alkaline-forming. In their seed form, legumes are actually acid-forming just like grains. Since sprouting practically turns them into small vegetables they shift towards the other side of the spectrum.

Sprouted Legumes Practical Uses:

Although the process of sprouting beans and lentils can be tedious, the sprouts themselves are far easier and quicker to cook than their seed counterparts. They can even be mixed into salads and eaten raw. The other advantage with sprouted legumes is that you can still use them as you would the seeds.

For example you can still make hummus out of sprouted garbanzos. The same ingredients apply and you can mix and turn them all into paste with a food processor. Even sprouted kidney beans will make a good traditional Mexican chili. It will be easier to prepare in fact as you wouldn’t need to boil the beans for too long. The only difference in these dishes is the added nutrition from the sprouting.

Sprouted beans are common in Asian cuisine, stir-fried or mixed into soups. One dish that typically makes use of mung been sprouts is spring rolls. You can mix the sprouts with other chopped vegetables, wrap them in spring roll wrapper, and then fry.

It is important to note that bean and lentil sprouts are very perishable. If you’re going to be doing your own sprouting, use just enough for immediate preparation and consumption. For store-bought sprouted beans, make sure you get the freshest batch. Rinse and check the sprouts thoroughly, snipping off any parts that have discolored.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of gluten-free oats in your quest to Become Superhuman.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the grains and legumes on Superhuman Food Pyramid:

Eat:

Wild Rice

Brown Or White Rice

Sprouted, Organic Quinoa, Amaranth Or Millet

Sprouted Legumes (Beans & Lentils)

Gluten-Free Oats

Organic Full-Fat Yogurt

Moderate:

Soaked Legumes (Beans & Lentils)

Raw Seeds & Nuts

Soaked, Organic Quinoa, Amaranth Or Millet

Regular Oats

Fresh Milled Kamut Wheat

Soaked & Sprouted Wheat Products

Non-GMO Corn

Avoid:

Canned Legumes

Any Regular Wheat Products

GMO Corn

Roasted Seeds & Nuts

Fava Beans

Soy Beans

Soy Nuts

Regular Yogurt

Cookies

Biscotti

Scones

Crackers

Bagels

Bread

Cereal

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the benefits of sprouted legumes the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of sprouted legumes.