When purchasing wheat products like pasta, bread or other types of baked goods, the healthy choice is to look for something made from whole grain. This basically means that the bran and germ layers of the wheat kernel were retained as the wheat was processed into flour. This is an important consideration because those layers contain a lot of the grain’s nutrients.
Now there’s another option besides whole grain – soaked and sprouted wheat. As discussed in the earlier article about quinoa, amaranth and millet, soaking whole grains and allowing them to sprout removes potentially harmful but naturally occurring substances and increases nutritional content.
Although germination may reduce some of the gluten in wheat it does not unfortunately clear out all of the substance. Read on and learn the pros and cons of soaked and sprouted wheat products (and be sure to also check out recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice).
Soaked and Sprouted Wheat Products Benefits:
In a simple comparison between 1 slice of sprouted bread and the same serving of white bread, the former contains slightly more proteins and almost twice as much dietary fiber:
Sprouted bread = 2.37 grams protein, 1.1 grams dietary fiber
White bread = 1.91 grams protein, 0.6 grams dietary fiber
Sprouted bread is made from flour that’s ground sprouted wheat. White bread on the other hand is usually made from flour that comes from just the wheat endosperm. There is actually little nutritional difference between whole wheat and sprouted wheat (as the latter is the germinated seed of the former) but there is a noticeable gap between whole grain wheat and regular wheat. Soaking and sprouting simply takes a few steps further in improving the quality of whole grain wheat.
The proportional increase in nutrients is due to the process of germination. A seed contains growth-inhibiting enzymes that keep it stable as a seed. With the right stimulus of moisture and temperature these growth inhibitors are unlocked and nutrients become more available.
It’s not just the proteins, the ratio of vitamins and minerals improve as well. Sprouting reduces some of the phytic acid in the grain. Since this substance binds with minerals, sprouted wheat has more bioavailable minerals.
Soaked and Sprouted Wheat Products Risks:
Gluten is another one of the potentially harmful substances that get broken down during germination. However this doesn’t mean that sprouted wheat and products made from it are gluten-free. There’s just less of it. This is probably the reason why some people with a small degree of gluten-sensitivity are able to tolerate moderate consumption of baked goods made from sprouted wheat flour. Nevertheless caution should be exercised and medical advice sought when deciding to include soaked and sprouted wheat products in your diet.
Soaked and Sprouted Wheat Products Practical Uses:
You can take any whole wheat baking recipe and substitute with sprouted wheat flour on a 1:1 ratio. Naturally there will be differences in texture and flavor. Bread made in this manner for example will be dense, chewy, and have a sweet nutty flavor.
Some suggest using sourdough starter instead of yeast and kneading the dough a little longer to get sprouted bread to rise in similar fashion to regular or whole wheat bread. Given its peculiar baking characteristics, such flour is said to be more suited to flatbreads and cookies. Essene bread is one traditional recipe that is specifically made from sprouted wheat.
A non-baking use of such flour is as a thickening agent in soups or sauces. One thing to note about sprouted wheat flour is that it can have more moisture than regular flour. This means you might need to use more to reach the appropriate amount of thickness.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of non-GMO corn 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: