We provide nutritional help at Urban Athlete Training in Mt. Airy and often get questions about some of the latest food trends. One of those is using sprouts instead of lettuce for salads. Sprouts aren’t planted, but often grown in containers. They’re the seed that has sprouted after three to five days. Sprouts don’t require a light source and only need water. They don’t require ventilation, either. On the other hand, plants like lettuce use a growing medium. Lettuce requires ventilation and light for ideal growing conditions.
Sprouts can be various types of vegetables.
Since sprouts are simply seeds that are germinated and early plants, there are a number of different types that are available. You can sprout beans and peas, grains, all types of vegetables and seeds we traditionally eat, like sesame seeds and nuts. Mung beans, kamut, beets, broccoli and radishes can be sprouted as well as many other seeds, so there’s a wide variety of choices. The nutritional benefits depend on the type of sprout. As the sprout gets bigger, it offers more nutritional benefits.
You also have a wide selection of lettuce, some of which are more nutritious.
There are many types of lettuce, iceberg lettuce is one of those that’s popular, but not nearly as nutritious as other types of lettuce. Lettuce has a rich history that dates back to Egypt. It had its place in the ancient medicinal reserves. Some better known types, besides Iceberg, are butterhead, Romaine, oakleaf and crisp head. It’s high in vitamin A, C, E, K, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc. It offers antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Offers neurological benefits to help insomnia, memory, cognitive functioning and even reduce the effects of aging on the brain.
Eating sprouts may have benefits overeating the seed, as you might with beans.
When you sprout beans, the sprouts have more nutrition than the bean. That makes them a great addition to salads. However, the growing conditions required, warm moist areas, are the same conditions that make them ripe for Salmonella and E. coli. If there’s even a bit of bacteria in the seed and on the seed, it can grow to dangerous levels in hours. They must be kept in the refrigerator after purchase to reduce the potential. While there have been bacterial problems with lettuce, most of the problem occurs due to handling and packaging.
- Sprouts v lettuce shouldn’t be a problem. You can eat both. While lettuce can make a complete salad, especially if you use a wide variety of greens, it’s harder to make a salad of sprouts and not nearly as satisfying.
- One option often missing that is super nutritious are microgreens. Microgreens are grown in a medium like soil or a hydroponic pad. They require ventilation and light. They’re the leaves and stems of baby greens.
- Combining baby greens, microgreens, sprouts and lettuce is one option to get variety and a ton of nutrition. Microgreens don’t have the same bacterial problems as sprouts, but also provide more nutrition than their mature counterparts.
- Sprouts are superior to their seed counterparts. Bean sprouts compared to bean seeds contain more protein, less antinutrients and are easier to digest.
For more information, contact us today at Urban Athlete