Sprouts or sprouts: how to germinate seeds correctly and take advantage of their nutritional properties

What is the germination of a seed? When a seed or grain has water, oxygen and heat, it germinates or sprouts to form a new plant.

During germination there are many changes in the composition of the seeds, as they have to use their carbohydrate, lipid and protein reserves for their development. ¿ What seeds can germinate ? Those of cereals , vegetables and legumes .

As a food source , the germination of seeds and grains is one of the oldest processes, with records dating back to 3000 BC, especially in China and Japan, but also in Ancient Egypt, where they consumed aromatic sprouts that changed the aroma of perspiration or sweat. .

Germination causes cereal and legume seeds to increase their nutritional value compared to the same ungerminated food.

At the same time, they are considered functional foods, because they facilitate the assimilation and use of nutrients in the body.

With germination, the antioxidant content increases and organoleptically pleasant foods are obtained that, in addition, provide significant amounts of fiber .

Sprouts or sprouts provide multiple nutritional and therapeutic benefits , as vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and enzymes are more readily available.

Along with a healthy diet, sprouts or sprouts help prevent or improve various conditions in human health and contribute to the reduction of malnutrition in infants, pregnant mothers and lactating mothers. .

How to germinate seeds step by step

It is possibly one of the oldest, cheapest and simplest processes to improve the nutritional value, protein digestibility and palatability of cereal grains and legume seeds.

For germination, domestic or industrial, there are several methods. One of the simplest and most widespread is:

1. Washing the seeds or grains in potable water; It is important that they have not been toasted or frozen , and they do not have to be mixed, as each seed or grain has its own germination time.

2. Putting the seeds to soak in drinking water exceeding three times the volume of seeds or grains.

  • Soaking time depends on the seed, but generally requires 8-15 hours.
  • The soaking temperature is important, it should not exceed 20 ° C or be less than 15 ° C.

3. Once the soaking is over, the romojo water is discarded, the seeds or grains are rinsed and placed in a jar, the lid of which is replaced by gauze or mesh.

4. The bottle is left tilted with the mouth down to facilitate the exit of excess water and allow air to enter. If they don’t have enough air intake or stagnant water between the grains, mold will form.

5. The place where the inclined bottle is to rest must be clean, warm (15-20 ° C) and dark.

6. The seeds should be rinsed in the same jar between two and four times a day.

7. When the shoots are between 2 and 3 cm, it will be necessary to put the jar in indirect natural light for about two hours a day. This will make them produce chlorophyll and the sprout will taste better.


The total germination time is approximately 3-5 days.

Once the sprout is ready for preparation, they can be stored for up to 7 days in the refrigerator or fridge; once well drained they can be transferred to a container where they can be stored.

Another of the great advantages of legume and cereal sprouts or sprouts is that they can be obtained at any time of the year and have an excellent yield.

What can go wrong when germinating seeds?

Among the most common problems for which sprouts may not perform well are:

  • The temperature : it is recommended to pay special attention to the environmental conditions of the place and the temperature of the water. Always use potable and natural water (between 15 and 20 ° C) for rinsing.
  • Humidity control : if water accumulates, mold forms; but if they dry out, they will not germinate. That is why, if the climatic conditions are of high temperatures and dry weather, it is recommended to carry out more rinses.
  • The seeds : The quality of the seeds is essential. It is recommended to purchase seeds and grains of organic origin to ensure that they have not been treated with synthetic pesticides.

sprouts benefits

Benefits of consuming sprouts and sprouts

Several studies have shown a significant increase in the digestibility of the sprouted seeds protein.

The content of B vitamins and especially vitamin C is increased , reducing antinutritional factors in legumes, such as protease inhibitors, phytic acid and lectins, causing hydrolysis of oligosaccharides (refined and stachyose) that cause flatulence.

The consumption of germinated seeds and sprouts acts on the human metabolism leading to a regeneration of the bloodstream and digestive processes , due to their high enzymatic concentration since, as they are live foods, they contain active enzymes .

The sprouts or sprouts favor the detoxification and purification processes, stimulate the secretion of the pancreas, and activate the regeneration and de-inflammation of the digestive system.

Any seed or cereal grain can germinate, although due to its flavor and texture, the most appreciated sprouts are :

  • Green soybeans ( Vigna radiata ): they are the best known sprouts, spread from Chinese food to many western preparations, they are used fresh, sautéed, steamed or boiled as an ingredient in various dishes. It is recommended for weight loss diets and to reduce excess cholesterol .
  • Wheat ( Triticum aestivum ): used to make hot dishes and drinks, as well as to obtain flours that are used in bakeries. They have less water content than bean sprouts and a higher amount of vitamin C. They are suitable for treating nervous and emotional disorders . Here you have Wheat Seeds to germinate .
  • Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa ), stand out because they contain more beta-carotenes ( vitamin A ) than tomatoes and peppers . They also stand out because, together with those of wheat, they are the ones that synthesize the most chlorophyll , with a great regenerative capacity of the cells among their main properties. Remineralization, to combat fatigue , is one of its main indications. Here you have Alfalfa Seeds to germinate .
  • Sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ), are rich in proteins, unsaturated fats, B vitamins and vitamin E , calcium, iron, phosphorus , potassium and magnesium.
  • Sesame ( Sesamum indicum ), are a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins B and E, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and calcium . It is recommended to germinate them only for 2 days, because then they can become bitter.
  • Chickpeas ( Cicer arietinum ), are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, magnesium , potassium and vitamins.
  • Lentils ( Lens culinaris ), known as aging retardants, are rich in vitamin C, protein and iron . It is recommended for people with intense physical or mental activity.


  • Mustard ( Sinapis alba ), recommended to treat digestive disorders such as gastritis , rich in lipids and vitamin C. Here are Mustard Seeds to germinate .

How are sprouts or sprouts taken?

The most common way is to consume them in cold and warm Cooking Recipes of the salad style, mixed with lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, gazpacho and salmorejo, etc. But they are also ingredients in sauces to dress salads, beaten with other ingredients such as garlic, parsley, lemon juice, among others, to give them a creamy consistency.

You can use them in your smoothies or green juices .

In the preparation of soups, stews and purees they are usually incorporated when serving them, as in other hot dishes or to accompany pasta dishes.

An increasingly widespread alternative to incorporate them into the diet is in the form of a drink, smoothies, sorbets or even accompanying yogurts.


Sources consulted

  • “Method for obtaining bean and lentil sprouts (Vicia faba L. and Lens esculenta )”, IQ Ximena Andrade Lee. National University of Colombia Specialization in Food Science and Technology.
  • “Effect of germination on the content of iron and calcium in amaranth, quinoa, pigeon pea and soybeans”, Diana C. Chaparro, Remigio Y. Pismag, Ana de Dios Elizalde C. Biotechnology in the Agricultural and Agroindustrial Sector, Vol 9, No 1. 2011
  • “Effect of germination on the content and digestibility of protein in seeds of amaranth, quinoa, soybeans and pigeon pea”, Chaparro Rojas, DC, Pismag Portilla, RI, Elizalde Correa, A., Vivas Quila, NJ and Erazo Caicedo, CA Facultad of Agricultural Sciences Vol. 8 No. 1. 2010
  • “Usefulness in feeding some germinated seeds: soybean and wheat sprouts”, Carolina Ponce de León, Ma. Esperanza Torija and Ma. Cruz Matallana. Department of Nutrition and Bromatology II Faculty of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid. 2013.
  • “Sprouts and sprouts, their benefits and how to make them at home”, María Inés Elorza. Subdirectorate for the Environment, Santiago Environment, Chile.
  • “More energy and health with sprouts”, Luisa Martín. 2005

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