Have you read elsewhere that ‘soaked seeds’ are as nutritious as properly grown sprouts? If so, the facts in this blog post will explain why this statement is false. And will help you understand that feeding soaked pseudo-sprouting blends is no better than feeding dry seed.
Do you want a process that’s quick? Or, do you want one that provides the best nutrition for your birds?
If you’re like most of us – you want both!
– A simple process providing the best nutrition possible for the parrots and other birds under your care –
Sprout for Where You Live
You must learn to sprout in a manner compatible with the climate where you live. My book, “The Complete Guide to Successful Sprouting for Parrots”, (CURRENTLY BEING COMPLETELY REVISED) will teach you this. It is the only book written on this topic for parrots and finches.
Buy Sprouts for Growing
In order to grow beautiful and delicious sprouts you must also use a sprouting blend formulated with ingredients that have a compatible germination and growth rate.
Feeding ‘soaked seed’ pseudo-sprouting blends is no better than feeding dry seeds.
Understanding Sprouting Terms
As this article educates you in the striking difference between soaked verses sprouted seeds let’s define a few terms – soaking, ‘seed’, germination and sprouting.
Soaking is the process of putting any sproutable food (seeds, grains, nuts or legumes) in water for a period of time. The word ‘seed’ actually has two definitions. The dictionary defines ‘seed’ as a ripened plant ovule containing an embryo that after germination can form a new plant. The word ’seed’ also describes a food category. Other sproutable food categories include beans (or legumes), cereals (or grains) and nuts.
When a sproutable food is soaked it absorbs water, this triggers biochemical reactions inside and germination begins. Germination is the process through which a plant begins its growth and development from a seed. The word sprout – or sprouting – is defined as ‘to put forth buds or shoots’. Sprouting occurs after the seed germinates and is allowed to grow for a period of time.
The Sprout Growing Process
According to Brian Clement, PhD, LNC, in the book, Living Foods for Optimum Health, germination results when seeds, grains, legumes or nuts are soaked in water. Water removes certain metabolic inhibitors that protect the seed from bacterial growth while also preserving it during its dormant state. During germination the seed springs to life, increasing its nutritional value and digestibility. Germination is the first step in sprouting. Sprouting carries the germination process one step further, resulting in a variety of living foods. Living foods that are germinated and sprouted give us the most concentrated natural source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. (1)
Growth From Sprouting Increases Nutrients
“Sprouting grains causes increased activities of hydrolytic enzymes, improvements in the contents of total proteins, fat, certain essential amino acids, total sugars, B-group vitamins, and a decrease in dry matter, starch and anti-nutrients. Improvements in amino acid composition, B-group vitamins, sugars, protein and starch digestibility, and decrease in phytates and protease inhibitors are the metabolic effects of the sprouting process.” (2) Hydrolytic enzymes break down protein, carbohydrate, and fat molecules into their simplest units.
Protein Levels Increases Over Growing Time
One study was conducted using, Black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata) also called cowpeas. After soaking the cowpeas for 12 hours, seed groups were allowed to grow for 24, 36 and 48 hours. This study demonstrated that the legumes allowed to grow for 48 hours contained the highest levels of digestible protein and starch. (3)
Vitamins are Created and Levels Multiply with Growth
Vitamins, by nature, are very perishable. The fresher a food is when eaten, the higher its vitamin content. The vitamin content of some sproutable foods can increase by up to 20 times their original value after several days of sprouting. When mung beans sprouts are compared to the dry legumes, the sprouts have vitamin B increases, of – B1 (thiamine) up 285%, B2 (riboflavin) up 515%, and B3 (niacin) up 256%. When compared with mature vegetable plants, sprouts can yield vitamin contents 30 times higher than vegetables. (4)
When barley was soaked, germinated and allowed to grow the longer the grain grew, the higher the vitamin levels. Certain vitamins such as alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) and beta-carotene (Vitamin A precursor) are produced during the growth process. (5). See chart below.
When doing the research in preparation for writing my column this information originally appeared in I located and reviewed an overwhelming volume of research papers covering a variety of studies scrutinizing sproutable foods. The sproutable foods discussed in these documents include garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black-eyed peas (cowpeas), rice beans, lentils, mung beans, fenugreek, alfalfa, broccoli, millet, canola and sunflower seeds, wheat and barley, while one paper discussed the nutritional sprouting results in over 90 sproutable foods. The information presented here is just the tip of the iceberg.
After sifting through all this fact-based information – accumulated over the past four decades – the scientific research community has reached a conclusion. The consensus across the board is that foods that are soaked, germinated and allowed to grow for a period of time become more nutrient dense the longer they grow.
Soaked Seed = Dry Seed = Malnutrition
So, now if you come across statements from other sources claiming that, ‘soaked seeds are more nutritious than sprouts’, you have learned that the scientific research community strongly disagrees.
Ending Avian Malnutrition and providing proper and balanced nutrition for parrots and finches, is a goal I am committed to achieving. Avian malnutrition is such a vital topic that impacts birds everywhere, it’s essential that accurate, factual and responsible information be presented on the nutritional value of sprouted foods versus soaked seeds.
(1) Living Foods for Optimum Health. Brian Clement, PhD, LNC (Legal Nurse Consultant), Prima Publishing, (1998), Clement is one of three co-directors for the Hippocrates Health Institute, West Palm Beach, FL, USA.
(2) ‘Nutritional improvement of cereals by sprouting’, Chaven, J. and Kadam, S.S. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, (1989).
(3) ‘Antinutrients and digestibility (in vitro) of soaked, dehulled and germinated cowpeas”’(Black-eyed peas), Preet K., Punia D., Department of Foods and Nutrition, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India, Nutrition Health (2000).
(4) How Can I Grow and Use Sprouts as Living Food?, Shipard, I. Stewart Publishing, (2005).
(5) ‘Hydroponic grass’, Dr Derek Cuddeford, BSc, MSc, PhD, Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh University, Scotland, UK, In Practice, (1989).
The complete article discussing this topic, ‘A Sprouting Controversy, Soaked versus Sprouted’ first appeared in Leslie Morán’s monthly column, ‘The Holistic Parrot’ in the October, 2010 issue #153, of Parrots magazine. Back issues are available at www.parrotmag.com