Voted the “top advertising slogan of all time” in 2012, the 1967 phrase “beanz meanz heinz” is probably more commonly repeated across many a school playground as “beanz meanz fartz!”
Beans, like all legumes, are good for your health. As long as your diet is properly balanced they can be eaten as a substitute for meat. Beans contain protein, lots of complex carbohydrates, no cholesterol and little fat. They are a good source of B vitamins, potassium, and fibre.
But that’s not all. It is possible to increase the nutritional value of the humble bean. You can unlock the full potential of beans, or any seeds, simply by soaking them.
Soaking seeds in water allows them to germinate or sprout. It neutralises enzyme inhibitors thus releasing the beneficial enzymes. Sprouted seeds have a rich mix of vitamins and minerals, amino acids, proteins, enzymes and phytochemicals. Notably they have a higher vitamin C and B vitamin content and significantly more carotene (which is converted to vitamin A by the body).
The enzyme inhibitors that stops seeds from germinating are neutralised by soaking. The activity of these inhibitors is not limited to the seed; they also affect the enzymes in our digestive tract. One such inhibitor is Phytic acid, which will block the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Another playground rhyme, “Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat the more you fart!” may never have come into existence if more people soaked their beans. The complex sugars that cause many people to have excess intestinal gas are broken down during the sprouting process.
Put simply, sprouting your beans and seeds provides you with an even healthier meal than in their dormant, pre-soaked state.
How to sprout your seeds
Sprouting seeds is simple; it’ll take very little of your time over a few days.
- Place the seeds in the bottom of a jar and then fill with water.
- Leave to soak at room temperature for 12-24 hours then drain the water out.
- Rinse the seeds thoroughly with fresh water.
- Return the seeds to the jar and allow to stand – do not add more water.
- Repeat steps 3-4 two or three times per day, ensuring they do not dry out, until the seeds have sprouted sufficiently.
- Finally, rinse with fresh water and use immediately.
Depending on what you’ve sprouted, you can use them in a variety of ways, hot or cold: salads, wraps, smoothies, juices, sandwiches, stews and curries. Or how about just as a snack on their own?