Are you Sprouting Yet?

A growing trend takes foods with a healthy nutritional profile and fortifies them beyond belief.

The brussels sprout is just the tip of the iceberg. Lauded for their off-the-charts nutritional value, sprouted foods — everything from nuts, to grains to greens — are becoming more plentiful and accessible. 

“Sprouting has become trendy again due to the whole-grain and plant-based movements we’ve seen recently,” says Kimberly Snyder, celebrity nutritionist (Drew Barrymore, Channing Tatum and Fergie are fans) and author of The Beauty Detox Solution, “People are more aware of the power of plants and are looking for different ways to maximize their benefits.”

But what sets these germinators apart? Sprouting is the process by which nuts, greens, legumes and grains are turned from a dormant seed into a living plant or shoot. “During this maturation process, much of the stored nutrition within the seeds begins to multiply,” explains Snyder. “Protein, fiber and vitamin content all increase dramatically.” Sprouting also causes a surge in the plant’s enzyme production (up to 1,000 percent or more), making all these nutrients more easily digested. To reap their full benefits, eat sprouts raw. “Sprouts tend to be very delicate. Cook them, and you’ll lose most of their nutritional value,” says Chef Scott Halverson, who incorporates a variety of shoots into his dishes at Prasino, an eco-friendly farm-to-table restaurant in Chicago.

Here, a rundown of sprouted offerings that do the body especially good: