Most, but not all, antinutrients are destroyed or reduced by cooking. Soaking and leaching are necessary to reduce some antinutrients, particularly in some varieties of bean and other legumes. Soaking and sprouting seeds also reduces phytates. Soybeans, for example, contain a 'tryptophane inhibiter' that interferes with the absorption of the amino acid 'tryptophane'. The inhibitor can be neutralized both by cooking and by sprouting. Fortunately the sprouted root must be 3 to 4 inches long for this to be largely complete.
Sprouts have a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, nitrosamines, trace minerals, bioflavonoid and chemo-protectants such as sulphoraphane and isoflavone (which work against toxins, resist cell mutation and invigorate the body's immune system), than at any other point in the plant's life. Two of the most critical nutrients for humans are folic acid, essential for normal cell division, immune response and correct development of the fetus in the womb, and thiamine and vitamin B1 which are essential for metabolizing the carbohydrates in seeds, nuts, and tubers. Legumes, interestingly, are particularly rich sources of both these fundamentally important elements. Research shows that sprouts are a veritable fountain of youth. Sprouts abound with antioxidants, they are full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Click here for a Chart showing Nutrient values in the common Mung Bean.
Sprouts provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes of any food per unit of calories. Seeds multiply during sprouting from 8-15 times their weight. Sprouts are the logical choice, abounding with antioxidants, proteins, vitamins (especially B vitamins and E), minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll and much more. Sprouts are delicious and colourful baby plants in their prime.
Sprout Grower's Dome Created by Tony Hornick
Seeds contain 'antinutrients' - substances such as saponins, tannins, 'protein splitting enzymes' inhibitors, and phytates. These compounds reduce the body's ability to access the nutrients in seeds. The type, and amount of anti-nutrient varies both with the species of plant, and with the local variety of the species. Common beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, for example, have a wide range of phytic acid and tannin concentrations - with white seeded beans having the least tannins-depending on the variety. Some have several different anti-nutrients, some have few, some have relatively a 'lot' of any one anti-nutrient, some have very little.