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The GIANT value of little SPROUTS

By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal

The river’s stillness brought little comfort. The lure of the Grand Canyon’s beauty, bathed as it was in shades of mocha latte, could only be rivaled by the intensity of the white water that lay ahead. Always moving forward. No turning back. I listened with a sweaty desperation. Hidden by a twist of the canyon wall, the crushing roar of the next rapid called out a serenade. Each day provided me with one brief reprieve from the tandem thrills of gazing at magnificent beauty mixed with the experience of the silt filled icy waters. Then, white knuckled and soaked from a fury of foam, sound and movement, I would embark on a new experience. It was at this mid-day break (known as lunch time) that I started my love affair with sprouts!

Our female guide, with a “gnarly” California accent, would refresh the sprout bag with a dip in the dark river. Her shoulders, broadened from the daily demand of the oars, were many times the size needed for the task. Ironically, the liquid that threatened our lives each day on the Colorado brought life to the tiny sprouts, and then to the guides and participants. After huddling in the 12-foot raft like scared, wide-eyed sheep slathered with SPF 30, we would lounge on the hot sands while our guides prepared lunch. Whole grain bread, cream cheese and black olives would be the frame for the artistic bunches of green and white sprouts. Pleasantly surprised, I found a true love for the taste of those micro plants. I craved sprouts even after going home where my life was not resting on air-filled tubes balanced between recreation and death!

Surviving a week of rafting in the Grand Canyon was challenging, but I was unaware of the difficulties that I would face when trying to grow my own sprouts at home. Initially it appeared that I was very successful. The sprouts sprouted, but so did the fuzzy mold clinging to my little nutrient-rich buddies. After trying the hemp sprouting bag and the fancy ceramic stackable trays, I hit the bottle… the one with the screen-topped lid for easy rinsing. I am sure that these devices have worked for someone. I found that if I forgot a single rinsing, which I often did, mold would suddenly appear. I needed something more automated and more forgiving. After all, who has time to baby sit for a bag of alfalfa seeds?

As quickly and as skillfully as I had navigated the rapids of Lava Falls, I searched online for a promising solution. Soon my Freshlife Automatic Sprouter arrived. I grew tired of throwing away handfuls of tainted shoots, so I broke down and read the instructions. Within days, the sprouts reached toward the heavens like big horned sheep charging up the steep and rocky canyon walls. Best of all, the sprouts required little more than changing water in the basin once or twice daily.

Besides a having great flavor, sprouts may be one of nature’s most healthful foods. They are packed with nutrients and several types have been shown to be preventative or have a therapeutic effect with health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and several forms of cancer. 1 2 Broccoli sprouts top the list!

Below are a bunch of great reasons to add sprouts to your diet.  This and more information can be found on the website of the International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA). This group may not be as large as the NRA or AARP, but, again, don’t let the size fool you!


  • Alfalfa sprouts have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley.
  • The protein content of meat is about 19% and eggs are 13% (and 11% fat), but soybean sprouts have 28% protein, and lentil and pea sprouts are 26%. Soybeans sprouts have twice the protein of eggs and only 1/10 the fat.
  • Radish sprouts have 29 times more Vitamin C than milk (29mg vs. 1mg) and 4 times the Vitamin A (391 IU vs. 126). They have 10 times more calcium than a potato (51mg vs. 5mg) and contain more vitamin C than a pineapple.
  • An amino acid analog present in alfalfa demonstrates resistance to pancreatic, colon cancers and leukemia.
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers found substantial amounts of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates in broccoli sprouts. These compounds protect cells from becoming malignant. Broccoli sprouts contain 10-100 times higher levels of these enzymes than do the adult plants.
  • Plant estrogens in alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean sprouts function similarly to human estrogen but without the side effects. They increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown (osteoporosis). They are helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breasts tumors.
  • Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of saponins, which lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats.
  • Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that help prevent DNA destruction and the ongoing effects of aging.

While horrified as the raft thrashed through each roaring rapid, I could only think about one single thing! No, it was not sprouts- it was SURVIVING! But after avoiding death each day, those sprout sandwiches did taste great! If you are looking for a nice way to jazz-up your boring salad or sandwich or to add highly nutritious and health-enhancing veggies to your diet, grab a bag of seeds and just add water. When it comes to nutrition, big value can come in little packages!

1 "Broccoli sprouts: an exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens.", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1997 Sep 16;94(19):10367-72, Fahey JW, Zhang Y, Talalay P. Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory and Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.