This hot food trend is actually worth following.

By Beth Lipton
June 24, 2015
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Food trends lately seem to be all about bringing back age-old traditions. Look no further than bone broth, fermented foods, and ancient grains to see what I mean.

Now, add sprouted grains to the list. Here, we answer all your questions about them.

What are they?

A grain essentially is a seed with a kernel. It's biologically programmed to not grow until the environment it’s in has the optimal temperature and moisture level. The beginning of that growth process is—you guessed it—sprouting. So a sprouted grain is one that's just begun to grow.

Why should I eat sprouted grains over the regular kind that are normally found in bread and flour?

“Sprouting requires enzymes," says Cynthia Sass, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor and author of Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast ($19, "These same enzymes allow the baby plant to digest the starch in the kernel and boost the plant’s access to nutrients to promote its growth.” And when we eat these baby plants, we, in turn, enjoy the same benefits, Sass says: Easier-to-digest starch, and more nutrition. "Sprouted grains are also slightly higher in protein, because some carbohydrates are lost in the process of sprouting," she adds. "Plus, you still get the benefits of eating a whole grain.”

How do I get them into my diet?

If you’re a super-DIY kind of person, we applaud you, and here’s an excellent tutorial on how to sprout grains and flours from The Nourished Kitchen. But if you’re shorter on time, good news: There are plenty of great products containing sprouted grains available for you to try. Here are some that we like:

  • One Degree Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour ($13 for 5 lbs.,
  • TruRoots Organic Sprouted Rice and Quinoa Blend ($19 for 3 lbs.,
  • Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Grain Pasta ($37 for 6 16-oz. boxes,
  • Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Seven-Grain Flatzza ($9 for 5 pizza crusts,
  • Unique Pretzel Whole-Grain Sprouted Pretzels ($15 for 2 8-oz. bags,

Where can I learn more?

The Whole Grains Council website's a great source of information about the history of sprouted grains and recipes for using them.