Almonds are some of the healthiest nuts known to us. They are rich sources of complete proteins, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. Almonds are remarkable for their cholesterol and sugar lowering properties. One way to increase the nutritional content of these raw nuts is by sprouting them, like we usually do for legumes and seeds. The regular raw almonds are used for making healthy sprouts. There is no need to blanch or cook them briefly.
Sprouted Almond Nuts: An Overview
The benefits of incorporating sprouts in the daily diet need no introduction for health conscious people. Nutritionally, they are superior to dried seeds and nuts. Both raw almonds and their sprouts are healthy food items, which are popularly consumed in the raw diet approach. Also, they are special treats for providing essential amino acids and quality proteins, especially for vegetarians. All you need to know about almond sprouts, including their nutrient content, health benefits and the procedure for sprouting are presented below.
Nut sprouts have higher nutritional value than the raw ones. Serving half an ounce of almond sprouts (about 12 nuts) yields 45 calories, with an estimated 5.5 g fats, 3 g proteins, 3 g carbohydrates and 3 g dietary fibers. In comparison to these, 12 whole kernels of raw almonds contain 80 calories. They provide 7 g fats, 1.5 g fiber and 3 g each of proteins and carbohydrates. Read more on calories in almonds.
It is to be borne in mind that almond sprouts retain all the nutrients that are present in their raw form. Hence, the nutrition facts of almonds are nearly similar to that of sprouted nuts. They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, vitamin E, B vitamins, proteins, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. The good point with almond sprouts is, they are free of sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol.
As a nut or a seed germinates, some of the beneficial enzymes present in the sprouted version get activated, which otherwise are locked in the kernels. Say for example, the lipase enzyme that acts on fats becomes active only after the nut is sprouted. This along with other enzymes break down the complex nutrients to simpler forms, thereby contributing to health benefits of almond sprouts.
How to Sprout Almonds
How to sprout almonds at home? First of all, wash almonds and add them in a bowl. Pour water to cover the almonds and put a lid. Continue soaking almonds for 10 minutes, drain excess water and wash again. Now, wet a thick cotton cloth and lay over a shallow dish. Spread pre-soaked almonds evenly over it. Cover them with another damp cotton cloth and keep in a cool place.
After you are done with the above steps, regularly check the almonds. Ensure that you keep the cloth damp (not wet or drippy) by spraying water with a misting bottle. Considering that you have maintained them moist and kept them out of sunlight, these nuts will sprout within 1 day or at the most 1½ days. Accordingly, check them frequently to get good textured almond sprouts. You will notice slight bulging of the nuts, some of them having sprouts on the pointed end.
Sprouted Almonds Vs. Raw Almonds
The difference between sprouted and raw almonds mainly lies in the nutritional value and taste. Sprouted ones are easy to digest and are considered more nutritious than raw nuts. As far as the taste is concerned, the sprouted version is soft, crunchy in texture and sweet. While some love to have strong flavored raw almonds, others enjoy the sweeter, moist, tender and crispy almond sprouts.
In order to enjoy nutrient-dense sprouted almonds, they should be consumed within 1-2 days. Also, to arrest the sprouts and prevent further growth within these period, store them in the refrigerator. If preferred, peel off the skin and enjoy them raw as they are. You can also use them in making almond milk, or add it in breakfast cereals, granola, sweet goodies and salad dressing to suit your taste buds.