Sprouted grains have been called “the fountain of youth” and acclaimed as the most enzyme-rich foods on our planet. They not only help with the digestive process but also assist and speed up recovery from trauma, injury, inflammation, and infection. All cooked and processed food are devoid of important enzymes.
Plant compounds such as enzymes, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, carotenes, phytosterols, glucosinolates, sulphorophanes, isoflavones, and others are all abundant in the embryonic or “sprout” stage of seeds. “Sprouting” is the process of germinating seeds. To get the highest benefit of enzyme concentration the sprouts must be eaten raw during the period of high enzyme activity, which is generally between two to seven days after sprouting.
Seeds like whole oats, mung beans, millet, quinoa, and peas are ideal for sprouting for an enzyme boost. By soaking seeds in water, the composition of the seed changes in numerous beneficial ways, releasing the seed’s vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, enzyme, and oxygen content. Enzymes are plentiful in raw sprouted seeds, grasses, and living vegetation.
Having enough enzymes in the body creates a protective shield and helps to prevent the onset of many diseases. Studies show that the lack of natural enzymes in your horse’s feed will decrease its absorption of nutrients . Yet most people are unaware of how greatly digestive enzymes support our health and our horse’s overall health and wellness.
Enzyme deficiency results in poor digestion and poor nutrient absorption. This creates a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, including:
- Bloating/digestive upset
Sprouted Mung Bean Seeds
Sprouted Mung Bean Seeds
Three classes of enzymes
These enzymes are produced in the body and build various tissues, transfer compounds from one molecule to another, and basically run our bodies.
These enzymes are produced by living organisms to help digest our food. This category includes enzymes made by the pancreas, in saliva, the stomach, and intestinal cells.
Food enzymes, from raw foods, aid food digestion and help food’s conversion to energy in the body. Food enzymes are destroyed at temperatures above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
While raw vegetables and fruits have enzymes, they are low in concentration compared to sprouted seeds. The differences in enzyme concentration are enormous. There are 10 to 100 times more enzymes in sprouted seeds than in vegetables or fruits, depending on the enzyme and the seed that has sprouted. There is no food on the planet higher in enzymes than sprouted seeds. Sprouted seeds are also a great source of vitamins C and B, carotenoids, and organic minerals. A great way to incorporate enzyme-rich whole foods into the horse’s diet to help with better digestion is to add fodder, including sprouted barley grass, wheatgrass, or other sprouted seeds.
Why sprout seeds?
Grains and seeds contain anti-nutrients that keep the seed dormant. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient contained in all dormant seeds that prevent then from sprouting before the ideal conditions are present. Phytic acid impairs absorption of minerals (zinc, magnesium, copper) in the gut and inhibits digestive enzymes that horses need for digesting—including pepsin for protein breakdown and amylase for breaking down starch. Soaking seeds in water will neutralize phytic acid and make the seeds easy to digest and improve mineral content.
Benefits of sprouted seeds
• They provide excellent nutrition and digestibility.
• They contain real bioavailable minerals.
• They contain enzymes which help with digestion.
• They offer a great variety of amino acids.
• They can be grown in your kitchen, with little effort.
• They can reduce dependency on processed feed.
• Organic seeds are classified as non-GMO.
• Your secret weapon against disease, they contain large amounts of antioxidants.
• Dried seeds can be stored for years.
• Benefits include no soil, no weeds, no bugs or no pests.
• The seeds do the growing. You just water them, which takes only a few minutes.
• It doesn’t matter where you live, from Alaska to Florida, you can grow them.
• Five tablespoons of seeds yield about one pound of sprouts, a great value for the money.
Where to start
Some simple seeds to start sprouting:
• Quinoa a lovely alkalizing grain, full of minerals and rich in important amino acids
• Black sesame seeds rich in calcium and other minerals, excellent for the nervous system
• Amaranth rich, strong antioxidant properties
• Fenugreek excellent for cleansing the lymphatic system and supporting the immune system
• Millet excellent for bone cartilage, joints, and connective tissue
• Whole oats nourishing for the nervous and endocrine systems
• Hemp seeds ideal protein amounts, anti-inflammatory properties, and slow release of energy
All of the above seeds must be soaked overnight in water to release their full nutritional benefit. Ready for use after the initial soak, they can be also be kept for one or two with a daily rinse and draining. Each of these seeds can be fed in the amount of one-half cup per day. They can be added to your original feed as a “superfood boost.”
How to sprout seeds
1. In a clean jar, add 3–4 tablespoons of your seed of choice.
2. Cover the seeds with water, leaving a space of about one inch from the top of the jar.
3. Leave the seeds to soak in the water overnight. The next day they will be slightly swollen.
4. The lid of your jar can be made from cheesecloth, netting, etc. Place an elastic band around the cheesecloth to secure it. (You can mix seeds together to sprout once they sprout at the same time.)
5. The next day, drain your seeds. (I like to let my seeds drain upside down to ensure that the most water possible is extracted.) The seeds are now ready to be added to your horses’ feed. They will keep for 1–2 days in a refrigerator. For best results use them as soon
Seeds that need longer to sprout
• Alfalfa blood builder, tonic sprout, ready in 4–6 days—start in a jar then move to a bowl
• Broccoli nature’s MSM, excellent for respiratory system—ready in 4–6 days
• Mung beans light and easy to digest, full of minerals including zinc.Use hot water to soak seed and sprout in the dark—ready in 4–6 days
• Lentils good for energy and vitality—ready 4–6 days
• Wheat wheatgrass grown into fodder ready in 5–7 days (not for beginners)
• Barley barley grass grown into fodder 5–7 days (not for beginners)
• Chickpeas excellent protein high antioxidant content ready in 2–4 days
• Peas help control blood sugar levels, high in antioxidants and mineral content—ready 2–4 days.
Use the step-by-step method described previously to start your seeds sprouting, using the times cited above. Rinse and drain seeds daily to keep them happy and healthy. Sprouting seeds for your horse can be fun and extremely satisfying.
Rachel Kelly is a fully qualified master medical herbalist, vitalist nutritionist, equine herbalist and horticulturist. She combines her love of natural “whole food” nutrition and herbal medicine to help horse owners take charge of their horse’s diet. Rachel advocates using a raw sprouted living food diet as protection against illness and disease, along with continuous access to forage.
Rachel is based in County Kildare, Ireland.
For more information on sprouting seed for your horse, join Rachel on Facebook, or check out her blog at www.equineherbalist.ie
Rachel’s eBook, “Seeds to Feed,” is a definitive guide to sprouting seeds for your horse.