11/18/2022 | By Densie Webb Ph.D. RD

Are sprouted foods more nutritious than non-sprouted plant foods? A health expert weighs in on this “superfood” and offers a note of caution.


What exactly are sprouted foods and are they healthier than other kinds of foods?


Any food that starts out as a seed will sprout before eventually growing into a mature plant. That includes grains, such as barley, millet, wheat, oats, or spelt; lentils; chickpeas; soybeans; even nuts. If the conditions are right (moist and dark) the seed will sprout.

Sprouted foods are generally concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals. Sprouted greens, for example, provide more vitamin C, B vitamins, and antioxidant compounds than the plant itself. Sprouts don’t actually have more of these nutrients, but they are more available during digestion.

color bowl of veggetables legumes, avacado, and sprouted foods

For people who don’t like the taste of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli or cabbage, sprouts provide no bitter taste, while providing a subtle sweetness.

Related: Why Antioxidants Matter and How to Get Them

One caution: The conditions for growing sprouts is also ideal for bacteria to flourish, including salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. While instructions abound for DIY sprouting, it’s not a good idea. Cooking sprouts will kill harmful bacteria, but it can also destroy beneficial nutrients and enzymes. A better bet? Stick to trusted brands and wash them thoroughly before eating.

Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384

©2022 Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Densie Webb Ph.D. RD

Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D., a registered dietitian, has been writing about food, nutrition, and health for over 15 years. She is the author and editor of eight books, the associate editor for, and a regular writer for the American Botanical Council.