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Ask Tufts Experts May 2018 Issue

Q. I’ve heard that sprouted whole grains have more nutrients than others grains and are more digestible. Is this true?

whole grains

Image © Olga Popova | Getty Images

“Malted” or “sprouted” grains are whole grains that have begun to germinate.

A. Nicola McKeown, PhD, a scientist in the HNRCA Nutritional Epidemiology Program, explains: “Some studies suggest health benefits associated with eating sprouted grains; however, the research is only emerging and the data are limited. For example, there is evidence that sprouting may improve the nutritional profile of grains compared to non-sprouted grains. Some vitamins, such as vitamin C and folate and other B vitamins, have been found to be higher in some sprouted grains; however, it varies by grain and the sprouting process.

“In sprouting, the central germ in the grain kernel produces chemicals that break down starches in the endosperm. Whether this makes the starches easier to digest has not been extensively studied, so we can’t be certain if sprouted grains are more digestible.”

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