Rejuvelac is the generic name for a slightly fermented beverage made from grains that was originally concocted by health activist Dr. Ann Wigmore in the mid 1980s. Rejuvelac is primarily consumed to improve digestion. It is considered to be very nutritious because of all the nutrients it contains, including a variety of vitamins. Rejuvelac is well-known among vegetarians and proponents of raw or “living” food diets. Rejuvelac can be augmented with honey or the juices of some fruits and vegetables, so its nutritional content can vary, depending on the recipe.
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Rejuvelac is considered a raw food made by sprouting grains and soaking them in water for about two days at room temperature. It can be prepared using whole wheat, rye, quinoa, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat or brown rice, although wheat berry is the most common ingredient according to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Properly prepared, Rejuvelac beverage looks like fresh lemonade and has a slightly sweet, but tart, grassy taste. Because it is a fermenting beverage, similar to apple cider, its alcohol content will slightly increase with time, making it progressively more sour and carbonated as it ages.
Nutritional Profile of Rejuvelac
Rejuvelac contains all the nutritional content of the grain it is made from, plus any natural additives to augment its flavor, such as beet juice, lemon or honey. As such, nutrients can vary, but in general, Rejuvelac is rich in protein, carbohydrates, phosphates, digestive enzymes, lactobacillus and aspergillis, which are friendly bacteria essential for a healthy gastrointestinal tract, according to “Contemporary Nutrition.” In terms of vitamins, Rejuvelac typically contains the entire B complex as well as vitamins C, E and K.
The B Complex
The B complex consists of eight vitamins that are all involved in the metabolism of food into usable forms of energy, especially B 6 and B 12. Vitamin B 12 is also involved in red blood cell production and cellular division and growth, much like folic acid. Many B vitamins play roles in brain chemistry, regulating certain neurotransmitters and hormones related to cognition, mood and memory, according to “Vitamins: Fundamental Aspects in Nutrition and Health.” Deficiencies in B vitamins often lead to a lack of energy, digestive problems and reduced brain function.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that eliminates harmful free-radicals that contribute to tissue deterioration and aging. Vitamin C is also needed to repair and maintain collagen, the material in skin, cartilage and other connective tissue. Further, vitamin C stimulates certain cells and compounds that aid immune system function.
Vitamin E represents a collection of eight fat-soluble substances that are divided into four tocopherol types and four tocotrienol types. Most forms of vitamin E are very strong antioxidants, especially for the cardiovascular system. Vitamin E helps to modulate the immune system and reduces the clumping ability of blood platelet cells, which “thins” the blood and reduces the risk of clogged arteries.
Vitamin K also affects the blood, but in opposition to what vitamin E does. Specifically, vitamin K promotes the aggregation of blood platelet cells at injury sites, which triggers the coagulation cascade and promotes wound healing.