You can sprout some seeds to increase their nutritional values. Alfalfa or bean sprouts are commonly found in sandwiches and salads. Other sprouts sold at grocery stores are broccoli, radish, mustard, sunflower and mung bean sprouts. Although sprouted flax seeds are not readily available, you can sprout the seeds under some circumstances.
Sprouting is the term used when seeds are germinated to produce a small green or white sprout. Research from major organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and Johns Hopkins University reinforce the benefits of sprouts, with ongoing studies showing that the nutrients in sprouts are more concentrated when compared to the seed or full grown vegetable or grain, notes the International Sprout Growers Association. Flax seed sprouts have not been specifically studied and there is no evidence that including them in your diet will have beneficial results.
Flax seeds are a little more difficult to sprout that other seeds because of their mucilage. When water is added to the seeds, the hard hulls absorb the water and form a "gel-sack" around each seed. These slippery seeds will not sprout in traditional, water-only methods, like other seeds. They must be sprouted on a medium, such as a paper towel, or purchased vermiculite medium. You should sparely spread the seeds on the thoroughly moistened medium.
Grow the flax seeds on the medium in a room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with indirect sunlight. They will begin to sprout in 24 hours and in approximately 5 to 14 days, show signs of small green leaves. As the sprouts grow, keep them moist with a spray bottle of water. Check them daily and make sure they do not dry out, which is dependent on the amount of sunlight in the room.
You can use flax seed sprouts in the same way you use other sprouts. Add them to salads, sandwiches or hamburgers. You can store them in the refrigerator for one week. Flax Sprouts are a good source of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, E, all the essential amino acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, niacin, phosphorus and potassium.
- International Sprout Growers Association; Good Sprout News; June 23, 2011
- Sprout People: Flax Greens
- AG Commodities: Sprouting/Germination Services
- U.S. Department of Agriculture; Agricultural Research Service; Souped-Up Broccoli, Broccoli Sprouts Deter Cancers in Rats; Judy McBride, November 2001
- International Sprout Growers Association: Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences; Cardiovascular Health; Lingyun Wu, et al.; May 2004