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Whether sprouted grains recently became a buzzword at your go-to health food store or you’ve started noticing sprouted grain bread pop up on menus at your local #wellnessadjacent sandwich spot, you may be wondering what makes this type of grain different. Simply stated, sprouted grains are whole grains that are soaked in water until they begin to germinate (or grow a small sprout). This causes them to become more nutrient dense and easier-to-digest (living) grains, compared to unsprouted grains. Here’s what nutrition experts say are the reasons we should be adding more foods made with sprouted grains to our diets.

1 Improved nutrient absorption.

Sprouted grains provide more bioavailable nutrients compared to other refined flours. “Sprouting grains—and creating flours from sprouted grains—may help to make nutrients in the grains more readily available for our bodies to absorb,” says Gena Hamshaw, MS, RD, of The Full Helping. This includes Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and various amino acids. “Sprouting grains can also help to reduce the presence of phytic acid, a naturally occurring compound in cereal grains that can interfere with our absorption of nutrients like iron and zinc,” she says.

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2 Sustained energy.

The higher concentration of protein and fiber in sprouted grain bread helps your blood sugar levels stay steady and provides energy to power you throughout the day. “The combination of protein and fiber in whole grains, including sprouted grains, can help people to experience sustained fullness and energy after eating them,” Hamshaw says. This also prevents that unpleasant foggy-and-lethargic feeling that many high-starch foods (especially those high on the glycemic index) can leave you with. Sprouted grains have also been shown to have increased levels of folate, which is a B vitamin that supports the body’s metabolism rate and produce energy.

3 Increased fiber.

When a grain is sprouted, the concentration of fiber is increased. “They’re in their whole form, which means they often contain more fiber and protein than grains that have undergone extensive processing,” Hamshaw says. “And the products made from sprouted grains are often rich in fiber, which is also beneficial for digestive health.”

Fiber is a key component of gut health, including elimination and detoxification of the colon, which helps to regulate digestions and can reduce the risk of colon cancer, says Joy McCarthy, CNP, a holistic nutritionist and founder of Joyous Health. Fiber also feeds your gut microbiome, which is made of trillions of good bacteria that are essential to a healthy immune system.

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4 They're easier to digest.

When a grain is sprouted, it becomes easier for our bodies to digest because the starches are already broken down. “The process of sprouting grains neutralizes enzyme inhibitors as well as the sugars that can cause fermentation and gas in the gut,” says McCarthy. Fortunately, for this reason, many people who experience gas and bloating from regular bread do not have this same reaction eating sprouted bread.

5 So how can we start eating more sprouted grains?

There are plenty of ways to incorporate sprouted grains into your diet, especially if you're already working to increase your whole grain consumption (sprouted grain bread's deliciously nutty flavor doesn't hurt, either). You’ll find most sprouted grain goods—flours, breads, tortillas, bagels, and more—at all-natural food stores and grocery stores. Sprouted grains are a smart breakfast swap to power you through busy mornings. Try using sprouted grain bread in your next french toast recipe, or make a sprouted everything bagels, quick oats, or bake chocolate chip oatmeal cookies using sprouted spelt flour for a heart-healthy snack.