Does Sprouting Increase Protein?

High intensity exerciser asks: does sprouting seeds increase protein?


Message for Savvy Vegetarian:

I have googled protein count when sprouting and there doesn’t seem to be much difference whether sprouting or not? You say sprouting increases protein availability by 30% and carbs decrease by 15%. If this is the case that would be great!

I am looking to increase my protein with plant food rather than meat when I do high intensity exercise.

Could you give me the actual protein count for let’s say kidney beans and rice when sprouting or could you direct me to find it myself? I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you very much! Nettie F.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice:

Hi Nettie, here are sprouting nutrition articles which will help answer your questions:
Health Benefits of Sprouted Grains
Benefits of Sprouted Foods
Sprouting and Nutrition

What sprouting does is to increase the bio-availability of nutrients which may be latent or bound up in the seeds, and doesn’t add nutrients which don’t exist in the seeds – except for minerals which may be found in high concentrations in the soaking water.

So when you sprout a high protein food (e.g. mung beans), it increases the bio-availability of the protein in that food, as well as many other nutrients.

Carbs are converted partially into other nutrients (to feed the plant), as they would be if the seed were planted in soil – that’s why carbs decrease in sprouting.

The effects of sprouting seem to vary a lot from one food to another, so results aren’t predictable across the board, but overall sprouting is highly beneficial in improving nutrition and digestibility, with a few exceptions.

Some seeds fare better with sprouting than others. Mung beans make excellent sprouts, but apparently, alfalfa seeds, sorghum and kidney beans release toxins when sprouted.

According to “Kidney beans should not be sprouted because they contain the high levels of the toxin phytohemagglutinin. When kidney beans are eaten raw or sprouted they can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other adverse health reactions. For this reason, you should always cook kidney beans before eating them. Black beans will not yield as many sprouts as other seeds, but you can still enjoy sprouted black beans.”

Thanks very much for your feedback! I’ve added the info I found for you to our article on The Joy of Sprouting

All the best, Judith Kingsbury

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6 Responses to “Does Sprouting Increase Protein?”

  1. Savvy Veg says:

    Hi Jake, cooking softens or breaks down fiber, and yes in some foods such as grains and hard veggies increases availability and absorption of nutrients because the food can be chewed. But it can also reduce nutrients depending on the cooking method, and it doesn’t have the same power of chemical transformation as sprouting does. Soaking and sprouting also makes foods softer and more chewable that would otherwise need to be cooked or ground.

  2. jake says:

    “sprouting increase the bio-availability of nutrients”

    So does cooking…right? For example: It is much more obvious when comparing a raw potato versus cooked.

  3. Savvy Veg says:

    Thanks, Benjamin! Yes, Americans are a little protein obsessed! Most prevalent of all the protein myths seems to be the idea that you need protein for energy, closely followed by the one that you can’t get too much protein, the more the better.


    The great caution against vegetarianism is the myth that we do not get enough protein. This is a great article but the underlying implication may be that we, as vegetarians, do not get enough protein. It seems that Americans eat about twice as much protein as they need anyway. It is also hard on the kidneys. I say reduce your protein! You will still get enough of it. A simple peanut butter sandwich has about 17 grams of protein providing that you have a good multi-grain bread. That is a lot of protein. Great article nonetheless. Thanks for this wonderful blog



    I also want to know the same because increase in protein may be painful to persons with high uric acid history

  6. Thank you for this thorough response! I am also a high intensity exerciser seeking high protein options and was also curious about the bioavailability of sprouting seeds.

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