Each fortnight we’re putting the best alkaline diet questions we receive from you to our Alkaline Diet Expert, Dr Young trained blood analyst and highly qualified nutritionist – Gareth Edwards.
Gareth is right at the very top of his field, so these answers are absolutely the best you’ll find from arguably Britain’s most qualified expert in this area!
When I was studying to be a nutritionist, we were taught that the fundamental building block of any nutritional programme was to encourage our patients or clients to take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. It seems a little ironic that I now spend time encouraging patients and clients to stop taking these nutritional multi pills.
The argument that was put to us as students was that food generally is fundamentally much less nutritious than it was 50 or even 30 years ago. Soil mineral depletion, truck miles, refrigeration, irradiation and intensive farming techniques have all contributed to our vegetables being slightly less vibrant and nutritious than they once were. The synthetic solution or laboratory manufactured vitamin pill doesn’t however, in my opinion, fill the gap. Furthermore, because these synthetic molecules are held together with binders and filling agents, they are likely to add to acidic load in our bodies.
So what’s the solution?
In a world where the demands on us to be energised, clear headed and healthy are ever greater, optimum nutrition is vitally important. If our vegetables have lower nutrient levels and we can’t make up for it with a pill, what are we to do?
Leading protagonists of living food health regimes are virtually unanimous in their recommendation to consume large quantities of sprouted beans and seeds. These (literally) living foods have nutritional qualities that border on the miraculous.
Bioavailability: it’s important to remember that while seeds and beans are nutritional powerhouses, they weren’t really designed to be digested and absorbed. Before garden centres and seed packs came along, the cunning plant world had its own method of dispersal and cultivation all lined up. The attractive flesh of a fruit or vegetable acts as “bait” to draw the palate of an animal to it. Seeds would usually then be deposited in a different location, complete with “fertiliser”.
If you’ve eaten a lot of un-soaked seeds or nuts, you are probably aware that they can “re-appear” pretty much undigested at a later stage. Grinding them up can make the nutrients they contain easier to absorb. Soaking or sprouting them will increase the availability of the nutrients they contain further. You still need to chew them tough!
Increased vitamin levels and anti-oxidants: Water soluble vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin C and beta-carotene all increase dramatically in sprouted beans and seeds. The same is even true of the fat soluble vitamin E found in sprouted wheat. There’s plenty of good science to support this and the presence of increased levels of anti-oxidant nutrients.
Increased availability of minerals: one the reasons that some people are concerned about high intakes of beans and pulses, particularly in vegetarian diets, is their high content phytates or phytic acid. This compound binds to essential minerals in the intestines, reducing their absorption. The good news… phytate is dramatically reduced by sprouting. For example there’s robust scientific evidence showing the good bio-availability of zinc from sprouted mung beans and lentils.
High levels of protein: when I have explained the principals of living food and alkaline diets to some of my clients, some are very concerned about where they are going to get their protein if they dramatically reduce their intake of animal protein. It’s important to remember that along side soya, cattle are also fed alfalfa due to its high protein content. Lentils and chick peas have high levels of protein too.
The superior nutritional qualities of sprouted beans and seeds has led Dr. Young to produce soya and hemp powders made from sprouted beans and seeds. These should be more nutritious and alkalising than their dried and ground counter-parts. The only thing to be aware of is that once the airtight seal is broken on theses sprouted protein powders, it’s best to keep them in the fridge. The same is not true of green powder products, which are prepared in a different way.
Buying sprouts or sprouting:
The best way to get the super nutrition of sprouts is to buy them or sprout your own. You can buy beans, pulses and seeds already sprouted at Marks & Spencer, most health food stores, Holland & Barrett and Waitrose.
I’ll be writing an article on home sprouting in November, but it’s really easy to do. Soak the beans or seeds overnight, drain the water off. Put the seeds in a bio-snacky sprouting jar, upside down, to drain. Refresh the grains, seeds or legumes with water every 24-48 hours, returning them to a draining position. When they’re ready ……. eat them!
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Note: This blog is only my opinion. It is not medical advice or diagnosis. Only opinions based upon our own personal experiences or information detailed in medical/academic journals or other publications is cited. WE DO NOT OFFER MEDICAL ADVICE or prescribe any treatments. Please consult with a medical professional before making any diet or nutrition changes. Refer to our full disclaimer for more information.