Cooked Beans or Sprouted Beans

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Are Sprouted Lentils Healthier Than Canned Lentils?

Beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils are packed with nutrients and play a role in the prevention of chronic disease, but most can’t be eaten raw. Some can be sprouted, though. Boiling is the most common cooking method, which is used for canned beans. Which is healthier, though, cooked or sprouted?

The easiest way to compare healthfulness is to measure nutrient levels—such as the anthocyanin pigments that make kidney beans so pretty—thought to account for some of beans’ protective benefits against chronic disease. Sprouted beans have more of some anthocyanins, but less than others. We find this same pattern across the board with the other phenolic phytonutrients: sprouted beans have more of some, less of others. Because the positive effects of these compounds may be related to their antioxidant capacity, we can compare the overall antioxidant power of boiled versus sprouted beans. In that case, boiled appears to have a marginal edge.

Ideally, though, rather than merely comparing concentrations of phytochemicals, we’d measure physiological effects. For example, we might look at the effect of boiled versus sprouted beans against cancer cell growth. That’s exactly what researchers did. In my video Cooked Beans or Sprouted Beans?, you can see the concentrations of bean extract needed to cut the breast cancer growth rate in half in a petri dish. Boiled beans do about 40 times better than raw beans—the same cancer growth inhibition at just a fraction of the concentration. Sprouted beans do about the same.

We can’t eat most beans raw, but I wanted to include them to show you a fascinating phenomenon. No amount of raw bean extract appears to totally stop the growth of breast cancer cells, but just small amounts of cooked or sprouted beans can. We find the same thing with killing off cancer. No amount of raw bean extract can fully kill off breast cancer cells, but both boiled and sprouted beans can.

Similar results were found for melanoma cells, a type of malignant skin cancer. Processing the beans—either cooking or sprouting—boosted anticancer activity in vitro. However, against kidney cancer, raw and boiled worked, but sprouted didn’t at all.

There has also been interest in brain protection. Given that elderly persons who report always eating legumes may be significantly less likely to experience cognitive decline, a group of Chinese researchers decided to compare the protective effects of boiled versus sprouted beans on astrocytes.

Astrocytes are the most abundant type of cell in our brain. They are star-shaped cells that keep our brain running smoothly. Should they become damaged, though, they may play an important role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s. So, if we’re thinking clearly, we should thank our lucky stars.

To see if beans help protect astrocytes from damage, we’d have to first make sure bean extracts wouldn’t cause any damage. Cooked beans don’t seem to hurt cells at all, and sprouted beans seem to even help them grow a little. If we add an oxidative chemical to the cells, we can kill off about a quarter of them. However, if we add that chemical along with some boiled bean extract, the astrocytes were partially protected at higher doses. Sprouted bean extract didn’t appear to offer significant benefit.

What’s the takeaway? As far as I’m concerned, we should eat beans in whichever way will get us to eat the most of them.

I do love my lentil sprouts, one of the healthiest snacks on the planet (along with kale chips). I can grow my own in just 2 to 3 days. But using canned beans I can get similar nutrition in about 2 to 3 seconds.

Sprouting is so much fun, though! I’ve got a bunch of videos on broccoli sprouts, for example: Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck.

But again, whichever way we like them we should eat them. Why? See:

Mostly I just used canned. See Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?

Other videos on practical prep tips include:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


61 responses to “Are Sprouted Lentils Healthier Than Canned Lentils?

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  1. How does the lectin level compare in beans and sprouted beans? I’d think that beans have less because beans are almost always eaten cooked and heat destroys lectins, but I don’t know the effect of sprouting on the level of lectins in beans.

    1. Hi George,
      I’ve been unsuccessful finding anything on PubMed (medical research database) involving the effect of sprouting on lectin levels in beans, but a quick Google search revealed quite a few articles (non-peer-reviewed, so reader beware!) which confidently state that sprouting generally reduces lectin levels to a large extent. I haven’t found anything directly comparing lectins in sprouted vs cooked, though.

      1. Hi David, can you provide links to those articles? My standpoint – it does not make much sense. Lectins are “nature’s” pesticides should ramp up when sprouting as this phase of plant’s life is the most crucial for its survival. I do not sprout legumes (even though I have them 2-3 times per week – soaked for 24 hours with kombu seaweed, properly cooked) and do not recommend it to my clients. In my case it is just a laziness (I do sprout a lot of seeds, though), in case of my clients it is more precaution as they reach me in a state when their gut functions are compromised…

      2. http://www.cst.ur.ac.rw/library/Food%20Science%20books/batch1/Food%20-%20The%20Chemistry%20of%20its%20Components%20Fourth_Edition.pdf
        p.333

        “Fortunately for advocates of the culinary value of barely cooked sprouted beans, massive breakdown of lectins occurs as the seeds germinate.”

        I can’t figure out what original research the author is citing here. Personally, I would be wary of anything other than bean sprouts used in traditional cuisines, e.g., mung beans. Note these are typically cooked, although briefly.

  2. Luckily, here in Santa Cruz, we have the New Natives (we just call em the sprout people, Sandra and Kenneth) selling at the farmers markets. Sometimes if I know I won’t have time to cook beans from scratch I buy a bag of their sprouted lentils and can make a soup on stovetop in about 5 minutes. I prefer them lightly cooked.

    1. I took a class from Sandra in their sprouts’ greenhouse a few years back. It was an incredibly fecund environment. We are sooo lucky living here in Santa Cruz County. I’ve lost count of how many farmers’ markets we have in the area.

  3. Definitely fresh beans are better than the canned, in terms of more available nutrition and less toxins. There is more methanol in the canned fruit/vegetables. Methanol is metabolized into formaldehyde via alcohol dehydrogenase class I (ADH I) sites in our body, myelin sheaths and axons in the brain, blood vessels, lung, kidney, liver, and intestines. Conversion to formaldehyde in organs other than the liver is the principal means by which methanol may cause many diseases of civilization.

  4. Some day I believe the human race will understand the importance of the findings of Kirlian photography on the foods we eat. And I’m sure by then we will all agree that living sprouts are much better than dead canned beans.
    Until then I guess we scientifically will have to agree with a draw.

  5. I eat lentils every day from can. Mainly for the effect of the fiber on my system consistently. This is made by Progresso and I understand the high salt content, but what worries me more is that even though there are no chemical additives, I understand the can interior protective liner could have ill effects. The reality is I probably wouldn’t soak and cook my own beans. I am paying a high health price for this decision?

    1. Dean: I can’t say whether it is any healthier or not, but in case you were not aware: Sometimes you can get fully cooked, ready-to-eat eat beans/lentils in other packaging than cans. For example, I’ve seen cooked and read to eat lentils in Traders Joes, packaged in clear plastic with a paper box around it. It has very light seasoning that makes them delicious to eat right out of the bag. Another option is frozen beans (and which I think might include lentils) which just have to be thawed (and which you can use the microwave to quickly make ready). The frozen ones would have nothing in them but just the legumes, so you can add just the salt you care about.

      1. Thea: I didn’t know that frozen beans are cooked. I use frozen baby lima beans and have been cooking it by adding it to boiling water and cooking for about six minutes. Have I been wasting time and energy? Are all frozen beans pre-cooked? Thanks.

        1. George: Now that I think about it, I guess I was making an assumption based on my experience on how other frozen veggies work. Bottom line is that I can’t say for sure that all frozen beans are pre-cooked.
          .
          My thoughts: If you got fully soft lima beans in 6 minutes, at least those particular beans have to be pre-cooked, right? It would take more time than 6 minutes to cook them if they weren’t pre-cooked? And what would be the point of freezing them if they are not pre-cooked?
          .
          I may be missing something here (like maybe the difference between fresh and dried beans?), but either way, I’m thinking that there isn’t more than a need to get the beans warm somehow? But maybe that is not good advice since it is important to eat cooked beans?
          .
          I should have been more careful with my post. Thank you for your question. I just now tried doing some research on this topic, but couldn’t find any authoritative answers that I trusted. Perhaps a call to the company whose product you are purchasing would clear that up at least for you.

          1. Thea: Thank you for responding to my question. You have a point: if frozen beans are uncooked, why should they be frozen, unless they are fresh (undried )and uncooked? I don’t have any frozen lima beans at home presently to see what the bag says about preparation.Hopefully somebody will give us a definitive answer.

          2. (like maybe the difference between fresh and dried beans?), There is a difference between fresh and dried beans. Think Edamame. They are available fresh or frozen but are they ever dried or canned? Soybeans are dried and canned.

            1. jj: I’m not sure if you and I are not he same page or not. But I think that is what I’m trying to get at. I don’t know which way the frozen lima (or pinto or lentils or etc) beans are processed before being packaged. Are they fresh beans that have been frozen? And if so, are these fresh beans cooked before being frozen? Or perhaps the fresh beans are just blanched. If they are just blanched, was the blanching enough cooking to make them healthy? Or are they dried beans that have been through the typical process of rehydrating and cooking and then were frozen? I just don’t know. And a fair amount of research so far has turned up no answers I could rely on.

        2. Can’t say for sure about frozen beans specifically, but pretty sure they are for several reasons. Most any veggies that are going to sit on a store, even the ones we like to think of as “fresh” are either treated with preservatives of some sort (like pre-cut
          salad ingredients) or blanched, (cooked briefly) to kill off the
          bacteria that would otherwise happily start decomposition/fermentation,
          (essentially the same means, just different ends.) I’m sure there are
          exceptions, but this the standard practice to both preserve flavor and reduce
          spoilage, and the same is true even in frozen produce. For the longest
          time I wondered why the stuff I froze myself was so much different from
          the bought stuff.
          As for the general
          issues involved with HOW to get your beans into you, buy bags of dried and a cheap crock pot or
          unbury your unused one. Before you go to bed, add a slew of beans and
          at least 5x the water to your crockpot, throw in the seasonings and/or whole
          flavoring veggies of your choice, put it on low and go to bed, and then
          go about your life the following day. Come home to wonderful healthy
          beans to do with whatever you please, no effort and barely any of your actual focus time
          involved. Freeze the excess and smash or puree the veggies and liquid
          as a base for an awesome soup or stew. Couldn’t be cheaper or easier.
          Have we gotten that helpless, hopeless, hapless, whatever, that thinking ahead, doing it ourselves and not feeding the
          bottomless corporatocracy is so “out there”?

    2. Hi Dean: Red lentils (aka red dhal or Masoor dhal) is very easy to cook from scratch. There’s no need to pre-soak, and not a lot of water is needed for cooking, so the cooking time is short. I cook red-lentil curry in about thirty minutes, which includes the prep. time.

  6. I like to make bread with sprouted beans, nuts, seeds &/or grains. After the sprouts form (2-3 days), just pulse in a blender with salt, cinnamon, 1/2 TB olive oil, little sweetener of choice. Add some dried fruit and bake at 250 for 1-2 hours depending on size. This makes a hearty, satisfying bread. Some of the grains/beans/nuts are left partially whole, providing more food for our healthy gut bacteria than flour. In addition, the lower baking temperature reduces the formation of carcinogens during cooking.

  7. Great post–thank you. I’m a bit confused about one thing, however: don’t you usually boil sprouted beans anyway? I usually use my sprouted lentils in soups, so they are both sprouted AND boiled. Would this change the various effects?

    1. Ah! This is my confusion as well. When we talk about eating sprouted beans, are we talking about just eating a 1-in sprout, or the entire bean plus sprout (raw)? I typically sprout beans in order to cook them, but perhaps that’s not necessary.

  8. I used to buy no salt canned beans when I started a WFPB diet, but the selection is limited, I’d run store to store finding what I want and being disappointed often. It all changed when I bought an Instant Pot, no more canned beans, they cook from dry in 30 mins, they taste WAY better, no salt, no chemicals. I basically have containers of dry beans, when I get home I take a cup, throw them in the pot, cover in water and hit the bean button. As I do stuff around the house, maybe clean, dishes or chop veggies to go with them they are often done before I am. It saved me money and more importantly a lot of time, plus I can eat pinto beans without worrying about the salt, since they don’t sell them as a no salt type here.

    Anyone on a WFPB must have one of these, it makes soups, steams, rice, beans, even sautes, there are more functions but I’m not that advanced yet. The scariest part is I want to buy a second, so if I want beans and rice, I don’t have to wait. It is one pot and you clean up, great for a lazy single person.. I mean I guess, I don’t know any of course.. cough.

  9. In another life, many years ago, I lived on a farm in the middle of Arkansas for six years. I canned all summer from our big garden. I’m not doing all that now, but I still have my pressure canners (yes, two of ’em), so I can my own dry beans. It’s easy but does REQUIRE a pressure canner. Unless you want to take your chances with botulism.

    I like to soak mine overnight, but they can also be processed from dry beans. The trick is in knowing how many beans go into the jar. If you put dry beans in, use 1/2 cup in a pint jar or 1 cup to a quart. If you soak them first, put 1 1/2 cups into pint jars and 3 cups into quarts. Fill the the canning jars with boiling water, leaving 1″ at the top, and salt if you wish, then screw down the lids. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water to the canner, put on the lid, bring up the pressure to 10 pounds and cook pints 1 hour, 15 minutes. Pressure quarts 1 hour, 30 minutes. Reduce the pressure either by letting it come down over time, or by setting the canner in the sink and running cold water over the top to release the pressure quickly.

    This is a cheap way to have canned beans on hand at all times, seasoned to your liking, and without any worries about what is in the can lining. I suspect you can cook them for shorter times, because they come out a bit more done than required, but I haven’t experimented with this.

    They are now selling pressure canners that can be set so it’s all automatic. Mine are the old fashioned ones that jiggle and sputter, and which you have to attend to, but they still work like champs.

    1. Wow Rebecca, folks really did this stuff? LOL! That’s awesome! I get the biggest kick when my grandkids come here for the summer and happily go from their world to “gramma mode”, where food comes from the ground not just the store, where you cook and make things instead of going to the drive through, where animals are off the menu and they are okay with it even though mommy says it’s weird, where TV and computer time has limits and outdoor time and hands on fun are our joint adventure! I hope they find some of it worth passing on.

  10. Love all kinds of sprouts! What veggies can be easier, more nutritious and cheaper? No garden, no stooping, no pesticides or chemicals, no soil, no sun, no long wait, just a jar, some water, and a few seconds of your time, a couple times a day! Crimson clover/broccoli sprouts are my fave flavor combo because they are so reliable here in the heat, but there is a huge variety! Besides lentils, I prefer the other beans steamed for a bit at least. Just never try to sprout seeds that are meant for planting, they are treated with chemicals and fungicides. Food seeds or seeds for sprouting specifically are a safe bet, and there are tons of them with all kinds of different flavors to try! Grocery stores cater to profit and eye appeal, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s taste or health! We miss out on a world of variety and diversity and encourage tasteless and potentially dangerous uniformity and monoculture every time we pluck items from the supermarket. DIVERSIFY YOURSELF and grow something! :)

    1. I agree with you. It is part of our culture to sprout lentils ors wheat or mung beans for the arrival of spring to celebrate the rejovination and new beginning of the season. However, I know that we don’t need to wait for spring to grow something we can do it all the year round and enjoy it.

      1. I just made a big pot of Matki Chi Usal with sprouted moth beans, that was delicious! I also love that it doubles or triples the volume of beans when you sprout them making them even more economical! People who say they can’t afford to eat a healthy diet are either making excuses or are clueless!

  11. Some website claims that lentils become complete proteins when eaten sprouted. Does someone have any scientific evidence for that?

    1. bartoli: It turns out that all whole legumes (and all whole plant foods for that matter) already contain complete proteins–whether you sprout them or not. NutritionFacts recently did a video on this topic: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-protein-combining-myth/ Another great source for some detailed information showing how whole plant foods already contain all of the essential amino acids that we need in proper proportions: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html. Websites/people who talk about “incomplete proteins” are going off a mistake made decades ago.

  12. I need help. After switching from eating paleo/primal/perfecthealthdiet style to a plant based diet, I developed serious health problems. The only change in my diet was the elimination of meat, fish, eggs and the introduction of whole grain and legumes. Didn’t eat diary before because it caused problems too.
    The health problems are:

    -Pain in my joints. I can’t lift weights without having pain in my knee or elbow the next day. Also cardio on an ergometer causes problems.
    -Pimples on the forehead (small and not red – looks like mountains) and extreme dry skin on the cheeks.
    – Heat and cold sensitive teeth
    -Strongest depression since 6 years.

    Since 3 days I removed all legumes and grains from my diet expect of parboiled rice and tofu and my health is getting better. Pimples are still there but the skin on my cheeks is more or less normal now. The depression is gone. My joints still hurt, but I can exercise.

    Now I would like to know, if it is possible that my body will get used to this type of food? And if so, how to safely introduce this food items? Or is it possible and more reasonable to stay on a plant based diet without the problem causing foods?

    1. I found that it takes a while for your gut microbes to balance after starting a dietary change. I had some big issues with foods when I started that give me no problems now. I think it’s called a herxheimer reaction too, when positive changes initially have negative effects.

      1. Thank you for your reply.
        I will reduce the problematic foods and eat them only in the amounts that don’t cause too much trouble. Hopefully you are right and I will get used to them.

        How long did it take for you to get used to the food?

        1. Some things pretty quickly, like weeks, and other things took quite a while and like you said, just adding a bit at a time. I got a little carried away when I learned about fermenting foods and though I gave myself a big tummy ache for a day or two, it really seemed to totally end the IBS I had for many years, and was a big mental health boost too. I’ve challenged the effect when I get lax in making and consuming it, and notice the difference pretty quickly…a good reminder, but pretty dramatic stuff for me. I wasn’t a fan of vinegary or sour flavors before and now I crave them. I won’t speak for everyone, but the idea came from other’s whose lives were improved enough to spread the enthusiasm, so I’m sure not alone. The science so far is sorely lacking, even the crossover between pickled and fermented is not distinguished, but I don’t need stats to know how I feel. I use less salt and more herbs to get a better sodium profile than the commercial stuff, which is limited anyway, and pricey. Doing it myself costs next to nothing, I get to control the ingredients, plus I really enjoy the process of watching those amazing ubiquitous microbes in nature do their amazing transformation of making my food safer, more nutritious and tasty. (and I don’t have to cook it!) lol

  13. I like to do a big jar of sprouts, until they just have little tails (usually about 1day) then freeze them in bags with about 1 can worth per bag. This means I avoid the salt etc in the cans, and get the convenience of just grabbing them out of the freezer, the faster cooking time and better flavour and texture!

  14. I find this article quite fascinating, but hard to understand when viewed through a evolutionary lens. Why would a food need to be boiled for an animal (such as us) to derive the health benefit from it? Why would nature have created such a complicated riddle for humans to be able to obtain nutrition from a food? Don’t get me wrong… I love my comfort food, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one.

    1. There are a lot of things evolutionists cannot wrap their heads around on if they understand that evolution is a theory and has not been proven. And it never will be. Also – nature has not created anything. But natures God created all things, including you and I.

      1. Biological evolution is a fact that is literally written in stone in the form of the fossil record. How biological evolution occurred is the subject of theory, e.g, the theory of natural selection.

    2. Brian Fulton: Here’s a potential answer for you: In some ways, humans are just like any other animals. But there is no doubt that there is something more complex about the human brain. What allowed the human brain to evolve? There is a wonderful TED talk that gives a compelling argument about how the human brain evolved: cooking food. Cooked food allows us to get more calories in shorter amount of time each day, which frees up time to do other things with our time (like eventually learn how to build rockets). There is some interesting math involved in the argument. And of course, she explains it much better than I do.

      Now, combine the TED talk argument with the understanding that a) primates have a preference for cooked food and b) evidence of fire use continues to be updated as happening further and further back in time, (both ideas I got from other sources) this argument is even more believable.
      .
      [This next part is my speculation.] So, imagine a scenario where modern human predecessors lived on grassy plains that caught fire regularly during the rainy season. And after the fires were gone, the roots (potatoes) in the ground were cooked, and OMG, so yummy and satisfying. And hey, it doesn’t take much to keep a fire going… And the rest is history. We develop more brain neurons, and as this happens, our body develops to take advantage of the cooked foods we are eating.
      .
      Here is the TED talk if you are interested. I *highly* recommend it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7_XH1CBzGw By: Suzana Herculano-Houzel

      1. The lady in this video presents a good argument supported by the math calculations on energy expenditure and brain size. Never heard of this kind of analysis and theory before. And the fact that cooking sort of “pre-digests” food so we get more energy out of it compared with raw food. Now an interesting speculation is: how will the invention of the blender affect our brain size? :-) With the blender, we can have the best of the raw food and the more complete digestion that accompanies cooking! But on the other hand, since evolution is so slow, we might have to wait another million years to see the changes :-) Fun to speculate about stuff like this. And, Thea, I like your theory about the prairie fires cooking the tubers. Thanks for sharing this video with us.

        1. HaltheVegan: I’m happy to find someone else who finds this information as fascinating as I do. Thanks for taking the time to look at the video and share your thoughts. :-)

          re: blender. So funny!!! I had the exact same thought!

          re: calories and cooking. I’m kicking myself for not being able to find it right now, but there is another talk (I don’t think it is a TED talk) that really gets into calories from cooked food. This person really investigated it and made the argument that the standard calorie tables may be really off numbers wise as they may be significantly underestimating how much more calories humans get from cooked food compared to raw. I’ll keep looking for that talk, but if someone else knows what I’m talking about and has the link, please jump in.

        2. HaltheVegan: I found that other talk I was looking for! This talk is quite a bit longer. But if you or anyone is interested in a more detailed analysis of how cooking makes more calories available and the evidence for how early humans had cooking fires, this is a good talk: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ckWLrvVhg
          .
          Also, in the search for trying to re-find the above talk, I came across this Smithsonian article, which gets at similar information from the same speaker, but in abbreviated article format: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-fire-makes-us-human-72989884/?no-ist
          .
          While no one knows exactly how the human brain developed to be the “piece of work” that it is today, the more details/evidence I see of these cooking arguments, the more compelling I find the theory.

          1. Good find, Thea! I check these out. I’m one who likes to see how everything fits together into a consistent theory, so these kinds of theories are fascinating to me, too. Thanks for sharing these references.

      2. Thanks for the links, I love all this Thea because the idea that it was eating meat that helped grow our brains never made sense to me for so many reasons! Why then wouldn’t true carnivores be the smartest of all? Especially if you compare our anatomy to even omnivores like raccoon, bear, opposum, skunk, etc. Omni’s are essentially carnivores that branched out to be able to take advantage of more reliable and less challenging food…plants. It just cracks me up when people point to our “canines” as proof we are meat eaters! Um, ever look in a dog or cat’s mouth and see what those “canines” are surrounded by? A sharp pointy snout filled with lethal meshing weapons that can both kill, and effectively tear and swallow raw flesh from that kill. All creatures are equipped by nature/God with the physiology to procure all the food they need. Show me a human that can take down an antelope with his canines, and native adaptations like speed and agility! Yeah, like the apes we learned the trick of using tools, and even they occasionally eat meat, but have they evolved? It is just so silly!
        I challenge any “meat eater” proponent to take just his or her unadorned, native anatomy into the woods, and feed themselves for even a week, to appreciate how well equipped we are to gather, and how pathetic for hunting! Bunnies and other plant eaters can acquire a taste for cooked meat too, but they are still herbivores! My guess is we learned to appreciate meat motivated by hunger and the carcasses left behind by, and the observation of the habits of true carnivores, since the oldest tools weren’t weapons, but blades for scraping flesh from bone.
        Two of my faves on the topic…
        One read….https://www.scribd.com/doc/94656/The-Comparative-Anatomy-of-Eating
        And a longer video….https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/videos/free-electures/milton-mills-md/

    3. To get a good understanding of how evolution works, I would recommend reading some of the early books by Richard Dawkins. A good start may be “The Blind Watchmaker”. I have found his books to be very readable and he seems to have a unique perspective on the theory of evolution and an excellent way of explaining difficult concepts.

    4. Boiling grains or legumes isn’t that much of a stretch form me. Thea’s post below, the fact that monkeys have been observed washing grains – which is not far from soaking, and soaking can lead to things like fermentation or boiling.
      The origin of some cultural practices are difficult to explain, however. Nixtamalization is one, another is the preparation of ayahuasca.

      1. Sprouting, as in there’s an inch of radicle poking out or maybe even a stem and leaves, or soaking until they aren’t hard?

  15. It’s worth pointing out that the carbon footprint of sprouted lentils would be much lower than for canned beans, which typically require much more fossil fuels to prepare and ship.

    Also, I wonder what the phytate content of boiled vs. sprouted lentils is. Typically seeds and legumes lose phytates as they sprout, but does boiling do the same? If not, the minerals in sprouted lentils may be more bioavailable.

  16. In the text above it is written “Beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils are packed with nutrients and play a role in the prevention of chronic disease, but most can’t be eaten raw.” Why most of these foods can’t be eaten raw?

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