Carb Counts for Alfalfa Sprouts

Sprouts Nutritional Information, Calories, Carbs and Fiber

Broccoli sprout salad
Broccoli sprout salad. James Baigrie/Taxi/Getty Images

Sprouts are seeds that have been watered and germinated. They are generally added to salads, soups, and stir-fry dishes. Sprouts are vegetables likened to green leafy vegetables and are generally eaten when about 3-5 days old. Sprouts are easy to grow at home. A tablespoon of alfalfa seeds, for example, will sprout to fill a quart jar. Almost any seed or legume can be used for sprouting (though if you're going to do it yourself, be sure to buy seeds labeled "for sprouting").

There are many varieties of sprouts, including mung bean, alfalfa, and clover, soybeans among others. One type of sprout that has gotten a lot of attention as of late is broccoli sprouts when studies found that it has large amounts of phytonutrients thought to have anticancer effects. When it comes to nutrients, basically the leafier the sprouts are, the more their nutritional content is similar to green leafy vegetables such as lettuce. Sprouted legumes (beans) have a higher carbohydrate content unless the seed itself has been removed before sale, as you can tell by these examples.

Health Benefits of Sprouts

Sprouts are a fair source of a variety of nutrients, but aren't very high in anyone, probably because they aren't very dense. If there is a significant amount of green leaf attached they have a nutrient profile similar to leafy green vegetables, including lots of vitamin K. Some studies have shown that some of them have fairly high levels of phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidant properties.

How to Select Fresh Sprouts

Sprouts are highly perishable and for that reason, must be used soon after being purchased, no more than 3 days and just a day or two depending on their condition at the time of purchase. They have been associated with foodborne illness in the past, but current regulations call for special handling of sprouts.

When choosing sprouts look for them to be firm and firmly attached to their stems. They should be a rich green at the top. The stems at the bottom should be white in color, and be in a container that is not moist or smelly. Some people sprout their own seeds at home. If you are buying them in-store, be sure to look for the International Sprout Growers Association seal.

Storing Sprouts

Sprouts should be washed after being purchased and stored cold at all times. As both temperature and humidity increase, the potential for bacterial growth goes up. If sprouts are going to be cooked, this is less a problem, but when consuming them raw, improper handling could potentially be problematic.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Sprouts

  • 1 cup raw alfalfa sprouts: .1 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus .6 grams fiber and 8 calories
  • 1 cup raw mung bean sprouts: 4 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 31 calories
  • 1 cup raw pinto bean sprouts: 10 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1.5 grams fiber and 64 calories

    Glycemic Index for Collard Greens

    As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of sprouts.

    More Information about the Glycemic Index

    Estimated Glycemic Load of Collard Greens

    • 1 cup raw alfalfa sprouts: 0
    • 1 cup raw mung bean sprouts: 2​
    • 1 cup raw pinto bean sprouts: 4

    More Information About the Glycemic Load

    More Carb Profiles:

    Sources:

    Nestle M. "Broccoli sprouts as inducers of carcinogen-detoxifying enzyme systems: clinical, dietary, and policy implications." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Oct 14;94(21):11149-51.

    United States Department of Agriculture. "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2. May 2010.

    USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.

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