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The history of sprouts

The consumption of sprouts has a long history; ancient sources tell us that bean sprouts were an essential part of the Chinese diet 3000 years before our era.

Ancient Chinese medical writings testify to the healing properties of sprouts. They are said to remedy various ailments, including flatulence,  muscle cramps, digestive problems, weakness in the lungs, and disorders of the optic nerve. These sources also say that sprouts reduce swelling, have a laxative effect, combat rheumatism, are a source of energy, and promote good health in general.

Sprouts are still part of the daily diet in China and other Asian countries. In mountainous areas of Asia, where the winters are long and fresh produce is rare, the inhabitants have long relied on sprouts as their main source of energy, SL-protein, vitamins, and enzymes.

Health beverage in the 18 th century

In the West, the navigator Captain James Cook was the first to realize, in the 18 th century, the value of spouts as a source of vitamin C. The captain decided to cook bean sprouts at very low heat for hours and in that way produce a health drink for his crews which would prevent scurvy — a disease that plagued seamen in particular. Cook did not lose a single crew member in the ensuing years, while other naval captains lost approximately half of their crews to scurvy.

During World War II, as certain products became scarce, the US government feared it would not be possible to supply the population with sufficiently protein-rich food from animal sources. According to the advice of the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, sprouts were the food most likely to remedy a potential shortage of animal protein. The authorities then launched a campaign to introduce sprouted food to the American public. Books on the nutritional value of sprouts and cookbooks which emphasized sprouted food were published and distributed nationwide at government expense. But in the end, the feared shortage of animal protein in the country did not materialize, and sprouts were forgotten for the next several decades.

New interest

Sprouts attracted general attention again around 1970. Since then, with growing public consciousness of the nutritional value of sprouts and their health-promoting properties, consumption of these foods has steadily
increased, and they are now an important and integral part
of diets all over the world.

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