The raw sprouts that you often use in salads or add to sandwiches are not safe for your health. You have probably never wondered if there could be something risky about eating them. But after all, not everything that is natural is always safe.
What exactly are sprouts?
Sprouts are the germinated seed of a vegetable, young plants on the way to full growth.
Sprouts are nutritious, low in fat, sodium, and calories. Dietitian Mira Ilica explains through Cleveland Clinic that: “Sprouts contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber and are a great source of antioxidants.”
Among the most popular sprouts are alfalfa, mung beans, red clover, and broccoli.
There are four types of sprouts:
Bean and Pea Sprouts: Include mung beans, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, and pea sprouts.
Vegetable sprouts: include broccoli, alfalfa, mustard green and red clover sprouts.
Nut Sprouts and Seeds: Include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seed sprouts.
Sprouted grains: include wheatgrass and quinoa sprouts.
What are the risks of eating sprouts?
Because sprouts are often eaten raw or only lightly cooked, this increased risk carries a high risk of causing foodborne illness, particularly salmonella and E. coli.
The sprouts grow in a warm and humid environment, which are the perfect conditions for the rapid growth of bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they point out that Eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts, such as alfalfa, beans, or any other sprouts, can lead to food poisoning from Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria.
On large farms where sprout seeds are harvested, there is a risk of these seeds coming into contact with water containing animal waste.
Although there are different ways to reduce the risk of contamination during cultivation, no treatment is guaranteed to kill all bacteria.
Harvesting them at home instead of buying them in a store is not a 100 percent safe average, sprout seeds are likely home to any harmful bacteria. If the seeds are contaminated with bacteria, they can still make you sick no matter where they were grown.
If food poisoning occurs, symptoms can appear 12 to 72 hours after ingesting the sprouts and can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
How to eat sprouts safely?
Buy only fresh sprouts that have been properly refrigerated. When you take them home, keep them refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If they are slimy or smell bad, throw them away. Always wash your hands properly before handling raw sprouts.
The CDC recommends that before consuming them, all sprouts should be thoroughly cookedAs this kills harmful germs and reduces the possibility of food poisoning.
People who may be most vulnerable to food poisoning are pregnant women, the elderly, children, and people with weakened immune systems.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.