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Sprout Toxicity

Hi all,

I thought it would be helpful to have a separate thread to discuss the toxicity of sprouts.

I began sprouting a number of legumes & grains after going raw. Then I began to read about the toxicity of raw sprouts in various places. I’ve been briefly cooking my sprouts in boiling water.

Here’s a link to get us started -


[cut & paste this link into browser]



  • elizabethhelizabethh Raw Newbie

    hey ron,
    thanks for that link. i read through everything i could find on sprout toxicity, on this website and others as well as a medical journal i borrowed from my cousin, but the only conclusive thing i could find is the toxicity of alfalfa sprouts, which i will reduce in my diet. also commercially sold sprouts have a high possibility of contamination, but i sprout everything myself anyways. maybe you found something i didn’t that compelled you to boil all your sprouts briefly? would you mind pointing me in the direction of that link/book/other source?

  • elizabelth – my original source of info was “The Sprout Garden” by Mark Braunstein

  • alpdesignsalpdesigns Raw Newbie

    Sprouted buckwheat greens contain fagopyrins, some foods (spinach) contain goitrogenous compounds. Legumes contain lectins. All plants contain toxic substances, most more harmful to bugs than humans. I wonder, why sprout if you cook them?

  • I’ve heard of this but don’t know much about it but the way I see it, it can’t more toxic than eating cooked or processed food. I could be wrong. I wonder how toxic they really are.


  • This is confusing. :-\

  • elizabethhelizabethh Raw Newbie

    I’d like to see some conclusive research on this topic. 123- thats a good point, I wonder how toxic these things are to humans, as opposed to bugs. Cooking foods forms toxins and carcinogens, so what would be the most toxic? Cooked or raw sprouts?
    I don’t have the answer, but I’d sure like to find out. Interesting topic.

  • i think this is interesting. i’ve wanted to add more sprouts into my diet, i’ve heard that once sprouted, food has alot less calories—i wonder is this true.
    i tried to make some tabouli with quinoa. it grossed me out, i wonder if it was my body saying stay away its toxic!!
    i’ve had the same experience with sprouted garbanzo beans.
    what i wonder is, if you are steaming them, can they still be considered living food? aren’t the enzymes killed in the high temperature?

  • alpdesignsalpdesigns Raw Newbie

    Inaia! I went to your site and I’m hypnotized, mesmerized by the beauty of your music! Thank you for posting the link. I listened to the opening song numerous times in a row.

  • i think there are very very few bean/grain varieties which become mildly toxic upon sprouting, i don’t know all of them, though. Adzuki beans and alfalfa are the only ones I know of. But getting scared of all sprouts and avoiding them just because very few of them are toxic, we may be loosing more.

    As far as I am concerned the following sprouts are extremely nutritious and healthy and can be consumed by all without any doubts : Mung Bean, Chick Pea, fenu greek, wheat, millet, Almonds and Walnuts (soaked) etc.

  • deborahanndeborahann Raw Newbie

    I didn’t have time to read the link but Steve Meyerwitz addresses the supposed toxicity of alfalfa in his book Sprouts The Miracle Food. At the end of the essay he says never juice non-green alfalfa and clover sprouts, or raw mung bean, lentil, adzuki, big beans, red or green pea sprouts. Big bean sprouts such as soy and pea should be cooked as they have for centuries by Asian and Latin peoples. These few tenets will keep you sprout diet safe and halthful

  • alpdesignsalpdesigns Raw Newbie

    Cooking devitalizes the vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and kills the enzymes.

  • deborahanndeborahann Raw Newbie

    I actually don’t grow the ones that need to be cooked. There’s too many other choices so I just don’t bother.

  • I am afraid of eating sprouts now. I never liked them anyway and like stylistchick says – maybe my body is saying avoid them. I don’t know – do we need them? Am I missing out on essential nutrients not eating them? Who do I believe? I’m more muddled than ever now. And I have to say heating sprouts sounds even yuckier than raw – sorry, ron : (

  • 123- Thank you. :) And thanks for checking out my music. So glad you liked it.
    Sorry all, don’t want to hijack the sprout thread- but I had to say thanks you. :)


  • I say let your body be your guide, but realize that you might have gotten a bad batch? Like all fruits and veges, sprouts can differ from microclimate to microclimate and batch to batch. Time is CRITICAL, as is rinsing.

    Sprouts used to gross me out and make my throat itch. That was back when I only got yucky old ones at Ponderosa salad bar. Now I could scarcely live without them! I don’t do a lot of legumes, but I do buckwheat groats almost daily. I soak it for 20 minutes, grow it for 24 hours, rinse it profusely, and dehydrate it overnight. I make crackers, cereal and snacks from it. I honestly believe I could live on Buckwheaties and green smoothies indefinitely! I too have heard scary things about Buckwheat lettuce. Well rinsed, however, I believe the sprouted groats are imminently safe and wonderfully beneficial.

    I also do a lot of mung, sunflower, alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and some quinoa. I haven’t had much luck yet with fenugreek and I’m not fond of sweet peas, but that’s just me. I tried some onion sprouts at a sprout farm (Mung Dynasty in Pittsburgh) this weekend. Ooh la la!

    Sprouted nuts are fab! They’re like nuts, only with less fat.

    If you don’t dig beans, don’t eat them. If you have trouble getting the green plants down but want to consume them for health benefit, throw them into a smoothie!!! You can’t beat sprouting for $ value or nutritional value.

    I’m guessing we’ll all be sprouting at home LOTS MORE if greens start being pasteurized!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • alpdesignsalpdesigns Raw Newbie

    Inaia, I so enjoyed the music that I bought the CD from your site!

    I put a mixture of adzuki beans and lentils in to soak yesterday and they smelled so bad from the get-go that even if they do sprout well, I doubt that I’ll eat them. If you can’t stand the smell, odds are that they won’t taste good to you either. Pulses, legumes are the worst smelling of all sprouting seeds (IMO). I normally don’t eat legumes anyway. The sprouts that I’m growing now are just a test. The three types of sprouts that John says are toxic are all legumes. I think mold, mycotoxins, aflatoxins could be a problem with sprouting seeds that need a lot of time to sprout.

    I do sprout buckwheat groats and sunflower seeds with success and they taste great, smell fine.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    Ron4540, How about using Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide?


    We bought that with are first batch of sprouts… because we were concerned about “poisons”. But, we haven’t used it since we haven’t even tried sprouting.

    Sprouts was one of the (raw food) superfoods in the Get Fresh Magazine this last issue.

  • DeborahBeeDeborahBee Raw Newbie

    I have a kit from a health food shop in the UK (Holland & Barratt) that is for spouting. It contains chick peas, mung beans, lentils, alfalfa seeds and aduki beans.
    There is no mention on the box about toxicity.

    I’m sure, with the stringent Health & Safety laws here in the UK, if there was any risk the kit would never be allowed to be sold.

  • ooh that is scary because my kids love eating alfalfa sprouts with lemon and salt :(

  • 123- Thanks for supporting my music. That’s very cool. :) Hope you enjoy it.

    When I first went raw, I was sprouting garbanzos (chick peas) and they wold turn out well and they tasted good, but now I have no desire for them. I just don’t want to eat them even if they’re around.

    I was thinking of buying one of those sprouting kits though because now I just walk 2 blocks to Whole Foods to get sprouts. I think it would be lovely to grow them myself.


  • Can somebody tell me if there is anything wrong with just soaking buckwheat for a couple of hours then using it in your recipe. I did that a few days ago. I soaked it for 2 hours then put it right into my recipe for pizza crust without sprouting it at all. It tasted great

  • I’m sure this is a real dumb question but can you sprout popcorn seeds?

  • deborahanndeborahann Raw Newbie

    As long as the alfalfa sprouts are good and green, they are fine. As far as the buckwheat- It would be like eating a soaked seed, I imagine. Sprouting develops the extras like enzymes and other nutriests. Rawgirl1976- Popcorn should sprout as long as it wasn’t dried at a temp to kill, but the seed part could be awful hard!

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    Victoria Boutenko mentions toxicity of sprouts (very briefly) in her book. They only eat about a handful or two a week. I don’t remember the name of the toxin… but, I will find out and post it.

    Also, even greens have toxins (according to the lecture we just heard from her last week). If you eat the same greens… 1-2 bunches a day for 30 days… the toxin in the green will affect you in a negative way. So, it is important to vary your greens. I know I won’t stop eating greens because of this toxin… and the same for sprouts.

    I am pretty sure you cannot sprout popcorn seed… I just read that on Get Fresh magazine.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    I checked Boutenko’s book and it says that about the 3rd to 6th day of sprouting, “sprouts contain higher levels of alkaloids” (pg 103), “as a means of protection from animals nipping them off and killing them.” ...and it “doesn’t mean that sprouts are poisonous”.


  • Here are excellent resources for any medical fact finding:



    Have fun!

  • justagirljustagirl Raw Newbie

    Hi, Please note this link. It basically says that sprout toxicity is being either taken out of context, or just simply misunderstood.

  • justagirl – that’s a really good article – thanks!

  • I think that it is important to remember that many things that we eat every day have toxic components. Even almonds, a nut that almost all raw foodist LOVE, has a toxic component. Just as do apricots, apples, some sprouts, greens, etc… the list can go on and on. To me, the important lesson to learn is that nature does not want us to consume massive quantities of the same thing repeatedly. None of these foods are going to kill us in small doses. In fact, many will be helpful and beneficial to us.

    It goes along well with homeopathy. A small dose can be curative and healthy while a large dose can be fatal. Moderation!

    Please don’t be scared of some of the most wonderful foods out there!

  • Wow, thank you so much for that link, justagirl. I have been going back and forth on this topic and was so relieved to read that informative and (for a change) well researched article. I have some safe to eat mung beans soaking right now!

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