MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With each year, there seems to be a new wave of food trends. One foot item you may have been seeing pop up a lot more often is sprouted wheat.

Not many are aware of what that even entails, so WCCO’s Natalie Nyhus talked with dietician Christina Meyer-Jax to get a better feel for the grain, and whether it’s worth the extra cash.

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“I have spent my entire career as a dietitian talking about the benefits of whole grains. And whole grains are great. But there’s this next level that you can take it to, and it’s sprouted grains,” she said. “Any seed or grain, to protect itself from the environment and wait until conditions are right, has a protective layer around it. And these are called anti-nutrients.”

Meyer-Jax said this layer blocks your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients fully. She says sprouting allows you to unlock the full potential of the nutrients.

“If you stop that sprouting at just the right time, you’ve taken down the barriers, you’ve taken down those anti-nutrients your body can’t absorb, and you’ve stopped it just in time so the plant doesn’t use up all the nutrients in there.”

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That adds up to an extra dose of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids.

Meyer-Jax said another potential benefit for sprouted grains is that they are easier to stomach, literally.

“Some people also feel, because you’ve taken down some of those barriers and started that pre-digestion of certain nutrients in there, that it’s easy on the digestion track. Some people feel they have less stomach problems when they are eating sprouted products,” she said.

In a nutshell, sprouted grain is like getting the full potential of the nutrients that are in grains you may already be eating.

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As for the cost comparisons, it really depends on your budget. A regular loaf of whole wheat bread is about $2, whereas a loaf of sprouted wheat is around $6.