Paleo 101 Guide

Free Paleo 101 Quick-Start Guide

Get Started the Smart Way. Feel and Look Better, Faster!

Free Paleo 101 Guide

Are Sprouts Paleo?

Jeremy Hendon | May 9
Are Sprouts Paleo?

Sprouts can come from a variety of foods, including legumes, veggies, grains or nuts.  This can be confusing when questioning their Paleo-friendliness, as a “sprout” can basically come from anything that has a seed.

What You Should Know About Sprouts

Before you sprinkle those tasty salad toppers, carefully consider the source.

When grains are sprouted, the seed germinates and a chute comes out of the seed. This chute becomes the sprout that is cut off and consumed, as opposed to eating the seed (in contrast to whole grains and wheat flours that incorporate the seed proteins and starches into the milling process).

Once the seed is sprouted, the concentration of lectin (the substance that protect the plant but can be harmful to the body)  is decreased within several days time and in several weeks’, levels drop to almost none.

Are Bean Sprouts Paleo?One of the effects of sprouting is that it can convert a portion of the sugar in the seed to vitamin C (which functions as an antioxidant).  As we do not manufacture our own vitamin C, this can be beneficial.

Sprouting also tends to lower a food’s phytic acid content, also a good thing.

Certain types of sprouts may have particularly healthy effects.  Sunflower sprouts have a high cynarin content, a compound known to have antioxidant properties. Broccoli sprouts have also been shown to reduce insulin resistance, decrease triglycerides and reduce oxidative stress in type 2 diabetics.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Loren Cordain says: “We can consume grain sprouts without fear of anti-nutrients. However, legume sprouts still appear to contain considerable concentrations of saponins–the secondary compounds responsible for increasing gut permeability. Alfalfa sprouts (which are actually in the pea family) have an especially high concentration.”

Mark Sisson says: “Primal, depending on the starter seed. I see no reason why sprouted celery seeds, broccoli seeds, radish seeds, or lettuce seeds wouldn’t be perfectly Primal.  Lentil, oat, or bean sprouts? Probably not technically.”

Are Sprouts Paleo?


It Depends.

Consider their parent and then decide. Sprouts are surely Paleo if the seed they came from is a Paleo food, such as a vegetable.  If the sprout source is a legume or grain, sprouts are no-go for Paleo. 

However, depending on individual comfort levels with incorporating non-Paleo foods, there could be room for some other types of sprouts in the diet.


Images: Copyright (c) JackF from Fotolia and SunnyS from Fotolia