Sprouts represent the point of greatest vitality in the life cycle of a plant. One clearly experiences this vitality when eating sprouts consistently. During sprouting, vitamin and enzyme content increases dramatically. At the same time starch is converted into simple sugars, protein is turned into amino acids and peptones, and crude fat is broken down into free fatty acids. Hence, the sprouting process predigests the nutrients of the seed, making it easier to assimilate and metabolize. This explains why grains and legumes, many of which are common allergens, often do not cause allergies when sprouted.
Nevertheless, the sprouting process increases the cooling attributes of the seed, which can over-cool the cold person and weaken digestion in those with low “digestive fire.” Generally if one is frail, feels cold often and/or tends toward loose stools, then sprouts must be eaten sparingly. Cooking makes sprouts more appropriate for these individuals. On the other hand, the excessive person (robust body and personality, thick tongue coating, ruddy complexion, strong radial pulse and voice) will benefit from abundant raw or lightly cooked sprouts.
In Chinese medicine, sprouts are a specific remedy for cases of stagnant liver qi (with signs such as swellings and lumps, mental depression, frustration, swollen abdomen and chest, purple-tinged or dark tongue, and/or greenish complexion).
During cold seasons, sprouts act as an excellent source of fresh vegetables. Cooking them at this time of the year balances their cooling nature. In fact, in China where sprouts have thousands of years of traditional use, they are routinely cooked. Raw sprouts have been desirable in the West because they more efficiently reduce the massive excesses occurring among the general population.
For better digestion for every type of person, large grain and legume sprouts such as aduki, lentil, corn, green peas, soy, garbanzo, and wheat can be lightly steamed and are still vital and energizing. They need to be simmered, sauteed, or steamed longer fore people who are cold or deficient.
The growth characteristics of sprouts are most appropriate for attuning one to the energetic upsurges of spring and summer.
From: Healing With Whole Foods