Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouts can be germinated at home or produced industrially. They are a prominent ingredient of the raw food diet and common in Eastern Asian cuisine.
Sprouting, like cooking, reduces anti-nutritional compounds in raw legumes. Raw lentils, for example, contain lectins, anti-nutritional proteins which can be reduced by sprouting or cooking. Sprouting is also applied on a large scale to barley as a part of the malting process. A downside to consuming raw sprouts is that the process of germinating seeds can also be conducive to harmful bacterial growth.