By Karen Appold
While Mom may have told you to finish your Brussels sprouts, telling you to eat your alfalfa sprouts would have been good advice, too.
The roots of an alfalfa plant descend 20 to 30 feet into the ground, bringing up nutrients that are unavailable on the surface. As a result, alfalfa is rich in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that help you to maintain a healthy body. Specifically, alfalfa contains vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, E, G, and K. It is also rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, sodium, calcium, silicon calcium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, and carotene. You can consume it in various forms– leaves, seeds, sprouts, powder, juice, or tablets. Alfalfa sprouts, the shoots of the alfalfa plant, have a concentrated amount of vitamins and minerals.
Proteins in alfalfa contain essential amino acids such as tryptophane, theronine, arginine, and lysine. Alfalfa is also a rich source of dietary fiber and chlorophyll. In addition, it contains a high concentration of active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and slows the aging process.
Here are some ways in which alfalfa can specifically aid in certain health conditions.
- Because alfalfa’s minerals are good for bones, tea made from alfalfa (particularly its seeds) is a good treatment for arthritis.
- Alfalfa reduces blood sugar levels, so it’s a good natural treatment for diabetes.
- Vitamins A, C, E, as well as zinc help to dissolve kidney stones. These nutrients are found in alfalfa powder and sprouts.
- A vitamin K deficiency can cause excessive bleeding. Alfalfa sprouts are rich in K.
- Because alfalfa sprouts contain vitamin C, they will keep your immune system strong and keep your skin healthy.
- The potassium found in sprouts helps to keep muscles healthy and your heart beating normally.
- As a great source of phytoestrogens, alfalfa sprouts can lower your risk for cancer and osteoporosis.
- Saponins, contained in alfalfa sprouts, lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and fats while increasing your HDL (good cholesterol). Saponins may also help to boost immunity.
- Juice from alfalfa, taken daily with equal amounts of lettuce and carrot juice, stimulates hair growth and prevents balding. Alfalfa nutritional supplements are also available to boost your health.
Alfalfa sprouts have only eight calories and zero grams of fat in each cup, yet another reason to eat them up!
Karen Appold is a medical writer based in Lehigh Valley, PA.