Sprouts have always been labeled as ‘health food’. The alfalfa sprouts are not any different from other sprouts. In this write-up, we will read about the nutrition, along with the health benefits of the same.
Alfalfa belongs to the pea family. It is a flowering plant, which is cultivated in almost all parts of the world. It is also known as Medicago sativa, lucerne, lucerne grass, etc. It is often cultivated as a forage crop. It has clusters of small purple flowers. Since it belongs to the pea family, it is considered to be a legume. The specialty of this plant is that it can be planted in any part of the world, during any time of the year. Yet, the plant harvests in 7 days regardless of the temperature and climate at that time.
The sprouts are white in color and have thread-like appearance with tiny green tops on it. The juice of these sprouts has a mild flavor and it can be mixed with other juices. There was alfalfa sprouts recall due to salmonella poisoning. However, salmonella contamination of alfalfa seeds is not as widespread as the contamination of meat, eggs, etc.
There are numerous benefits of consuming these sprouts. The juice of alfalfa has a number of vital nutrients, which fulfill the nutritional needs of the body. It is considered to be highly rich in anti-oxidants among all vegetable juices. It is rich in vitamin A, B, C, E, and K, which are major contributors in smooth functioning of several organs in the body.
Regular consumption of these sprouts is like a preventive medicine against numerous degenerative diseases. They are also beneficial for arthritis treatment. Regular consumption of these sprouts reduces inflammation associated with arthritis. They also help in reducing blood pressure. Eating them regularly helps in strengthening the immune system.
Moreover, the most important health benefit of these sprouts is that they are rich in saponin content. According to Peter Cheeke, Professor of Comparative Nutrition, at the Linus Pauling Institute, saponins have a direct stimulatory effect on the immune system. They also perform the most vital function of cleansing the colon. They are non-systemic plant molecules that act within the intestinal tract without entering the rest of the body, after consumption.
Research is being carried out to find the benefits of alfalfa in treating leukemia and other types of cancer, like, pancreatic and colon cancer. The amino acid present in alfalfa helps in the fight against cancer. Regular intake of the sprout juice is also known to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. Patients suffering from intestinal ulcers can benefit a lot from alfalfa juice, as it heals and soothes the intestines.
Alfalfa sprouts help in increasing bone formation and bone density. They are used to prevent bone breakdown, which occurs in a health condition called osteoporosis. They are also known to be helpful in treating a number of female problems, like, hot flashes, menopause, fibrocystic breast tumors, etc.
Sprouting Alfalfa Seeds
For sprouting alfalfa seeds, you will not have to undertake a long procedure. You will need about 2 tablespoons of alfalfa seeds. Place the seeds in a large bowl. Pour water in the bowl till the seeds are completely immersed in water. Let the seeds soak for about eight to twelve hours. Then place the seeds in a sprouter. Place the sprouter away from direct sunlight, but at room temperature. Rinse and drain the seeds every 8 to 12 hours for 6 days. At the end of the 6th day, you will see the sprouts with green leaves.
To get maximum benefits from these sprouts, you should include them in your diet regularly. However, if you don’t have time to sprout alfalfa or find it time-consuming, then you can buy them ready as well. You can make salad using these sprouts or also include them in your burgers, sandwiches, or make soups with them.