Alfalfa derives its name from the Arabic word, which means “the father of all foods”.
Alfalfa sprouts the seedlings of alfalfa plant belong to the pea family and are a nutrition powerhouse associated with a host of health enhancing benefits. These noodle like sprouts are a common addition to soups, salads and sandwiches to increase their nutritive value
Alfalfa sprouts can be grown at home by letting alfalfa seeds sprout for 3-4 days. By sprouting the seeds, the digestibility and nutritive value enhances multi-fold
Since ancient times, alfalfa has been used as both food and medicine
for its diuretic, anti-bacterial and appetite-stimulating properties.
Alfalfa sprouts are a dietary source of phytoestrogens, which reduce menopausal symptoms
as well as the risk of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. They also contain a significant amount of saponins, which boost immunity.
Brimming with anti-oxidants, they contain a myriad of valuable nutrients such as calcium, vitamin K, folate, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Health Benefits of Alfalfa SproutsBoosting immune system, a stronger heart, weight loss, combating cancer and controlling blood sugar levels
are some of the health benefits associated with eating the super nutritious alfalfa sprouts.
The chlorophyll content in alfalfa sprouts functions as an effective barrier against bacterial invasion and combats various infections.
Alfalfa sprouts contain essential enzymes
like lipase, emulsin, amylase and invertase which facilitate smooth digestion of food
. They contain chemicals, which regulate regular bowel movements
keeping constipation at bay.
Improve Bone Health
Alfalfa sprouts are bursting with an unbeatable mixture of bone-friendly nutrients like Vitamin K, calcium and manganese. Being a dietary source of phytoestrogens, these sprouts mimic the role of estrogen,
which plays an important role in maintaining strong bones.
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in anti-oxidants
and canavanine, an amino acid, which lowers the risk of leukemia, pancreatic and colon cancer
as well as fibrocystic breast tumor.
Alfalfa sprouts are an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein,
which are essential nutrients in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
Good for Heart
Alfalfa sprouts contain saponins, which lower Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and increase High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol.
Saponins also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Facilitate Weight Loss
Alfalfa sprouts contain only 23 calories per serving, making it a must include in the diet for people who are on a weight loss program
. Additionally, since they are rich in fiber and protein, they provide satiety thus keeping overeating and the subsequent excessive calories in check.
Alfalfa Sprouts Recipes
Alfalfa Sprouts SandwichIngredients:
- 6 tbsp alfalfa sprouts
- 1 whole wheat foot long bread
- 1 medium yellow capsicum
- 1 medium red capsicum
- 1 medium green capsicum
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp deseeded and sliced black olives
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp powdered sugar
- Salt to taste
- Brush red, green and yellow capsicum using 1 tsp of olive oil. Pierce it with a fork and roast it over an open flame till it turns black.
- Cool, wash in cold water and remove the skin and seeds. Cut the capsicums into thin slices and keep aside.
- Combine the roasted green, yellow and red capsicum slices, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper powder in a bowl and mix properly.
- Divide the capsicum mixture into 4 equal portions.
- Cut the foot long bread into 2 pieces and then cut each piece into 2 halves horizontally.
- Cut the bread into half or in pieces of desired size. Spread the marinade evenly on each piece.
- Place the capsicum mixture over it.
- Put an equal proportion of alfalfa sprouts and black olives.
- Sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper powder on the bread.
- Sprinkle cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°c (400°F) for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately with ketchup.
While alfalfa sprouts are a nutrient-packed food, their consumption must be restricted in the following conditions due to the associated risks:
- Alfalfa sprouts may be a source of E. coli bacteria, which may result in food poisoning among people with decreased immunity.
- The amino acid L-canavanine, found in alfalfa sprouts, may trigger lupus flare-ups in patients with a history of the disease.
- The vitamin K content in alfalfa sprouts could reduce the effectiveness of warfarin and blood-thinning drugs.
- Alfalfa sprouts lower blood sugar, which increases the risk of hypoglycemia especially if you are on insulin or a diabetic medication.