With mixed reviews circling over the internet about alfalfa sprouts, the benefits of this nutritionally packed sprouts have gone somewhere in the background. After FDA put them in a potentially hazardous category, does this mean alfalfa has been any short of nutritious that it was previously? Not at all.
As per FDA, alfalfa sprout may carry illness causing bacteria and hence people with weaker immune system should stop consuming them in a raw form and prefer the properly cooked one. On the contrary, people blessed with a stronger immune system are free to consume this sprout the way they want like in soups, sandwiches or raw salads.
Where does Alfalfa come from?
Popularly known as Medicago stiva, alfalfa is known by some other names as well mainly Lucerne, Buffalo herb, Spanish Clover and California Clover etc. A member of pea family, its history dates back as long as 5000 years.
It originates from South Asia as well as Central Asia but it has been in many places. 5000 years ago, they were being used by Chinese physicians medically. Later in 1700, they were found to be a cure of a skin disease called Scurvy by some sailors. During the times of World War 2, a British professor of nutrition at Cornell University introduced them into food culture. Moreover, alfalfa has been a part of animal fodder since the ancient times.
Having this rich history, there remains no doubt that alfalfa sprouts have some great benefits to offer to us. Let’s dig into the details of what they can be.
How can Alfalfa benefit us?
Alfalfa mental health benefits as well as other benefits are plenty in number. Albeit being part of a legume family, alfalfa is also considered an herb. The young sprout or seedlings of the plant are widely used as the mature plant is not much of a consumable owing to their coarse texture and bitter taste. The young sprout being small in size comes packed with several potential health benefits in all of its parts. When consumed in moderation and according to the prescribing of a health care provider, you can see the difference it can render to your health. Let’s have a look what the sprout mineral and vitamins can do to our health:
1. Healing the Wounds
Many may not know this but one cup of alfalfa sprout which is also one serving of it can provide us with 13% of Vitamin K recommended for daily use. Vitamin K is a crucial vitamin for blood clotting. Studies say that if you consume 1 serving of alfalfa daily, you are more likely to prevent haemorrhagic issues in the later age. Vitamin K helps clotting blood at the site of wound thus speeding up the healing process.
2. Strengthening Bones and Teeth
Being rich in Vitamin K, alfalfa helps in strengthening bones and teeth. Vitamin K helps in absorption of calcium in the body which is crucial for maintaining bones and teeth. Without adequate calcium absorption they will be prone to damage. Hence the 38% vitamin K coming from one serving of alfalfa daily will keep your risk of osteoporosis at bay.
3. Lowering Cholesterol
Every other person we know nowadays is struggling to burn the fats and lower cholesterol in the blood stream but not many know about the handy solution on hand and that is alfalfa sprouts! It has been supported by numerous studies that alfalfa can lower the blood cholesterol in humans as well as animals. The thanks is all due to saponins in them which are cholesterol lowering compounds.
4. Loosing Weight
This may grab attention of many because not many are familiar with the weight loss ability of these amazing sprouts. These are nutritionally dense and give you sense of fuller stomach for longer. A single serving of alfalfa sprouts contains only 8 calories. While being low on calories they also contain fibre (3% of RDI) that helps with the weight loss as well.
5. Helping with Menopause and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Vitamin K together with phytoestrogens, alfalfa sprouts help women deal with menopausal symptoms like mood swings, vaginal drying, hot flushes etc. The phytoestrogens mimic the estrogen which is lower in women going through menopause. Consumption of alfalfa renders a soothing and calming effect to the body and also helps those dealing with insomnia. Blood clotting capability of vitamin K prevents from excessive bleeding during menstruation.
6. Giving you Beautiful Hair
Tired of trying all the shampoos and DIY hair oils but still struggling with hair problems? Well, you are not alone. You need to add alfalfa sprouts to your diet and experience the wonders it does to your hair. Alfalfa sprouts are loaded with amino acids that tend to enhance your hair growth. Moreover, the high amount of vitamin B6 and B1 in this nutrient dense herb helps in healthy growth of hair. The silica present in it prevents baldness while also reducing hair fall as well as thinning of hair. This does not end here. The vitamin C in alfalfa strengthens the collagen synthesis and supports antioxidant activities in the hair follicles.
Only a Handful of Disadvantages
The health benefits of alfalfa sprout really outnumber the potential health hazards which are listed below:
- If you are on a blood thinner medicine, then you must consult your doctor before incorporating this plant in your diet as the high level of Vitamin K may interfere with the effect of medicine.
- If you are pregnant then you must avoid alfalfa as it may lead to uterine contractions.
- If you have some autoimmune disorder like lupus then unfortunately this plant is a no-no for you. As there have been some reports of reactivation of lupus disease after consuming alfalfa supplements.
- If you have a weak immune system then you must avoid consuming this sprout as it can leave you with some serious infection.
Having acknowledged alfalfa health benefits as well as a handful of disadvantages, it is now crystal clear that incorporating this beneficial plant in diet as per your health care provider’s instruction will help you soak in the benefits.