While some avoid alfalfa sprouts due to its bitter taste and coarse texture, they’re a great nutrition-packed addition to salads and sandwiches. They are particularly high in vitamin K and contain phytochemicals called saponins that are responsible for many of its healing properties.
Anti-hemorrhagic: Alfalfa sprouts are high in vitamin K, which is an essential component in forming the biological components needed for blood clotting.
Rebuilding intestinal flora: In cases of certain digestive disorders or when oral antibiotics are taken, the intestinal flora may be altered. This may impair the production of vitamin K that occurs in the gut and dietary implementation of vitamin K may be needed.
Anti-anemic: The iron content in alfalfa sprouts is sufficient enough to encourage red blood cell production. In addition, the vitamin C content helps the absorption of non-heme iron, which comes from vegetable sources and is not as readily available as heme iron from animal sources.
Healthy bones and remineralization: Vitamin K is needed for calcium utilization when the body builds bones. It’s beneficial effect on bone metabolism is used to treat rickets, osteoporosis, and arthrosis.
Digestion: Alfalfa sprouts contain amylase and protease enzymes that contribute to gas-free digestion.
Cholesterol reduction: The saponin phytochemicals in the alfalfa sprouts are responsible for reducing the cholesterol in the liver and the blood.
Good source of:
Vitamin K, iron, folate, vitamin C
Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:
Purchasing: When purchasing alfalfa sprouts, look for sprouts that are firm and upright. They should not be limp or slimy on the bottom, which indicates spoilage. They should be white and light green and free from brown spots.
Storing: Place unwashed sprouts in the refrigerator where they will keep fresh for a few days.
Enjoying: Alfalfa sprouts are usually eaten raw and put on salads and sandwiches. Tender alfalfa leaves can be used in salads but are usually cooked like spinach and put in soups, omelets, and croquettes.
Vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of blood-thinning medication warfarin (Coumadin). Pregnant women, infants, individuals suffering from lupus erythematosus or other autoimmune diseases should not consume raw alfalfa sprouts due to its potential for Salmonella and E. Coli contamination.
Resources & recipes:
Alfalfa recipes: http://greenhealthreport.com/2010/04/vegetarian-alfalfa-recipes/
Avocado alfalfa appetizer: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/avocado-with-alfalfa
Collard wraps: http://www.feastie.com/recipe/avocado-pesto/raw-vegan-collard-wraps
Present Knowledge in Nutrition. International Life Sciences Institute, ILSI- North America, 6th ed., 1990.
Lian, J.B. Osteocalcin: functional studies and postulated role in bone reabsoption. In: Current advances in vitamin K research. New York, Elsevier Science Publishers, 1988, p. 275.
Story J.A.; LePAge, S.L.; Petro, M.S. et al. Interactions of alfalfa plant and sprout saponins with cholesterol in vitro and in cholesterol-fed rats.