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Scientifically termed as Medicago sativa, the herb alfalfa is beneficial your health in numerous ways. Also termed as lucerne, alfalfa is one of the topmost beneficial herbs. The deluge of minerals, vitamins and protein in the herb makes it superior in comparison to other herbs and sprouts. Although alfalfa belongs to the legume family, it is also considered as a herb  .
The herb is widely used for its medicinal properties, and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ages. The seeds, as well as the dried leaves of the herb, are used as supplements. The dried leaves of alfalfa may help lower the cholesterol levels, improve your metabolic health, and can help in relieving the symptoms of menopause. The antioxidant effects encompassed within the leaves are beneficial for treating inflammation and damages caused by oxidation  .
However, the most commonly used part of the legume is the sprouted seeds or alfalfa sprouts. The plethora of health benefits embraced by the low-calorie, nutritious legume can do wonders to your health. From promoting weight loss to improving the digestion process, alfalfa sprouts are a rich source of a type of plant-based oestrogen  which aids in improving women's health and manages the symptoms of menopause.
Read on to know in detail about the benefits and nutritional value possessed by the legume cum herb, so that you can incorporate it into your diet.
Nutritional Value Of Alfalfa
100 grams of the herb contains 23 calories of energy. They have 0.7 grams fat, 0.076 milligrams thiamine, 0.126 milligrams riboflavin, 0.481 milligrams niacin, 0.563 milligrams pantothenic acid, 0.034 milligrams vitamin B6, 0.96 milligrams iron, 0.188 milligrams manganese, and 0.92 milligrams zinc.
The other nutrients present in alfalfa sprouts are 
- 2.1 grams carbohydrates
- 1.9 grams dietary fibre
- 4 grams protein
- 36 micrograms folate
- 8.2 milligrams vitamin C
- 30.5 micrograms vitamin K
- 32 milligrams calcium
- 27 milligrams magnesium
- 70 milligrams phosphorus
- 79 milligrams potassium
- 6 milligrams sodium
Health Benefits Of Alfalfa
From treating kidney problems to upset stomachs, the legume sprouts are extremely beneficial for your health. Consuming sprouts are naturally beneficial for your body, and alfalfa stands apart due to the deluge of benefits it possesses.
1. Prevents cancer
Incorporating alfalfa into daily diet is extremely beneficial for various reasons. And one of the major reasons is its ability to prevent cancer. Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid known as canavanine, which is asserted to possess cancer prevention properties. The canavanine also aids in carcinogen binding, the ones present in the colon  . Likewise, the sprouts are packed with phytoestrogens and antioxidants that suppress the growth of cancerous cells and balance the hormones.
2. Aids in weight loss
The substantially low amount of calories present in the alfalfa sprouts, along with its fibre content will keep you full. This will also aid in reducing the constant need to snack, which is the major cause of unhealthy weight gain. The vitamins in present sprouts help stimulate your metabolism, which will increase the energy metabolism and energy levels, thereby aiding in burning excess fat  .
3. Prevents UTI
The diuretic properties of alfalfa sprouts aid in preventing the onset of urinary tract infections. The sprouts can speed up the removal of the bacteria causing the infection in the urinary tract or bladder. Being a natural diuretic, the sprouts increase the urine flow, thereby removing the UTI-causing bacteria  .
4. Treats menopause irregularities
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in phytoestrogens, the hormones which aid in managing the irregularities associated with menopause. Three types of phytoestrogens - coumestrol, genistein, and biocanine are found in the alfalfa sprouts . Likewise, the minerals found in alfalfa can help with vaginal dryness, hot flashes, low levels of oestrogen, night sweats, postmenopausal osteoporosis as well.
5. Prevents diabetes
The rich fibre content in the alfalfa sprouts makes them an unavoidable part of daily diet in individuals who are trying to keep diabetes at bay. The fibre content aids in maintaining a balance of insulin and glucose in the body, thereby preventing the uneven hike and drop of blood sugar levels  . Regular and controlled consumption of the sprouts can also reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome associated with diabetes.
6. Boosts immunity
Regular consumption of alfalfa sprouts can help improve your immune system. Phytonutrients such as L-canavanine and chlorophyll present in the sprouts aid in improving your body's resistance to diseases. Likewise, the antioxidant property of the sprouts also benefits when it comes to immunity. The vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells, thereby guarding your body against any sort of inflammation or infections  .
7. Improves digestion
Rich in dietary fibre, regular consumption of alfalfa sprouts are extremely beneficial for your digestive system. It promotes your digestion and eases the bowel movement. The sprouts can reduce symptoms of diarrhoea, constipation, and gastrointestinal distress. It is also asserted to have the ability to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer .
8. Controls excessive bleeding
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in vitamin K, which is a blood clotting vitamin. The regular consumption of sprouts can manage conditions such as nose bleeding or uterine bleeding. Drinking alfalfa tea is one of the effective ways to control excessive bleeding, as it helps in clotting your blood. This property also helps in speeding up the healing process  .
9. Prevents rheumatism
The legume sprout is widely used for its antirheumatic property. With its anti-inflammatory property, the alfalfa sprouts help in providing relief from pains affecting your joints tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles  .
10. Manages acid reflux & heartburn
Similar to alkaline foods, alfalfa sprouts help to regulate your stomach's pH level. In the event of lack of digestion, your stomach will produce an excess amount of acid - which will result in acid reflux and heartburn  . Consuming alfalfa sprouts can reduce the acidity level and maintain the pH level.
11. Protects heart health
Regular consumption of alfalfa sprouts can be good for your cardiovascular health. The high amount of antioxidants in the legume protects your heart from diseases such as arteriosclerosis. Also, being a natural blood thinner, it strengthens the rutin present in the blood vessels - further strengthening your heart  .
12. Reduces cholesterol levels
Various studies point to the fact that alfalfa sprouts are extremely beneficial in reducing the levels of cholesterol. The legume reduces the LDL cholesterol levels, and thereby protects your arteries and blood vessels from plaque formation  . This results in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes etc.
13. Improves metabolism
The ample amount of B vitamins in the alfalfa sprouts play a crucial role in stimulating your metabolic activities. The sprouts ensure that the hormone production, energy metabolism and basic bodily functions are carried out perfectly .
14. Boosts skin quality
The alfalfa sprouts work as a cleanser and prevent dry skin, thereby helping in maintaining healthy skin. The chlorophyll content in the legume clears out the toxins from your skin, leaving it fresh and rejuvenated. Likewise, vitamin A in the sprouts helps in improving your skin from the inside  .
15. Improves hair growth
Being rich in protein, minerals and vitamins, the alfalfa sprouts are undoubtedly beneficial for your hair. It helps in preventing and reducing hair fall. Consuming alfalfa sprouts can strengthen your hair from the roots, improving your scalp health  .
Healthy Alfalfa Recipes
1. Quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumber and alfalfa sprouts
- 1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 heirloom tomato, chopped
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 2 ounces alfalfa sprouts, torn apart
- 5 scallion, chopped
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Heat olive in a pot, over medium heat.
- Add garlic and quinoa and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir occasionally until lightly toasted.
- Add the broth and bring it to boil.
- Then, cover with a lid and simmer it for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
- In a bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, alfalfa sprouts and quinoa.
- Pour lemon juice and red wine vinegar over the quinoa.
- Mix well and serve.
2. Scrambled eggs with avocado and alfalfa sprouts
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon ghee
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
- In a frying pan, add ghee on low-medium heat.
- Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan, stirring constantly until cooked.
- In a plate, place the alfalfa sprouts, avocado and egg.
- Enjoy the healthy, light meal.
- Pregnant women should avoid alfalfa as it may cause uterine contractions or simulations  .
- Individuals who are using blood thinners should not consume alfalfa due to the high vitamin K content.
- Alfalfa can cause severe negative effects in people with autoimmune disorders. The immune stimulating property of the herb may reactivate the disorders.
- Individuals having a compromised immune system should not consume alfalfa due to the chances of the herb being contaminated by bacteria.
- Women suffering from breast cancer should avoid alfalfa due to its oestrogenic qualities .
- Alfalfa may react with diabetes medications, resulting in dangerously low blood sugar that can lead to lightheadedness, fainting, and cognitive confusion.
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