Adding just a small amount of alfalfa in your salad does wonders for your health.
Alfalfa, also known under the name lucerne, is a flowering plant whose cultivation is very common around the world. In fact, it is the most cultivated forage legume, totalling to an annual production of hundreds of tonnes of alfalfa sprouts. Typically, alfalfa is intended for the feeding of cattle or horses. However, some of the cultivated varieties are also suitable for consumption by humans, as reflected by its extended role in herbal medicine during a period of 1,500 years.
But despite its long-lived usage in, among others, traditional Chinese medicine, its therapeutic potential is still to be confirmed. Instead, recent scientific findings suggest that what makes alfalfa a superfood is its nourishing and preventive effects – eat alfalfa sprouts to stay healthy, not to become healthy. Alfalfa features an extremely dense nutritional profile, being packed with Vitamins, A, C and K as well as Vitamin B-related choline. It also contains an array of minerals including calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium; furthermore, traces of zinc, copper and iron can be found. Furthermore, its content in protein (3 per cent) is also of note.
Alfalfa sprout omelette – try it yourself!
The health benefits of alfalfa are not constrained only to its impressive nutritional content. More concretely, it contains a group of natural phytochemicals which are thought to contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease via the lowering of blood cholesterol, while also protecting from nervous system degradation. Functioning in sync with the calcium contained in alfalfa, these substances are also potent in delaying osteoporosis; menopausal symptoms are also alleviated. Consumed at regular doses over a period of 6-12 months, alfalfa sprouts thus seem to be extremely potent as an “all-in-one” preventive medicine.
Fresh alfalafa sprouts are ideal for upgrading an otherwise bland salad or soup to a healthier, tastier dish. If one feels more creative, then this vegetarian omelette recipe featuring alfalfa as its main attraction is a must-try.
ANNA MARIA ALEXSANDROU