You’ve probably not heard of the plant Alfalfa, but this forage crop has been proven to offer several health benefits. Research has shown that it helps to improve digestion, detoxify the body, lower cholesterol levels, and protect heart health, amongst other benefits. I
Alfalfa is now a useful ingredient in health supplements and you can enjoy it with other organic superfoods to promote overall wellness.
In this article, we shall focus more on the proven health benefits of this nutrient-rich plant. However, let’s start by discussing briefly about Alfalfa and its origin.
What is Alfalfa?
Alfalfa, scientifically called Medicago sativa, and commonly called Lucerne, is a plant that has been grown as a livestock feed for hundreds of years. It is widely appreciated for its superior content of minerals, vitamins, and proteins, compared to other foraging crops grown around the world.
Although Alfalfa was originally grown in South-Central Asia, it is now cultivated globally due to its high nutritional value and versatility.
The sprouts of the Alfalfa plant are commonly eaten as food, while its roots and leaves are more frequently consumed as an herbal supplement.
Nutritional Facts About Alfalfa
Alfalfa is often consumed in the form of alfalfa sprouts or as an herbal supplement. Alfalfa sprouts are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and folate.
For further simplicity, research shows that one cup (33 grams) of Alfalfa sprouts contains:
- Vitamin C - 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K – 8% of the DV
- Thiamine – 2% of the DV
- Magnesium – 2% of the DV
- Folate - 3% of the DV
- Copper – 6% of the DV
- Iron – 2% of the DV
- Riboflavin – 3% of the DV
A cup of Alfalfa also contains one gram of carbs (which comes from fiber) and one gram of protein. This plant has also been shown to have a high content of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, saponins, coumarins, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, and alkaloids.
Proven Health Benefits of Alfalfa
Alfalfa has been shown by many scientific studies to offer health benefits, including the following:
It may help lower cholesterol level
Some studies show that alfalfa helps improve cardiovascular health. One study found that eating alfalfa seeds helped lower total and LDL cholesterol in people with high cholesterol levels.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a high level of LDL cholesterol puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke. So adding Alfalfa to your diet shows promising benefits on cardiovascular health.
It helps reduce inflammation
As mentioned earlier, Alfalfa is rich in vitamin C. It also contains a good amount of vitamin B, calcium, and antioxidants. These nutrients help reduce inflammation, especially around the joints. Also, they help strengthen your immune system, preventing oxidative stress and diseases.
The inflammation-reducing properties of Alfalfa have also been shown to offer benefits for cardiovascular health.
It helps improve digestion
The dietary fiber in Alfalfa helps improve bowel movement and boost digestive health. Apart from speeding up bowel movements. The fiber content in this plant helps reduce inflammation in the gut and clear issues such as bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, cramping, and constipation.
Therefore, it is often advised to take alfalfa supplements regularly for better bowel movement.
It offers protective benefits to the heart
Alfalfa contains iron and potassium, both of which benefit the heart in different ways. The iron content in sprouts helps boost red blood cell production and improve circulation to ensure that every body organ is properly oxygenated. This protects your heart and puts less strain on this organ.
Also, potassium is a powerful vasodilator, which works to reduce tension on blood arteries and vessels by lowering blood pressure.
It helps speed up wound healing
Alfalfa sprouts are loaded with antioxidant compounds, and in the early days, the sprouts were used to make a poultice to apply to injuries and wounds to speed up healing and prevent any form of infection.
The antioxidants in alfalfa sprouts offer protective function, while the nutrients and minerals boost blood flow to the region of injury, speeding up repair and healing.
Alfalfa is also rich in protein and when consumed in supplemental form helps boost repair, growth, and development.
It supports detoxification
Alfalfa has been shown by several studies to have diuretic properties, and this plant has been used around the world to remedy kidney conditions.
The diuretic properties stimulate more frequent urination, and this helps to speed up detoxification of the body, along with excess fats, salts, and water.
It boosts Immune System
The high Vitamin C content of Alfalfa makes it an ideal booster of immune strength. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, clearing out oxidative stress. Also, it helps stimulate the production of white blood cells.
The vitamin B and vitamin E content of Alfalfa sprouts also offer antioxidant benefits and act as metabolic regulations.
It supports respiratory health
Alfalfa has been used traditionally for centuries in the treatment of respiratory problems, such as the flu, bronchitis, common cold, as well as other bacterial and viral infections.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Alfalfa makes it effective in the treatment of breathing conditions, such as asthma, while also boosting your immune strength to clear the underlying infections of the respiratory tract.
It helps relieve menopausal symptoms
Alfalfa contains a high amount of phytoestrogens, which are compounds chemically similar to estrogen – the female hormone. The phytoestrogens offers several benefits, including relieving menopausal symptoms commonly associated with reduced levels of estrogen.
However, it is important that you speak with your doctor if you’re considering using alfalfa to tackle those symptoms.
Potential Side Effect
Alfalfa is generally safe and nutritious, but excessive intake of raw sprouts may result in some side effects, including
- Abdominal discomfort
However, the FDA advises certain people to avoid consuming raw sprouts. These categories include:
- Pregnant people
- People taking blood thinners
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with autoimmune diseases
Adding Alfalfa to your diet
You can add alfalfa to your diet by eating it as sprouts. You can mix the sprouts into a salad or add it to a sandwich. Sprouts are sold at health food stores and you can sprout them at home. However, you need to be mindful of the risk of bacterial contamination when sprouting.
A safer way is to take alfalfa supplements either in powdered form or as a tablet. However, because herbal supplements are not tightly regulated, you need to ensure you’re buying from a reputable manufacturer with third-party testing results on its products.
Cobionic is a holistic wellness company with a team of experts that puts together the best natural, ancient herbs and superfoods to help you live a more vibrant life. Our Vibrance Daily Greens is formulated with 50+ superfoods, including Alfalfa and it offers all the benefits highlighted above and more.
Alfalfa is one of the most nutritious plants loaded with nutrients like vitamins, folate, and magnesium. It is also high in antioxidants and extremely low in calories.
It has been proven to offer numerous health benefits including, lowering of cholesterol level, improving digestion, supporting respiratory health, and even relieving menopausal symptoms, amongst others.
You can add alfalfa sprouts to your diet, but you need to ensure you don’t take too much to avoid some side effects such as diarrhea and constipation. Also, if you’re pregnant, taking blood thinners or have an autoimmune disease, it is advisable that you avoid alfalfa.
Many people are adding alfalfa to their diet in supplement form as it shows a lot of promise as a health-boosting supplement. You may also consider adding this supplement to your diet to boost your overall wellness.
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