sandwiches and soups. This tiny powerhouse is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects against lung cancer and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, gums, glands, bones, and teeth. It's also a good source of vitamin E, which may help prevent heart attacks, stokes, and lower the risk of death from bladder cancer.
Many years ago, Chinese physicians began prescribing alfalfa as a remedy for digestive tract problems. Alfalfa is native to western Asia, and physicians in India also prescribed alfalfa leaves and their flowering tops for indigestion. In the United States, 19th-century doctors prescribed alfalfa to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers.
Kelp has long been a staple in the Japanese diet because it is plentiful in the waters around Japan. Thyroid disease is practically unknown in Japan, and many researchers attribute this to the fact that the Japanese diet has traditionally included large amounts of kelp.
Cancer Prevention Properties:
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in canavanine, an amino acid analog known to be beneficial in fighting leukemia, pancreatic and colon cancer as well as fibrocystic breast tumors.
Lowering Bad Cholesterol Levels:
Alfalfa sprouts are rich in saponins, a chemical compound believed to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels while maintaining good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
Improving Heart Health:
Saponins are also believed to reduce atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) and other cardiovascular diseases due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The anti-inflammatory properties of saponins are believed to help prevent strokes, reduce the inflammatory process in arthritis and lower chronic inflammatory disorders.
Rich in Antioxidants:
Alfalfa sprouts are known to be one of the vegetables with the highest amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial in boosting the immune system as well as fighting free radicals. Antioxidants have long been known to lower the rate of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Immune System Booster:
Studies have shown that saponins also play a role in the immune system by boosting the activity of natural killer cells, T-lymphocytes and interferons.
Alfalfa sprouts not only taste delicious but are also low in calories. They are rich in protein and fiber, making this vegetable a great alternative to greasy, fatty foods, which means it can help efforts to lose and control weight.
Improving Bone Health:
Estrogen, a compound found in alfalfa sprouts, are believed to help increase bone formation and improve bone density, therefore helping prevent osteoporosis.
Controlling Blood Sugar:
Studies have shown that consuming alfalfa sprouts may help manage diabetes. Limited studies have shown a small reduction in blood sugar levels; however, more research on the benefits of alfalfa sprouts in reducing blood sugar levels are needed in order to substantiate this argument.
Within the last few years, high levels of arsenic have been found in kelp supplements. Arsenic is a heavy metal that is naturally present in the environment, but taken in high doses, arsenic is toxic. Researchers warn against taking high doses of kelp for this reason. The arsenic found in kelp supplements can cause memory loss, hair loss and extreme fatigue.
Photo Gallery of Alfalfa Plant: