Alfalfa is widely grown throughout the world as forage for cattle, and usually harvested as hay, but can also be made into silage, grazed, or fed as greenchop. It usually has the highest feeding value of all common hay crops. Alfalfa is used less frequently as pasture. Because of its high protein content and highly digestible fiber is primarily used as feed for high-producing dairy cows, and secondarily for beef cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Humans also eat alfalfa sprouts in salads and sandwiches. Here Rose Lidell, Food.news, reflects on reasons to eat more alfalfa:
For hundreds of years, alfalfa has been used as feed for livestock. Now, this microgreen is famous among health enthusiasts because of its amazing qualities, which make it an incredible superfood.
Despite it’s small size, alfalfa is full of vitamins and other nutrients. Studies show that consuming alfalfa can help lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Alfalfa’s nutritional profile
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), also called lucerne, is a plant prized as cattle feed because it is more nutritious than other feed sources. Alfalfa is a legume, but it’s also considered an herb. The plant is said to have originated in South and Central Asia, but it is now grown all over the globe.
Since alfalfa leaves or seeds are sold as herbal supplements and not foods, there is no standard nutritional information available for them. But studies suggest that alfalfa is rich in vitamin K and other nutrients, such as copper, folate, manganese and vitamin C.
Alfalfa sprouts have a similar nutrient profile to mature alfalfa and are also a low-calorie superfood.
A one-cup serving (33 grams) of alfalfa sprouts contains only eight calories and the following vitamins and nutrients:
- Vitamin K (13 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI))
- Vitamin C (5 percent of the RDI)
- Copper (3 percent of the RDI)
- Manganese (3 percent of the RDI)
- Folate (3 percent of the RDI)
- Iron (2 percent of the RDI)
- Magnesium (2 percent of the RDI)
- Riboflavin (2 percent of the RDI)
- Thiamin (2 percent of the RDI)
The same serving also contains one gram of protein and one gram of carbohydrates (mainly dietary fiber).
Alfalfa is also rich in bioactive plant compounds like:
Here are three reasons to incorporate alfalfa into your regular diet:
Alfalfa can help lower your cholesterol levels
Several animal studies have shown that alfalfa can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Some small studies have also confirmed the same benefit in humans.
In one study involving 15 volunteers, researchers discovered that on average, consuming 40 grams of alfalfa seeds thrice a day can decrease total cholesterol by 17 percent and “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol by 18 percent.
In a separate small study involving three participants, researchers found that eating at least 160 grams of alfalfa seeds daily helped decrease total blood cholesterol levels.
Experts believe that this effect is because of alfalfa’s high levels of saponins. These plant compounds are known to help lower cholesterol levels. Saponins decrease the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and increase the excretion of compounds used to create new cholesterol.”
Read More … Article Source: https://www.food.news/2021-08-21-3-reasons-to-eat-alfalfa-vitamins-nutrients.html
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