Alfalfa is a plant in the pea family that is often used as a fodder.
However, it is also used medicinally and lately it has gained popularity as a food thanks to its multiple nutritional properties.
All parts of the plant are usable for human consumption:
- The flowers are used for tea.
- The leaves are used to prepare, among other things, alfalfa water.
- Sprouts are a delicious ingredient in salads.
- In traditional Chinese medicine, roots are used to control fever.
- The seeds, ground with a little water, are used to mitigate the inconvenience of insect bites.
What are the properties of alfalfa?
It can be said that alfalfa is a complete food , since it contains:
- Vitamin A, which helps the proper functioning of the lung and heart.
- Vitamin C, which has an antioxidant effect and is necessary for the manufacture of collagen.
- Vitamin K, indispensable for the coagulation of the blood.
- Proteins that, some studies suggest, could be useful to fight some types of cancer.
- Minerals (magnesium, calcium, iron and selenium) essential for vital functions of the organism.
What benefits can we get from regular consumption of alfalfa?
By including alfalfa in our diet, in addition to ensuring the intake of a large number of nutritional components, we obtain these seven benefits for our health:
1. Strengthen the immune system
This food stimulates the immune systemand optimizes its reaction to viruses and bacteria .
The best way to enhance this benefit is to consume germinated, because in this way you also consume glucosinolates, which are compounds with anticancer properties.
2. Detoxify the body
Thanks to its regulatory properties of the urinary system and digestive system , alfalfa is ideal for cleaning the body of toxin. It also helps in the treatment of kidney failure and gastric ulcers.
3. Prevent anemia
Because of its high iron content, in addition to its nutritional properties, alfalfa helps not only to prevent, but also to combat, iron- deficiency anemia .
4. Mitigate the symptoms of menopause
This is due to the phytoestrogens contained in alfalfa. These raise the levels of estrogen in the body.
On the other hand its consumption is also recommended to avoid menstrual cramps.
5. Decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases
According to a study conducted in 2008, a diet that includes alfalfa on a regular basis can help us reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the arteries .
6. Improve the health of the skin
Due to its high content of antioxidants and coumarins, this food is perfect for a beautiful and radiant skin.
In addition, it also helps us fight cellulite.
How to include alfalfa in your diet?
The leaves of the alfalfa can be consumed together with green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and chardand we would cook them just as they are cooked.
You can also prepare a delicious refreshing water.
- ½ cup of alfalfa leaves (75 g)
- The juice of ½ lemon
- 4 cups of water (1 liter)
- Honey (to taste)
- Place the alfalfa leaves, the lemon juice and the water in the blender.
- Blend for three minutes. Add the honey and mix again.
- Serve and enjoy.
Alfalfa sprouts are also an excellent option for preparing salads or as an ingredient in sandwiches.
If you can not get them in your local market you can plant them at home.
What do you need?
- A container of at least 9 cm in diameter and 15 cm in height.
- A thin piece of cloth to cover the container.
- An elastic band.
- 1 cup of water (250 ml).
- 1 tablespoon of alfalfa seeds (10 g)
What should you do?
- Soak the seeds with the water in the container for three hours.
- Cover the container with the fabric and the elastic band.
- Drain the water and place it under the sun.
- Repeat this for a week. Occasionally remember to move the container to prevent the buds from becoming entangled.
- To consume, just rinse and disinfect.
When you should not consume alfalfa
Despite all its benefits, there are cases in which it is better to avoid eating alfalfa:
- During pregnancy and lactation should not be consumed by the action exerted on estrogen.
- It is also not recommended in case of taking anticoagulant drugs.
- Its intake is discouraged in patients with autoimmune disorders .
- Due to their high purine content, people with gout or high uric acid should refrain from eating alfalfa.
If you have any illness and have doubts about the consumption of this or any other food, always remember to consult a specialist before consuming or applying any remedy.