Alfalfa

Alfalfa alfalfa: Origin, composition, effects and use + tips for healthy recipes

Alfalfa was used in ancient Persia as a rich source of nutrients and energy. The knowledge of the Persians was taken over by the Greek and Roman empires, and this herb is equally valued by traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. It is said to delay aging and stimulate the organism. That’s why it is nicknamed the “elixir of youth”.

Alfalfa alfalfa and its origin

This interesting herb originally grew in the region of Asia Minor and Central Asia, Transcaucasia and Kashmir, from where it spread to other parts of Asia, Europe, America and Australia and to New Zealand. 

It is known by many names. In Latin, it is called Medicago sativa , and in addition to the name alfalfa, alfalfa is also used tolice alfalfa, alfalfa, lucerne, alfalfa , because its seeds stored in pods contain phosphorus and glow in the dark. 

Alfalfa blooms from May to September, and you can recognize alfalfa fields by the small blue-violet to purple flowers. It is a forage that thrives in warm climates and is used in agriculture as livestock feed. 

But it is also suitable for humans. In particular, supporters of a macrobiotic, vegan or vegetarian diet recognize its taste values ​​and use alfalfa sprouts as a nutritionally rich ingredient in various dishes.

Do you know where the peculiar name “Alfalfa” came from? The name is not related to the Greek letter “alpha”, as it might seem. The designation comes from the Arabic phrase Al-FAL-FA, which translates as “the father of all foods” , because it contains an enormous amount of valuable nutrients.

What valuable nutrients does alfalfa contain?

Alfalfa is referred to as a superfood in the modern terminology of healthy nutrition. It contains a large amount of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants, amino acids, fiber and enzymes important for breaking down proteins, fats and sugars. It is a low-calorie food . 

Alfalfa contains, for example:

  • vitamin A
  • B vitamins
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
  • amino acids
  • chlorophyll
  • manganese
  • iron 
  • potassium 
  • phosphorus
  • sodium
  • magnesium

Nutritional values ​​of sprouted alfalfa seeds (shoots) in 100 g:

Energy value 110 kJ
Proteins 3 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
of which sugars 1.2 g
Fats 1 g
Fiber 2 g

Alfalfa alfalfa and its possible effects on health

Most often, young alfalfa is recommended for problems with overacidification of the body, which can be manifested by skin problems, headaches, allergies and the like.

  • helps regulate digestion and improves digestion,
  • for vegans it is an important source of vitamin B12 ,
  • thanks to its alkaline effects, it improves the internal environment,
  • supports detoxification of the organism,
  • lowers cholesterol ,
  • provides energy and increases physical strength and performance,
  • improves sleep quality,
  • strengthens the immune system,
  • contains antioxidants that slow down aging,
  • has a positive effect on flatulence and loss of appetite, 
  • can relieve rheumatic and arthritic pain,
  • can help in the treatment of stomach ulcers, 
  • has anti-inflammatory effects, 
  • eliminates inflammation of the prostate and bladder,
  • helps to reduce the level of uric acid and thus relieves gout.

Alfalfa and its effect on weight loss

It has a beneficial effect on metabolism, helps regulate blood sugar levels and contributes to the comprehensive utilization of nutrients received from food. It definitely has its place in a healthy diet, but it doesn’t make it a magic pill that will make you lose weight overnight. 

Keep in mind that without an overall healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and sufficient exercise, you will not be able to lose weight only thanks to the power of any dietary supplement.

Alfalfa and its effect on the beauty of hair and skin

The vitamins contained in the herb stimulate the circulation of the scalp, prevent hair loss and promote their growth. Thanks to amino acids, vitamins E and K, it is also beneficial for flexible and healthy skin.

Recommended dosage and use of alfalfa

Sprouted young alfalfa seeds are very nutritious and contain up to 40% protein. You can sprout them at home and add them to your dishes. It is best to consume sprouts cold, as they contain the most nutrients in this form. 

However, it is also possible to use alfalfa in the form of green powder or capsules , which you simply swallow and drink with a sufficient amount of water. In dried form, alfalfa is added to various foods (breakfast porridge, yogurts) and drinks (smoothies, fresh vegetable juices). If you decide on an over-the-counter dietary supplement made from alfalfa, respect and do not exceed the recommended dosage indicated on the product packaging.

Alfalfa is not suitable for long-term use. After two to three months of daily use, take a break.

Can young alfalfa do harm? Who should avoid it?

People taking medications for blood clotting disorders such as Warfarin should be careful when using alfalfa . The same recommendation also applies to pregnant and lactating women and small children. 

They should first consult their doctor about the suitability of using alfalfa. 

Growing alfalfa indoors

You can easily grow alfalfa at home. How to do it?

  1. Wash the seeds, leave them soaked in lukewarm water overnight at room temperature. 
  2. The next day, place the seeds in a low container covered with a wet thin cloth or cotton wool.
  3. Keep the seeds moist, but they must not stand in water.
  4. Use non-chlorinated water as chlorine can cause poor germination. 
  5. Germination is usually successful at a temperature of 21 to 26 degrees, preferably in a darker place. It takes 3 to 7 days.
  6. Place mature sprouts in a container filled with water and wash to remove layers of seeds and fibrous roots. The sprouts sink to the bottom and the seed hulls float to the surface. Remove the hulls and drain the sprouts.
  7. Ideally, sprouts should be consumed immediately after washing. They can be stored in a refrigerator for several days at a temperature of 3 to 10 °C in a closed glass or plastic container.
  8. Don’t let the sprouts grow too long. Longer sprouts can be bitter.

How to use alfalfa seeds in the kitchen

Young alfalfa sprouts and leaves are mainly added to vegetable salads. But it is also suitable for flavoring spreads, soups and main dishes, similar to the more common herb sprinkles of parsley and chives. It can also be used for unusual flavoring of rice, couscous or bulgur. 

Alfalfa is not suitable for heat treatment. It does not benefit from heat, it wilts quickly and loses valuable nutrients. 

Fresh alfalfa juice

  • a freshly picked sprig of alfalfa
  • cloth napkin or auger juicer

Grind the freshly plucked cloves and squeeze the juice out of them in a linen napkin. 50 to 60 ml is enough. Prepare fresh juice for every day, never in stock.

Alfalfa powder

  • Dried flowering nettle

Dry the fresh flowering stems in the shade, then grind them into a fine powder. Store it in a well-closed glass container in a dark place. It is taken ½ teaspoon 2 to 4 times a day. 

Nati powder is the least effective, if you have the option, prefer fresh juice or sprouted seeds.

White radish soup with alfalfa sprouts

Raw materials:

  • 250 g of white radish
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 0.5 l vegetable broth or water
  • 1 whipping cream
  • garlic shoots
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • salad mix: watercress, rocket and spinach
  • young beetroot leaves
  • pepper and salt

Method:

Clean, peel and dice the radish. Peel and mash the garlic. Put in the stock and cook until soft. Mix with soft vegetables and broth. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a short time and finally stir in the green leaves and decorate the soup on the plate with alfalfa sprouts. 

Bread rolls with blue cheese, roasted pear and alfalfa

Raw materials:

  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 60 g of blue cheese
  • 2 pears
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • chopped walnuts

Method:

Turn on the oven at 180°C. Cut the pears into thin slices, place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the bread in the toaster and finely chop the walnuts. Spread a thicker layer of cheese on the golden toasted bread, cover with pear slices, sprinkle with nuts and fresh alfalfa.

Salad with burrata and alfalfa sprouts

Raw materials:

  • 250 g of cherry tomatoes
  • salad mix
  • 2 burratas
  • tarragon and basil
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • ½ spoon of honey
  • 1 and ½ spoons of wine vinegar
  • 75 ml of olive oil
  • salt

Method:

Prepare an herb dressing by blending tarragon and basil with honey, wine vinegar and olive oil and adding a pinch of salt.

Arrange a mixture of salads, cherry tomatoes, burrata on plates, cover with dressing and garnish with alfalfa sprouts.

Final summary: Alfalfa is a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids

Alfalfa is part of natural healing in many cultures. It is also used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine.

Remember that as a medicine, alfalfa can help:

  • regulate blood sugar levels,
  • restore healthy intestinal microflora,
  • suppress inflammation,
  • detoxify and drain the organism,
  • to provide energy and strengthen the immune system.

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