Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts - your secret anti-ageing weapon

By Brenda Chew,TODAY, August 1, 2005

Worried that the signs of ageing are taking over your face? Try including alfalfa sprouts in your diet. Alfalfa sprouts contain an abundance of antioxidants that can prevent widespread cell destruction, thereby protecting one against the ongoing signs of ageing.  

Another plus factor for women: Alfalfa sprouts contain plant oestrogen. Oestrogen increases bone density and prevents osteoporosis, which is a condition where bones become fragile and fracture easily. As oestrogen is a type of female hormone, alfalfa sprouts are also helpful in controlling the irritable symptoms experienced during menopause and premenstrual syndrome.

Resembling bean sprouts with flimsy stems, alfalfa sprouts also contain a high amount of beneficial compounds called saponins. Saponins are said to lower bad cholesterol without decreasing the level of good fats in the body. Saponins also stimulate and boost the immune system by increasing the disease-fighting activity of certain cells known as lymphocytes in the body.

As alfalfa sprouts contain vitamins A, C and E, they must be ingested in their raw form to prevent heat from destroying the vitamins. Add them to sandwiches for that extra zing or use them as a crunchy alternative to lettuce in salads.

Choose alfalfa sprouts that look fresh and crisp. Avoid sprouts that are brown, or have dry and wilted roots. Remember to only buy sprouts that have been properly stored in the correct temperature - alfalfa should be kept in chilled conditions. If not stored properly, alfalfa sprouts can be potential breeding grounds for bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. These bacteria can give you a nasty bout of food poisoning. So, people who run the risk of contracting food-borne diseases might want to give raw alfalfa sprouts the cold shoulder.