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MoonDragon's Nutrition Information
FOOD & NUTRIENT GUIDE: VEGETABLES

ALFALFA SPROUTS
(Raw)


alfalfa sprouts




Scientific Name:     Medicago sativa

  • Nutrition Basics: Alfalfa Herbal Information & Products





  • HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPROUTS

    Sprouts have long been famous as "health food" but recent research shows that in addition to being a superb source of nutrients, they also have important curative ability. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease.

    Studies on canavanine, an amino acid analog in alfalfa, has demonstrated benefit for pancreatic, colon and leukemia cancers. Plant estrogens are also abundant in sprouts. They increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis. They are also helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breasts tumors.

    Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of another compound, saponins. Saponins lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats. Animal studies prove their benefit in arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Saponins also stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells such as T-lymphocytes and interferon. The saponin content of alfalfa sprouts multiplies 450 percent over that of the unsprouted seed.

    Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. It would not be inconceivable to find a fountain of youth here, after all, sprouts represent the miracle of birth.

    Alfalfa sprouts are great on salads, in sandwiches (in place of lettuce) and as a topping on many dishes (see recipes below).

    Alfalfa seed used for sprouting as well as the kitchen tools and other types of sprouting seeds can be purchased through Mountain Rose Herbs:





    NUTRIENT GUIDE: ALFALFA SPROUTS

    Courtesy of Rick Hall, About.com Nutrition Guide nutrition.about.com.

    NUTRIENT UNITS 1 cup 
    -------
    33.000 g
       PROXIMATES
          Water
    g
    30.076
          Energy
    kcal
    9.570
          Energy
    kj
    39.930
          Protein
    g
    1.317
          Total lipid (fat)
    g
    0.228
          Carbohydrate, by difference
    g
    1.247
          Fiber, total dietary
    g
    0.825
          Ash
    g
    0.132
       MINERALS
          Calcium, Ca
    mg
    10.560
          Iron, Fe
    mg
    0.317
          Magnesium, Mg
    mg
    8.910
          Phosphorus, P
    mg
    23.100
          Potassium, K
    mg
    26.070
          Sodium, Na
    mg
    1.980
          Zinc, Zn
    mg
    0.304
          Copper, Cu
    mg
    0.052
          Manganese, Mn
    mg
    0.062
          Selenium, Se
    mcg
    0.198
       VITAMINS
          Vitamin C, ascorbic acid
    mg
    2.706
          Thiamin
    mg
    0.025
          Riboflavin - B-2
    mg
    0.042
          Niacin - B-3
    mg
    0.159
          Pantothenic Acid - B-5
    mg
    0.186
          Vitamin B-6
    mg
    0.011
          Folate - B-9
    mcg
    11.880
          Vitamin B-12
    mcg
    0.000
          Vitamin A, IU
    IU
    51.150
          Vitamin A, RE
    mcg_RE
    5.280
          Vitamin E
    mg_ATE
    0.007
       LIPIDS
          Fatty Acids, Saturated
    g
    0.023
             4:0 Butyric
    g
    0.000
             6:0 Caproic
    g
    0.000
             8:0 Caprylic
    g
    0.000
             10:0 Capric
    g
    0.000
             12:0 Lauric
    g
    0.000
             14:0 Myristic
    g
    0.001
             16:0 Palmitic
    g
    0.019
             18:0 Stearic
    g
    0.003
          Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
    g
    0.018
             16:1 Palmitol
    g
    0.000
             18:1 Oleic
    g
    0.018
             20:1 Eicosen
    g
    0.000
             22:1 Erucic
    g
    0.000
          Fatty Acids, Polyunsaturated
    g
    0.135
             18:2 Linoleic
    g
    0.077
             18:3 Linolenic
    g
    0.058
             18:4 Stearidon
    g
    0.000
             20:4 Arachidon
    g
    0.000
             20:5 EPA
    g
    0.000
             22:5 DPA
    g
    0.000
             22:6 DHA
    g
    0.000
          Cholesterol
    mg
    0.000
       AMINO ACIDS
          Threonine
    g
    0.044
          Isoleucine
    g
    0.047
          Leucine
    g
    0.088
          Lysine
    g
    0.071
          Valine
    g
    0.048


    USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 12 (March 1998)





    GROWING YOUR OWN ALFALFA SPROUTS

    SUPPLIES:
    • Alfalfa seeds
    • Clear glass quart jar
    • Piece of clean pantyhose or cheesecloth
    • Tablespoon
    • Scissors
    • Rubber band
    • Water and Sink
    • Closet or cupboard that will not be opened too much
    • A windowsill or tabletop area near a window that gets plenty of sunlight

    HERE IS WHAT TO DO TO GROW YOUR OWN ALFALFA SPROUTS:

    Making your own alfalfa sprouts are inexpensive, easy and nutritious. A pound of organic seeds will last for a long time since you only use a tablespoon of seeds at a time when you make a quart jar full of alfalfa sprouts. When you grow them yourself, you know that they are fresh and untreated with chemicals and preservatives, which sometimes occurs when you purchase them from a store already sprouted.

    1. With your scissors, cut a piece of pantyhose or cheesecloth that you can put on the top of your quart jar. It needs to be big enough to drape over the edge at least an inch or so.

    2. Measure and put a tablespoon of alfalfa seeds into your quart jar.

    3. Put some water in the jar so that the seeds are completely covered up.

    4. Put the cheesecloth or piece of panty hose on the top of the jar. Keep it in place by stretching a rubber band around the outer edge of the jar.

    5. Put the jar somewhere where it will not get disturbed. Let the seeds soak overnight.

    6. The next day, take the jar to a sink and turn it upside down to drain out the water. To start growing, the seeds need to be damp but not totally wet.

    7. Put the jar in a cupboard or closet that will be kept dark for four days.

    8. Every day, take the jar out three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). Take it to the sink and put in some cool water. Rinse the alfalfa seeds by moving the jar around a little in a swishing and rotating manner. Each time be sure to drain the rinsing water so the seeds are just damp - not soaking wet!

    9. Check out the little seeds. They should be very white and you should see little sprouts growing! In 2 or 3 days, the sprouts will get to be several inches tall.

    10. On the 4th day, after you rinse them and drain off the excess water, put the jar on a windowsill or tabletop where it is going to get plenty of sunlight. Watch what happens! The sprouts will turn green.

    alfalfa sprouts in a jar placed in a window for sunlight


    I like to rotate the jar to coat the inside with the sprouting seeds as they are growing, spreading them out as evenly as possible. When they are damp, they will cling to the glass, giving the sprouts more room to grow. Please note: most of the sprouts will turn green if you do not overcrowd them, which is why it is important to keep the volume of seed down to 1 to 2 tablespoons at the most for a quart jar. When you rinse them, some of the sprouts may lose their seed hulls. These can be rinsed off and float away with the rinse water.

    When you see them getting green (see jar above), you can eat them. Make a garden or tossed salad and put your sprouts on top, Try making a cold sandwich of your choice. I like a whole grain bread such as oat, whole wheat, 12 grain for my sandwich with a touch of mayonnaise, preferably home made, fresh tomato slices, and thinly sliced onion with a handful of my alfalfa sprouts. Sometimes I make a sprout and cucumber sandwich with a bit of homemade mayonnaise. Whatever I find to put with my sprouts, they are fresh and very flavorful. Alfalfa sprouts can be mixed with other seeds to add a variety of flavor, such as clover, radish, and other seed options.

    A sprout is the very beginning growth of a seed when it is just starting to begin the process of becoming a plant. Instead of buying sprouts at a grocery store or produce market, which are often treated with preservatives, you can grow your own! Sprouts are very good for you! Fun to make (a great project for the kids) and inexpensive.

    What happened when the sprouts turned green? They were getting sunlight. When green plants get sunlight, the process of photosynthesis happens. They use the energy of sunlight to fuel their own growth. Sprouts could not keep growing with just the energy stored in seeds for more than a few days.

    ALFALFA SPROUT USE SUGGESTIONS

    You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to using alfalfa sprouts. They are a great substitute to using lettuce and they contain many more valuable nutrients than lettuce (especially iceberg lettuce). Be creative and enjoy!


    alfalfa veggie wrap

    ALFALFA VEGGIE WRAP

    Provel, alfalfa sprouts, olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions & pickles with Ranch dressing.
    alfalfa steak wrap

    ALFALFA SIRLOIN STEAK WRAP

    Sirloin steak with Provel, alfalfa sprouts, olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions & pickles with Ranch dressing.
    alfalfa bacon wrap

    ALFALFA BACON WRAP

    Bacon, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, & Mayo.
    alfalfa croissant sandwich

    ALFALFA CROISSANT SANDWICH

    Ingredients:
      3 slices cooked bacon
      1/4 teaspoon horseradish
      1 teaspoon mayonnaise
      1 teaspoon relish
      dash of paprika

    Instructions:

    Crumble bacon and mix with remaining ingredients. Spread the mixture on an open croissant. Then add in layers:

    alfalfa sprouts
    cucumber, thinly sliced
    tomatoes
    green onions, chopped
    alfalfa grilled cheese sandwich

    ALFALFA GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

    Sprout up your grilled cheese sandwich by adding sliced tomatoes, radish sprouts, buckwheat sprouts and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds sprouts.
    alfalfa hummus sandwich

    ALFALFA HUMMUS SANDWICH

    Ingredients:
      Alfalfa sprouts
      2 slices whole grain bread (whole wheat, oat, 12 grain)
      6 tablespoons prepared hummus
      3 to 4 slices of each: tomato, sweet pepper, red onion rings, and cucumber

    Instructions:

    Spread hummus on bread. Arrange sliced vegetables on top. Top with alfalfa sprouts. Put both slices of bread together with ingredients inside.
    alfalfa turkey sandwich

    ALFALFA TURKEY SANDWICH

    This turkey sandwich features fresh tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts and the crisp texture of radishes.

    Ingredients:
      1/4 cup mayonnaise
      4 kaiser rolls, cut in half
      1/2 cup sliced radishes
      12 (about 2-1/4 x 1-inch) slices American cheddar cheese
      8 ounces thinly sliced turkey breast
      8 slices tomato
      1 cup alfalfa sprouts

    Instructions:

    Spread mayonnaise on top and bottom halves of kaiser rolls.
    To assemble each sandwich, layer each bottom roll half with 1/4 of radishes, 1/4 of turkey, 3 slices cheese, 2 slices tomato, 1/4 cup sprouts and top half of roll.

    Makes 4 sandwiches.
    Nutrition Facts (1 sandwich):
    Calories: 500
    Fat: 27 g
    Cholesterol: 95 mg
    Sodium: 1040 mg
    Carbohydrates: 33 g
    Dietary Fiber: 0 g
    Protein: 32 g
    alfalfa omelet

    ALFALFA SPROUT OMELET

    Ingredients:
      3/4 cup of alfalfa sprouts
      1 teaspoon diced bell pepper
      1 teaspoon diced green onion
      2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
      1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
      2 eggs
      1/4 cup milk
      1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
      salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions:

    In an omelet pan, sauté vegetables and bean sprouts in oil for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove vegetables and place on a warm plate. Whip together the eggs, milk and seasoning. Pour egg mixture into the omelet pan and cook on both sides. Place vegetables in center and fold omelet over.

    If using Alfalfa sprouts, sauté the vegetables 1 to 3 minutes before adding the alfalfa sprouts so that they cook for only 2 minutes. Cooking alfalfa sprouts changes their taste in an interesting way. (Chinese bean sprouts (mung beans) can be substituted for alfalfa sprouts, if desired).


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