Alfalfa known also as lucerne is a plant that has been prized for its properties for years. In folk medicine, it was used to strengthen the body and to treat urinary tract diseases. However, the list of the valuable properties of alfalfa does not end there. Why is this slightly forgotten plant worth paying attention to?
Alfalfa belongs to plants from the Fabaceae family. It can be found almost all over Europe, as well as Asia and North Africa. The appearance of alfalfa can be compared to that of clover. We should have no problem seeing it in the wild – it grows mainly in the vicinity of roadsides, wastelands, and meadows. However, it cannot be considered a weed. This plant contains many valuable compounds whose properties have been used for many years.
The chemical composition that determines the health-promoting properties of alfalfa depends on various factors, such as the type of soil on which it grows and the date of harvest. The above-ground parts of alfalfa are a source of beta-carotene, B vitamins, vitamin K, silicon, magnesium, iron, and potassium. As a result, its consumption may have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system, muscles, nervous system, water-electrolyte, and acid-base balance, and can also improve the condition of hair and nails. Alfalfa is also a source of protein, which accounts for about 17-22% of the dry weight. It also includes exogenous amino acids that our body is unable to produce on its own. In addition to protein, the plant also provides monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are of great importance for the proper functioning of the body (they are responsible for the efficient functioning of the central nervous system), and also play an important role in the prevention and treatment of selected diseases (including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases). When talking about the health-promoting properties of alfalfa, we should also pay attention to the high content of chlorophyll – a green dye found in plants. It is an ingredient that shows antioxidant properties, which protects the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. In addition to vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids, and chlorophyll, alfalfa also contains some amounts of phytoestrogens. They are used in the prevention and treatment of cancer as well as in relieving symptoms associated with menopause. Considering the number of valuable properties that alfalfa has, we can wonder if there are any contraindications to its use? Unfortunately yes. People taking anticoagulants should be especially careful. Vitamin K, which is found in alfalfa, may reduce their effectiveness. Due to the lack of sufficient evidence for its safety in pregnancy, expectant mothers should also be careful about the use of the valuable properties of alfalfa.
For culinary purposes, we mostly use alfalfa sprouts. They belong to a group of so-called superfoods. This term is used to describe unprocessed food of natural origin, which, due to its high content of nutrients, has a positive effect on our body. Alfalfa sprouts can be added, for example, to salads or homemade sandwich spreads. If we have a problem with purchasing them, we can grow them ourselves in home gardens such as Verdeat. Apart from alfalfa sprouts, we can also make alfalfa juice which helps to increase iron levels and to normalize blood glucose levels. It is also used to increase appetite and in the case of flatulence. We can also serve alfalfa in the form of an infusion prepared from its leaves.
Lucerne is a plant that, apart from many valuable ingredients, also hides a lot of secrets!
Lucerne is a plant that has a number of health-promoting properties. It can be used to increase the level of iron in the blood, regulate glucose levels, strengthen the body, treat kidney stones or alleviate the symptoms of menopause. It is also used in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. If we want to include it in our menu, it is worth looking for alfalfa sprouts, alfalfa juice, or prepare an infusion of its leaves. However, we should remember that there are certain contraindications to its use (mainly the use of anticoagulants and the pregnancy).
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