Are alfalfa sprouts safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are alfalfa sprouts safe to eat?”. We will discuss the potential risks and benefits of eating alfalfa sprouts and look at the safest way to eat alfalfa sprouts.

Are alfalfa sprouts safe to eat?

Yes, alfalfa sprouts are safe to eat. Alfalfa sprouts are considered healthy although some people may experience adverse effects. Raw alfalfa sprout intake can produce gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea because of its fiber content.

What are alfalfa sprouts?

Alfalfa is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie food. When eaten fresh as sprouts, it has a bitter-sweet, grassy flavor.

Soups, salads, sandwiches, and savory foods can all benefit from the addition of alfalfa sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts are very popular in Asian cultures, and this form of sprout is simple to prepare at home.

The high soluble fiber content of alfalfa may help lower cholesterol and promote weight loss. Alfalfa sprouts can sometimes be contaminated by bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli. This can pose a health risk. There are few other risks of eating alfalfa sprouts which we will discuss next.

What are the risks of eating alfalfa sprouts?

There are a few risks associated with alfalfa sprouts.

Bacteria contamination and food poisoning: Possible food poisoning is the common drawback of eating alfa sprouts. Diarrhea, fever, and stomach pains are all symptoms of E. coli and Salmonella infection. Contact your healthcare practitioner right away if you suffer signs like these hours or days after eating alfalfa sprouts.

Canavanine toxicity: Alfalfa sprouts also have L-canavanine, an amino acid that can cause inflammation in patients with autoimmune illnesses such as lupus. Acute lupus symptoms might be triggered by consuming alfalfa or using it as a supplement.

Estrogenic effects: Alfalfa sprouts must be avoided by those with hormone-sensitive diseases such as cervical, ovarian, prostate, or uterine cancers because of their estrogenic properties.

Interactions with medications: Certain drugs may interact with alfalfa sprouts and supplements. It’s unclear how strong these interactions are or whether they’ll need a dose adjustment or a change in treatment. If you use alfalfa sprouts or supplements made of alfalfa extracts, tell your doctor to avoid any potential interactions.

Who should not eat alfalfa sprouts?

Since there are quite a few risks of eating alfalfa sprouts, the following people must avoid eating them.

  • Adults aged 65 and above 
  • Kids under the age of 5
  • Women who are pregnant
  • Those who have a compromised immune system

What are the benefits of eating alfalfa sprouts?

There are so many health benefits of alfalfa sprouts. If you are not a high-risk individual, you must consider including them in your diet.

  • Improves digestion: The body requires dietary fiber for a variety of functions, including improving digestion and aiding stool passage through the colon. Dietary fiber helps with diarrhea, diarrhea,constipation  and other gastrointestinal issues.
  • High in vitamin C: Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. Because vitamin C also aids in growth and repair.
  • Reduces cholesterol: Alfalfa sprouts have been discovered to have cholesterol-lowering qualities. They are a good food choice for persons at risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Reduce hormone related menopause symptoms: Alfalfa sprouts are great for women because they contain high quantities of vitamin K and phytoestrogens, which help to balance estrogen levels and minimize hormone-related menopause symptoms such as mood swings.
  • Helps in weight loss: With only a few calories per serving, these sprouts are the ideal fiber-rich snack to keep you nourished without greatly altering your normal calorie intake. Also, the vitamins in alfalfa sprouts can aid to boost the metabolism, which enhances energy levels and boosts  metabolic activity, allowing you to burn fat easily.

How to safely eat alfalfa sprouts?

Here are some tips on how to stay safe when eating alfalfa sprouts.

  • Buying fresh sprouts: Buy sprouts that have been adequately chilled and are not mushy, wilted, discolored, or stinky to limit the danger of bacterial contamination. Sprouts should be kept in the fridge at a temperature of around 40 ° F.
  • Rinsing the sprouts: To reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, properly rinse the sprouts before eating. 
  • Eating only cooked sprouts: Cooking the sprouts instead of eating them raw is a better option. The same can be said of alfalfa juice. Cooking changes the taste and texture of the food while preserving part of the nutritional content.
  • Sprouting your own seeds: Alternatively, you can buy alfalfa seeds and sprout them yourself by ordering them online or at a farmer’s market. Make sure that you use proper hygienic seed sprouting methods.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are alfalfa sprouts safe to eat?”. We discussed the potential risks and benefits of eating alfalfa sprouts and looked at the safest way to eat alfalfa sprouts.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

https://www.verywellhealth.com/health-benefits-of-alfalfa-4584280
https://www.organicfacts.net/alfalfa-sprouts.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/alfalfa#effect-on-cholesterol

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.