Eating the right types of foods is a great way to battle some of the frustrating symptoms that come with age. Whether you’re going through “the change” and are having some unpleasant side effects, or you’re trying to keep your heart healthy, we’re you might want to start adding some alfalfa to your daily routine.
Alfalfa is actually a legume, but it’s sometimes considered an herb as well. The sprouts of alfalfa have actually been used traditionally as feed for livestock because of their dense nutrient profile, but it turns out these stringy sprouts have plenty of important health benefits for people, too!
There’s significant evidence that alfalfa may benefit those who want to manage their cholesterol.
One small study found that eating 40 grams of alfalfa seeds 3 times daily helped to decrease total cholesterol by 17 percent and LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind) by 18 percent after just eight weeks. Results from a similar study suggest that eating 160 grams of alfalfa seeds a day could reduce blood cholesterol levels. It’s believed that this is because of the saponins in alfalfa, which are plant compounds that have been shown to enhance cholesterol absorption in the gut.
During menopause, estrogen levels decrease dramatically, and this can trigger a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Alfalfa is known as a phytoestrogen, meaning that it contains compounds that act like estrogen in the body, and could potentially help to alleviate some of these symptoms. One study showed that extracts of alfalfa and sage were able to completely relieve hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal subjects. That’s pretty exciting!
Alfalfa sprouts contain the plant compounds that benefit high cholesterol and menopausal symptoms, so you can add them to salads and grain bowls for a delicious, nutrient-rich crunch. Try purchasing your own alfalfa seeds (like these from Food to Live, $16.97, Amazon) which you can sprout at home in a jar. Check out this YouTube video on how to do it! Otherwise, you can also choose to take an extract of alfalfa like this one from Now Foods ($15.79, Amazon). As always, get a doctors OK before trying any new supplement.
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, FirstForWomen.com.