Alfalfa as human food: A rich source of nutrients, it is consumed as a tea, herb, supplement and now as flour

Friday, July 20, 2018 by

Could alfalfa concentrate help you meet your recommended daily intake (RDI) of various nutrients? According to a recent study, it most certainly can. A team of Romanian investigators has found this legume to be an exceptional source of minerals, proteins, and much more.

Through laboratory analysis, the researchers were able to assess the nutritional content of alfalfa concentrate flour – which in this case was acquired as a byproduct from making Alfalfa Complex, a dietary supplement by American vitamin company Shaklee. They discovered that it had an impressive concentration of protein and crude fiber, as well as an equally substantial composition of amino acids. In particular, the researchers noted that alfalfa concentrate flour had all of the essential amino acids or those that the human body is unable to produce naturally, in great amounts.

Far from just being a source of protein and amino acids, alfalfa concentrate flour can also be considered as a reliable supplier of minerals. An assessment of seven minerals (six essential mineral elements and one trace mineral element) yielded highly positive results, in that a 100-gram serving of alfalfa concentrate flour could easily help a person achieve their RDI of calcium, iron, and even zinc. Furthermore, that same serving contained enough potassium and magnesium to meet half of the RDI, as proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As such, the researchers concluded that the consumption of alfalfa concentrate flour could result in the increased intake of vital nutrients such as minerals, proteins, amino acids, and dietary fibers. This diversity and abundance of nutrients have led the researchers to further deem alfalfa concentrate flour as a potentially important source of nutritional components when added to food products. With there being a growing interest in plant proteins either as a supplement or alternative to animal proteins, this makes alfalfa even more valuable than ever as a food additive.

These benefits come as little surprise, as per the researchers themselves, alfalfa has risen from simple animal feed to becoming a much-welcome component of the human diet. The wealth of nutrients is such that alfalfa is often utilized as an ingredient in diets intended to prevent and treat metabolic conditions. (Related: Alfalfa’s high saponin content can help prevent cardiovascular problems.)

In fact, numerous studies have been carried out across the decades looking into the health benefits of this humble plant. One study from 2012 suggested that alfalfa leaf extract that had been enriched with vitamin C could serve as a highly valuable dietary supplement. On top of supporting the body in combating digestive tract disorders and malnutrition, it could be used to enhance strength and boost immunity too. Even by itself, the researchers stated that alfalfa leaf extract has a “positive, multidirectional impact on the human body.

They further added: “It increases the level of estrogen, prevents atherosclerosis, helps blood circulation and strengthens immunity, protects against the development of dangerous diseases of the digestive tract, combats anemia and many other health ailments.”

Alfalfa as a nutritional supplement is available in a wide array of forms, including capsules, powders, and tablets. Infusions made from the leaves and seeds can be purchased as well. Alfalfa concentrate flour is another option, one that could, hopefully, become part of the preparation process of bio compound-rich foods.

See what other vegetables can play important roles in maintaining human health by going to Veggie.news today.

Sources include:

Science.news

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov



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