Medicago sativa, Alfalfa and medical grass: the properties of the sprouts

ERBA-Medica_AlfaAlfa_Alfa-Alfa_germogliamo_germogli_sproutsAlfalfa, botanical name: Medicago sativa L.
Common names.  Lucerne, alfalfa, common purple lucerne, common lucerne, purple alfalfa, purple medick. 

Why alfalfa sprouts:

  • Microintegration daily
  • Reduction and prevention of oxidative stress
  • Protection against cancer hormonal
  • Intake of vitamins A, K; magnesium, potassium, copper, selenium; Unsaturated fatty acids; quercetin, phytoalexins.
  • Microintegration dail

Alfalfa, germogli 30gr
Fonte: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard ReferenceRelease 26



Prot gr


Fibre gr


Carboidrati gr


Acidi grassi saturi tot. gr


Ac grassi monoinsat. gr


Ac grassi polinsaturi gr



Calcio mg


Ferro mg


Magnesio mg


Fosforo mg


Potassio mg


Sodio mg


Zinco mg


Rame mg


Selenio mg



C mg


Tiamina mg


Riboflav. mg


Niacina mg


Ac pantot mg


B6 mg


Folati tot. mg


Colina tot. mg


Beta carot. mg




Vit K mg fillochinone



Quercetina mg


Cumestrolo mg


 The nutritional content of a portion of alfalfa sprouts (30gr), if eaten raw, is a valuable complement, for both large and small, of the daily requirement of unsaturated fatty acids (omega 3-6-9), according to the quantities indicated by the LARN 2012. In addition, the alfalfa sprouts, always if eaten raw or centrifuge / extract, provide good quality protein, minerals, such as magnesium, copper, potassium, selenium and vitamins such as vitamin K and A. The rest of the components is Microintegration important that inserted in a balanced diet helps to easily reach the recommended amount of minerals and vitamins.
Reduction and prevention of oxidative stress Moreover, the presence of quercetin and phytoalexins, bioactive molecules classified as flavonoids, belonging to the group of polyphenols, gives the alfalfa sprouts particularly interesting properties. Regarding quercetin, its potential for the health of our organization was already treated tab watercress and can be summarized as follows: antioxidant protection from direct and indirect DNA damage, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, detoxification, reduction of atherogenic risk and limiting tumor progression and metastasis in prostate cancer. Protection against cancer hormonal
Epidemiological studies have in fact shown that quercetin inhibits the onset and growth of prostate cancer, offering a risk reduction of 27% with a consumption of at least 24μg per day. This quantity is found increased by 20 times in just 30 grams of alfalfa sprouts !!! The phytoalexins is instead a molecule activities fitoestrogenica, the main component of the group of substances called Cumestani, also flavonoids, which are formed in the plant kingdom mainly during germination. The phytoalexins, like all phytoestrogens, is useful in the pre / post-menopausal for modular imbalances of female hormones, having an activity fitoestrogenica even higher than that of soybean, in addition to being an important addition to preventive against cancer hormonal (uterus, breast, ovaries, prostate). Also for the phytoalexins was found to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells as well as mammary and to induce apoptosis in cancer cells of uterine cancer.

 Dr Sabina Bietolini, biologist nutritionist,

Glossary: Apoptosis: also called cell suicide and is a defense mechanism of our body which enables cancer cells, which could not be repaired, to meet a programmed death, so as to safeguard the entire organism. Many substances contained in plants are able to initiate the cascade of events required to activate apoptosis in damaged cells.

 Atherogenic: formation of plaques in blood vessels.

 Phytoestrogens: hormones produced by plants with a chemical structure similar to that of human estrogen.

Flavonoids: substances found naturally in the plant kingdom that have shown protective many activities for the human body.
RDA: Recommended daily intake levels of nutrients established for the Italian population by the Italian Society for Human Nutrition, reviewed periodically based on the latest scientific evidence published in international journals. Last revised in 2012:

 Polyphenols: group of molecules produced by plants to its utility, which in the human body have shown several positive effects: anti-inflammatory, anticancer, detoxifying, antioxidant, fitoestrogenica, anti-free radical. Polyphenols are classified as different types of substances known as flavonoids, phytoestrogens, lignans, stilbenes, etc.

Usage in cooking
The alfalfa sprouts, have a delicate flavor and a job very versatile: they can be used from breakfast to dinner! The first morning are excellent with fruit slices or in soy yogurt, lunch filling for a sandwich or salad; can be added raw to cooked vegetables in season, warm soups, creams and legumes; in summer enriched rice salads and cold pasta vegetarian. Also try for a quick snack, simply seasoned with soy sauce, with capers and olives, or mushrooms in oil. In any case, should be eaten preferably raw to preserve all the nutritional content.
The shoots must be kept in a refrigerator at + 4 ° C and + 6 ° C, in their container.


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Carratù & Sanzini. 2005. Sostanze biologicamente attive presenti negli alimenti di origine vegetale. Ann Ist Super Sanità, 41,1:7-16.

Cimino et al. 2012. Polyphenols: key issues involved in chemoprevention of prostate cancer. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Article ID 632959, 8 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/632959.

Hayes et al. 2010. Cancer chemoprevention mechanisms mediated through the Keap1–Nrf2 Pathway. Antioxidant Redox Signal, 13, 11: 1713–1748.

Hennig 2007. Environmental toxicity, nutrition, and gene interactions in the development of atherosclerosis. Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, 17: 162-169.

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McCann SE. et al. 2005. Intakes of selected nutrients, foods, and phytochemicals and prostate cancer risk in Western New York. Nutrition and Cancer, 53, 1: 33–41.

Moskaug et al. 2005. Polyphenols and glutathione synthesis regulation. Am J Clin Nutr, 81: S277–283.

Murakami et al. 2008. Multitargeted cancer prevention by quercetin. Cancer Lett, 269: 315–325.

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Rajkowski. 2004. Simplified qualitative method for canavanine in seeds and sprouts. J Food Prot, 67(1):212-4.

Rosenthal & Nkomo. 2000. The natural abundance of L-canavanine, an active anticancer agent, in alfalfa, Medicago sativa (L.). Pharm Biol, 38(1):1-6.

Swaffar et al. 1994. Inhibition of the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells by the arginine antimetabolite, L-canavanine. Cancer Res, 54: 6045-48.

Tribolo et al. 2008. Comparative effects of quercetin and its predominant human metabolites on adhesion molecule expression in activated human vascular endothelial cells. Atherosclerosis, 197:50–56.

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Yuan et al. 2010. Suppression of the androgen receptor function by quercetin through protein-protein interactions of Sp1, c-Jun, and the androgen receptor in human prostate cancer cells. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 339, 1-2: 253–262.

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