Alfalfa (Medicago sativa
) sprouts supply protein, vitamins A, B (folate), C, E, and K; minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc; as well as carotene and chlorophyll. Alfalfa is a nutritional herb which is said to be helpful to the kidney. It may also stimulate the immune system.
Alfalfa contains a natural coumarin which is an anticoagulant and decreases platelet aggregation. This increases the risk of bleeding.
Human studies have found that alfalfa sprouts contain phytoestrogens that help prevent osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease. Phytoestrogens include isoflavones, coumestans, and ligans. Alfalfa sprouts contain a significant human dietary source of isoflavones.
Growing sprouts for your pet is easy. Make sure that they are not contaminated with animal waste or dirty water. Many cats enjoy nibbling on the young sprouts. If your pet happens to be one that vomits after eating sprouts or grasses, limit access to the plants to only a few minutes several times a week.
Caution: Salmonella outbreaks have occurred in humans who consumed contaminated sprouts.