by Steve Meyerowitz
Sprouts have long been famous as "health food" but recent research shows that in addition to being a superb source of nutrients, they also have important curative ability. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease.
Studies on canavanine, an amino acid analog in alfalfa, has demonstrated benefit for pancreatic, colon and leukemia cancers. Plant estrogens are also abundant in sprouts. They increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis. They are also helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breasts tumors.
Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of another compound, saponins. Saponins lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats. Animal studies prove their benefit in arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Saponins also stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells such as T- lymphocytes and interferon. The saponin content of alfalfa sprouts multiplies 450% over that of the unsprouted seed.
Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. It wouldn't be inconceivable to find a fountain of youth here, after all, sprouts represent the miracle of birth.