Broccoli sprouts and alfalfa sprouts look very much the same, and it can be difficult to tell them apart based on their appearance alone. However, broccoli sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are very different when it comes to taste and nutritional content.
Sprouts come from many different plants, so what’s the difference between broccoli and alfalfa sprouts? The best way to know which sprout you should try is to understand their different tastes and benefits and to actually go out and try them. There are so many different sprouts available, so narrowing it down can be quite tough.
To make it easier, here is everything you need to know about broccoli and alfalfa sprouts and the differences between them.
Broccoli sprouts are immature broccoli plants. Little sprouts start to form when the plant is around three days old, and these are then cultivated, and there you have broccoli sprouts to eat.
Broccoli sprouts are quickly being considered a superfood, thanks to their high nutrient content and many different health benefits the little sprouts have.
Broccoli sprouts have a mildly spicy and fresh taste that is similar to that of radishes. Broccoli sprouts actually taste nothing like broccoli! They are small, delicate green sprouts with a small white stem, and the whole sprout can be eaten.
Broccoli sprouts might not have as many health benefits as broccoli itself, but they still do have a vast amount of nutrients and have benefits in other areas as well.
Broccoli sprouts contain the following per 115g:
- 35 calories
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fiber
- 54 milligrams of vitamin C
- 90 micrograms vitamin A
- 78 milligrams calcium
- 720 micrograms iron
For the few calories that broccoli sprouts have, they do pack a punch with such a high content of vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli sprouts have a high content of sulforaphane, which makes them stand out among other green vegetables, and they contain nearly 100x more sulforaphane than fully-grown broccoli.
Why this is so important, is that sulforaphane helps to reduce bad cholesterol, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of cancer and helps to increase longevity.
Along with sulforaphane and other nutrients in broccoli sprouts, the benefits include:
- Boosting the immune system by promoting natural killer cells.
- Sulforaphane has anti-viral qualities, which leads to fewer symptoms and a quicker recovery rate from common viruses.
- Broccoli sprouts are loaded with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Compounds in broccoli sprouts can help to protect the skin from UV damage.
- Sulforaphane can help to improve digestion issues thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Know that you understand the powerful health benefits of broccoli sprouts, it would be a good idea to have a few ideas on how to eat them.
Smoothie – Broccoli sprouts can be blended into a fruit or veggie smoothie, which is especially great for those who are not keen on the taste, or are looking for an easy way to boost their morning smoothies.
Salad – Toss some broccoli sprouts over a green salad to have the ultimate healthy meal, they add a powerful and tangy taste to an otherwise dreary salad.
Sandwiches and wraps – Broccoli sprouts add a great crunch to sandwiches or wraps.
Plain – Broccoli sprouts can simply be eaten on their own for a quick, nutritious snack.
Stir-fry – Toss some raw broccoli sprouts into a cooked stir fry.
With so many health benefits and nutritional benefits, all rolled into a small handful of sprouts, there is no reason not to include them into your diet.
Alfalfa sprouts have a more lentil-like appearance and have a white sprout with yellow and dark green leaves. Alfalfa sprouts are too delicate to cook, and should be eaten raw.
These sprouts come from a germinated alfalfa seed and are harvested when the shoot appears before the plant matures.
They have a mild nutty flavor and are quite crunchy. Alfalfa sprouts are packed with different vitamins and minerals and are very low in calories.
Being versatile, inexpensive and easy to find, alfalfa sprouts can be easily be added into your diet at home in a variety of ways.
Alfalfa sprouts have many more health benefits than the seeds, as the process of sprouting encourages the production of more enzymes, and the sprouts carry more vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
One 100g serving of alfalfa sprouts contain:
- 23 calories
- 2.1 grams carbohydrates
- 3.99 grams of protein
- 0.69 grams fat
- 1.9 grams of fiber
- 30.5 micrograms vitamin K
- 8.2 milligrams vitamin C
- 36 micrograms folate
- 0.2 milligrams manganese
- 70 milligrams phosphorus
- 1-milligram iron
- 0.2-milligram copper
For such a small amount of sprouts containing such a large content of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, it is no surprise that alfalfa sprouts have many health benefits, including:
- Reducing the risk of breast cancer. Alfalfa sprouts contain isoflavones and phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen. This helps to reduce the effects and symptoms of breast cancer.
- Minimizing menopause and menstruation symptoms by containing a high level of vitamin K and phytoestrogens. Vitamin K helps to clot blood, so it assists by lessening excessive bleeding.
- Preventing osteoporosis by having a high content of vitamin K, which helps to utilize calcium in the body, strengthening and building bones. Manganese in alfalfa sprouts also helps to prevent osteoporosis and inflammation.
- Lowering blood glucose levels, alfalfa sprouts help to lower sugar levels in the blood.
- Anti-aging benefits due to high antioxidant content, which protects cells from damage which may be done from free radicals. This also helps to prevent diseases and illnesses.
- Combating cholesterol, alfalfa sprouts are an anti-hyperlipoidemia, reducing the lipid levels in the blood, reducing coronary heart disease.
- Being a great source of vitamin C, as alfalfa sprouts are one of the top containers of vitamin C, which is essential to so many different bodily functions.
Alfalfa sprouts should not be cooked, and are best eaten raw. They are very delicate sprouts, and cooking them could break them down and destroy their nutritional content. Because of this, alfalfa sprouts should be used raw in wraps or sandwiches, sprinkled over cooked stir-fries or over salads.
Packing a punch in many different areas, alfalfa sprouts are not only delicious but incredibly beneficial to include in your daily diet.
Which Is Best?
There is no obvious winner between alfalfa sprouts and broccoli sprouts, as both have a good amount of nutritional content, with much-needed vitamins and minerals that can help prevent diseases and improve daily bodily functions.
Including both alfalfa sprouts and broccoli sprouts in your diet would be great, and it would be up to which taste you prefer the most or which is more easily available around you.
There are so many different ways you can use the sprouts every day, from blending them into your morning smoothies, adding them to your sandwiches and wraps, sprinkled over stir-fries or salads, or even just eaten on their own as a healthy snack during the day, either sprout will be great for your nutritional needs daily.
How many broccoli sprouts should you consume daily?
It is recommended that you consume 100 grams, which is roughly half a cup of broccoli sprouts per day. This could either be eaten in one sitting or broken up into different meals, such as smoothies, salads, and wraps.
This is a good amount to eat in order to get sufficient nutrients and vitamins for the day, and eating this amount daily will have great benefits for your health overall.
How do you eat sprouts safely?
As sprouts are harvested from the ground, it is a good idea to know how to consume them safely. You should remember to wash your hands after handling raw sprouts.
You will need to rinse the sprouts under running water before eating, to get rid of any leftover dirt and any bacteria on the sprouts. Cooking the sprouts helps reduce the risk of food poisoning, as the heat helps to kill off any bacteria that was leftover from washing the sprouts.
As alfalfa sprouts cannot be cooked, they do run more of a risk of containing bacteria such as E.coli which could cause food poisoning, so they should be washed thoroughly before consumption.
Can sprouts be eaten raw?
Sprouts can be eaten raw, and many can only be eaten raw as they are too delicate to cook. You should make sure to wash the sprouts before eating them and keep them in a sanitary container in the refrigerator to help them stay fresh for as long as possible.
Broccoli Sprouts Vs Alfalfa Sprouts
The best way to figure out the difference between alfalfa sprouts and broccoli sprouts is to know their different nutritional contents and to understand their different tastes and uses. From this, you can decide which would be better to include in your diet for that extra healthy boost that everyone can benefit from.
With there being so many ways to include these powerful sprouts into your diet, there is no reason you shouldn’t buy a batch to keep in the fridge!