• Some are high in folate; others are fair to good sources of protein, B
vitamins, and iron
• Alfalfa sprouts may provoke a flare-up of symptoms in lupus patients
Various types of sprouts are available in health-food stores, supermarkets,
and restaurants. However, few live up to their reputation as the prototype
of health foods. Some sprouts are much more nutritious than others. A cup of
raw mung bean sprouts, for example, provides 16 percent of the Recommended
Dietary Allowance (RDA) of folate and 18 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.
In contrast, it takes approximately five cups of alfalfa sprouts to yield
Broccoli sprouts are receiving a lot of attention from
researchers because they are a rich source of sulforaphane, one of the most
potent anticancer compounds isolated from a natural source. Sprouts can
contain 50 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.
Most sprouts, if free of
bacterial contamination, can be eaten raw. An important exception is the
sprouted soybean, which contains a potentially harmful toxin that is
destroyed by cooking. People with lupus should avoid alfalfa sprouts;
alfalfa in any form can prompt a flare-up of symptoms.
Anyone who eats raw sprouts
is at risk for exposure to E. coli 0157:H7 or salmonella
bacteria. The risk is greatest for children, seniors, and people with
weak immune systems. If you are at risk, you shouldn't eat raw sprouts
of any kind, especially alfalfa sprouts. If you are a healthy adult, you
can minimize the risk by taking the following precautions: make sure the
sprouts you buy are crisp and have buds attached. avoid dark or musty
smelling sprouts. Respect the "best before" date. Refrigerate them
immediately after you get home. You can also reduce risk of illness y
cooking them before consumption.