Arteriosclerosis

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 per cent over that of the unsprouted seed.”
 
The Times of India
17 Aug 2007
Health Benefits of Sprouts
(http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-08-19/science/27973728_1_alfalfa-sprouts-hot-flashes-health-benefits)
 
“Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant-derived phytochemicals, whose common biological roles are to protect plants from stress or to act as part of a plant's defense mechanism. Although composed of a wide group of nonsteroidal compounds of diverse structure, phytoestrogens have been shown to bind estrogen receptors and to behave as weak agonist/antagonist in both animals and humans. Phytoestrogens include mainly isoflavones (IF), coumestans, and lignans. These compounds are known to be present in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains commonly consumed by humans. IF are found in legumes--mainly soybeans--whereas flaxseed is a major source of lignans, and coumestans are significantly present in clover, alfalfa, and soybean sprouts. 8-Prenyl flavonoids are common in vegetables. Bioavailability of IF requires an initial hydrolysis of the sugar moiety by intestinal beta-glucosidases to allow the following uptake by enterocytes and the flow through the peripheral circulation. Following absorption, IF are then reconjugated mainly to glucuronic acid and to a lesser degree to sulphuric acid. Gut metabolism seems key to the determination of the potency of action. Several epidemiological studies correlated high dose consumptions of soy IF with multiple beneficial effects on breast and prostate cancers, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and stroke, and neurodegeneration. For the relief of menopausal symptoms a consumption of 60 mg aglycones/day has been suggested; for cancer prevention a consumption between 50 and 110 mg aglycones/day is considered beneficial to reduce risks of breast, colon and prostate cancer; to decrease cardiovascular risk a minimum intake of 40-60 mg aglycones/day, together with about 25 g of soy protein has been suggested. For improvement in bone mineral density, 60-100 mg aglycones/day for a period of at least 6-12 months could be beneficial.”
 
Forum Nutr.
 2005;(57):100-11.
Health effects of phytoestrogens.
Branca F, Lorenzetti S.
National Institute for Research on Food and Nutrition, Rome, Italy. 
 
 
“ We hypothesized that intake of dietary phase 2 protein inducers would ameliorate both hypertension and atherosclerotic changes in the spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rat. For 5 days/week for 14 weeks, we fed rats 200 mg/day of dried broccoli sprouts that contained glucoraphanin, which is metabolized into the phase 2 protein-inducer sulforaphane (Group A), sprouts in which most of the glucoraphanin was destroyed (Group B), or no sprouts (Group C). After 14 weeks of treatment, no significant differences were seen between rats in Groups B and C. Rats in Group A had significantly decreased oxidative stress in cardiovascular and kidney tissues….. We conclude that a diet containing phase 2 protein inducers (sulforaphane) also reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular problems of hypertension and atherosclerosis.”
 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
March 22, 2004
Dietary approach to attenuate oxidative stress, hypertension, and inflammation in the cardiovascular system
Lingyun Wu , M. Hossein Noyan Ashraf , Marina Facci , Rui Wang , Phyllis G. Paterson, Alison Ferrie, Bernhard H. J. Juurlink 
http://www.pnas.org/content/101/18/7094.abstract