Microgreens- For Better Health

What Are Microgreens?

Green plants that are harvested before maturation, such as the ones harvested 10 to 14 days after germination are called microgreens. They are harvested only when they are small green, typically 1 - 3 inches tall, with a more intense flavor and a highly concentrated nutrient profile. 

The vitamins and minerals you find in microgreens are packed in tiny versions. However, it is best to eat them raw to gain maximum nutrition that the entire meal may be lacking, by just adding a small number of microgreens to your salads, dips, and smoothies.

Microgreens are now talked about everywhere and lately, they have become a staple garnishing ingredient. Famous for the unique flavor and color, microgreens are more than just a garnish on your plate. They add a lot of nutrition to the food. 

  • They are known to contain minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, even more than their full-sized counterparts. 
  • Microgreens are easily cooked and can be had raw.
  • The ease and convenience offered by the microgreens have made it possible to add an instant flavor to a portion of food, thereby adding ample nutrients.

They can intensely boost the nutritional value of the entire meal, however, it is important to know the difference between microgreens and sprouts. Sprout seeds are prepared by soaking them in water to germinate. Sprouts and microgreens are separate ingredients. 

Sprouts have a higher risk of carrying bacteria and are capable of causing foodborne illness. Farmers and novice growers who are unaware of growing plants in their gardens actually harvest microgreens. They can reproduce quickly, in a cost-effective way and grow in the year-round.

For those who are apartment dwellers with limited space can grow microgreens anywhere with sunny windowsills. These microgreens can come from just any type of vegetable or herb, and make a versatile addition to the entire nutrient profile. Microgreens are mostly added to bring vibrant color and a splash of flavor while garnishing the actual meal.

Types Of Microgreens And Their Nutrition

A huge variety of microgreens are available these days ranging from different kinds of fruits, vegetables, plants, and herbs. Some of them include

  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Mizuna
  • Ariguna
  • Sunflower
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Mustard greens
  • Radish
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Basil
  • Chia dill
  • Fennel, and
  • Watercress

Also Read: One Herb & Plenty Nutrition - Sorrel

Here’s A List Of Benefits That Microgreens Offer

Compared to the fully mature counterparts, microgreens are much more nutritious in terms of food. This is because all the important vitamins and minerals found in plants cram up in a smaller package. 

  • Vegetables are commonly filled with a wide array of nutrients, for example, a vegetable known as swiss chard is highly nutritious because of the presence of vitamin C, vitamin K, and other vitamins. 
  • On the other hand, beetroot is loaded with folate and manganese. The microgreen version of these vegetables just add as much nutrient profile as the fruits of these plants would have.

Polyphenols

Natural chemicals, important for human development are polyphenols, which are filled with antioxidant properties. They help to prevent the build-up of free radicals in the body, which are harmful reactive compounds, responsible for causing oxidative damage and chronic diseases. 

  • Polyphenols are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and pulmonary diseases.
  • Vegetables rich in polyphenols are less nutritious than microgreens of the same vegetables. 
  • The number of polyphenols in microgreens of the brassica family including red cabbage, mizuna purple, and red mustard greens are more nutritious than the fully grown fruit. 
  • Not only are microgreens the best versions of polyphenols but they contain a wide variety of nutrients than their vegetable counterparts.

Heart Health

Heart diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide and as such doctors advise making modifications in diets to prevent coronary abnormalities. Vegetables and microgreens are richly associated with improving heart health and reduce the risk factors that contribute to heart diseases. 

Red cabbage microgreens, when served to patients suffering from coronary diseases, showed a considerable improvement by reducing bad cholesterol levels, triglycerides in the body. A healthy lifestyle should include regular physical activity, a balanced diet and approximately 2 - 3 servings of microgreens every day to keep the heart strong and healthy.

Reduce Chronic Diseases

Vegetables have been linked with multifaceted health benefits because of the nutrients, polyphenols and antioxidant profiles. Vegetable intake is associated with a lower risk of cancer including prostate cancer and digestive cancer. Microgreens have a similar property in reducing

  • Obesity
  • Heart diseases
  • Inflammation of the liver and heart 

Safety And Microgreen Eating

Microgreens are one of those vegetables and crops that can be consumed without having an adverse side effect. If you have an allergic reaction to a specific vegetable, discontinue the same microgreen immediately and reach out to a doctor. 

Many types of microorganisms are filled with vitamin C and A, which are essential for  blood clotting. People who are on warfarin, the blood-thinning medication, it is important for them to maintain a consistent distance from microgreens that are capable of interfering with the medications. 

Microgreens can be grown and harvested anytime and anywhere. If you are pressed for time, microgreens are now available at grocery stores in the farming market. They have a relatively shorter shelf life, so it is best to use them within a few days of harvesting. You can try eating microgreens with

  • Avocado toast
  • Chipotle lentil taco
  • Strawberry lime vinaigrette
  • Cauliflower avocado micro green salad and
  • Roasted garlic catch cream

The Takeaway

Microgreens may be a great fit for you to start gardening. You don’t have to invest a full garden to grow them. Apartment dwellers can very well benefit from the fact that microgreens can be grown from anyplace which is richly cultivated. 

Once they start germinating, harvest them within 14-16 days of germination. Make sure to feed enough sunlight and place the pot in the exact places where it will be easy for you to water them regularly.