When the seeds of fruits and vegetables develop tiny roots and their first true leaves start to show they are considered microgreens. This means they are in between the growth stages of sprouts and baby greens. It also means that you can harvest microgreens within two to three weeks after you’ve planted them in the soil. You can grow any herb or vegetable as microgreens! But, the most popular ones are cilantro, arugula, radish, basil, beets, broccoli, and kale. These microgreens make great additions to salads, soups, sandwiches, stir fries, smoothies and more. There are many benefits of eating microgreens, which I talk about below.
Benefits of Eating Microgreens
A study conducted by the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources determined that microgreens are more nutrient dense than their mature plant. Some microgreens showed results of up to forty percent more nutrients. The researchers discovered this by measuring vitamins C, E, and K and beta-carotene in twenty-five different varieties of microgreens. Some of the microgreens measured in the study included arugula, basil, cilantro, celery, daikon radish and red cabbage.
After doing the study, researchers revealed many health benefits. The benefits of microgreens include these minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients such as:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage. Free radicals can cause cancer and inflammation. To get the most vitamin C, go for red cabbage microgreens.
Daikon radish microgreens contain the highest amount of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps slow down the aging process of cells. It also prevents free radicals from causing any damage to cells, just like vitamin C.
Another vitamin heavily found in microgreens is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is responsible for bone and blood health. It is also responsible for blood clotting or coagulating.
Phytonutrients: surprising benefits of eating microgreens
Although not essential for life, phytonutrients are great for the body because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Phytonutrients are compounds that help protect and increase the longevity of the plant. And, they help protect our cells from damage also.
We find this nutrient in in carrots but it also occurs in microgreens, according to the University of Maryland study. Beta-carotene is a pigment that is converted into an antioxidant called vitamin A. Vitamin A helps maintain the health of skin, eyes, and vision.
Microgreens are also rich in enzymes that help break down food and aid in digestion.
The high nutrient benefits of microgreens help fight against and prevent diseases, and lower your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. As you consume microgreens, you will notice increased energy levels, weight loss and clearer skin. Simply add them to salads, smoothies or juices. Microgreens go great with sandwiches and pesto as well. Find them at your local farmers market or grow them yourself for convenience and affordability.