What Are Microgreens?

Nutritional Benefits

These little greens have popped up just about everywhere recently and have become a staple garnish thanks to their color and flavor. Though, microgreens have so much more to offer than merely adding a pop of color to the dish.

Research reveals these mini greens pack in a notable punch when it comes to nutrition and contains even more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than their full-grown equivalents.

purple-vienna-kohlrabi-microgreen

Microgreen Pack a Nutritional Punch

Microgreens are greens that have been picked before maturation, just seven to 14 days after germination.

The outcome is a much smaller green, usually between one to three inches high, with a more concentrated flavor and highly focused nutrient outline. All of the vitamins and minerals you'd find commonly in the full-grown plant or herb are packed into these short versions.

purple amaranth microgreens

That means that just supplementing a small amount to salads, dips, or smoothies can immediately increase the nutritional value.

These tiny greens shouldn't be confused with sprouts. This involves sprouting seeds by soaking them in water to germinate.

Although rare, sprouts have a higher risk of bearing bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Microgreens are a favorite choice for farmers and beginner growers alike. This is because they can be produced fast, are cost-effective, and can be produced year-round.

They're also ideal for apartment tenants and those with confined space, as they can be raised anywhere a sunny windowsill is located.

These miniature greens can come from just about any variety of vegetable or herb, making them an incredibly versatile dietary enhancement.

Although most frequently used as a garnish to add a dash of freshness to the plate, they can also take center stage as the main component in foods like salads.

Benefits

High in Nutrients

Microgreens are much more nutrient-dense foods than their fully-grown equivalents. This is because they take all of the essential vitamins and minerals found in the adult plant and achieve to compress them into a much smaller package.

Most vegetables produce a diverse collection of nutrients. Swiss chard, for example, is exceptionally high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C, while beets are packed with manganese and folate.

The microgreen variants of these vegetables boast just as diversified a nutrient profile and can help raise your vitamin and mineral intake fast and easily.

In a study issued in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, microgreens contained between four to 40 times more nutrients by weight than their fully-grown equals.

This indicates that including just a few portions of microgreens into your diet alongside lots of other fruits and vegetables can guarantee you're getting the nutrients you need to support optimal wellness.

Contain Polyphenols

Polyphenols are necessary natural chemicals found in many foods and contain robust antioxidant characteristics. Antioxidants help inhibit the buildup of damaging free radicals, which are highly reactive compounds that form in the body and can cause harm to cells as well as chronic diseases.

Studies suggest polyphenols have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.

Most vegetables are high in health-promoting polyphenols. Some studies have also discovered that the microgreen variants of these vegetables are likewise high in polyphenols.

A 2013 study out of Maryland measured the number of polyphenols in five microgreens from the Brassica family of vegetables, including red cabbage, purple kohlrabi, mizuna, and red and purple mustard greens.

Not only were microgreens found to be excellent sources of polyphenols, but they contained a broader mixture of polyphenols than their mature vegetable equivalents.

In addition to microgreens and grown vegetables, other rich sources of polyphenols include fruit, tea, coffee, and even chocolate.

Improve Heart Health

Statistics show that heart disease is the foremost cause of death, accounting for an estimated one in six deaths in the United States. Making dietary changes is one of the simplest and most useful ways to prevent coronary heart disease and sustain heart health.

Studies show that consuming more vegetables is correlated with reduced heart disease risk factors and a lower risk of heart disease. Some studies have also observed that adding microgreens in your diet could help decrease specific heart disease risk factors.

One animal study fed rats a high-fat diet supplemented with red cabbage microgreens. The microgreens reduced weight gain by 17%, slashed bad LDL cholesterol by 34%, and cut triglycerides by 23%.

Together with a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, and routine physical activity, incorporating a portion or two of microgreens into your day could help keep your heart strong and healthy.

heart shaped bowl with pasta and microgreens

Reduce Chronic Disease Risk

The health advantages of vegetables have been widely studied. Thanks to their impressive nutrient and polyphenol profile, consuming vegetables has been shown to decrease the risk of specific types of chronic disease.

One study showed vegetable consumption was linked with a lower risk of several kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer and cancers affecting the digestive tract.
Increased vegetable consumption has also been linked with less inflammation and a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Because microgreens possess a comparable but intensified nutrient profile to full-sized vegetables and an even higher volume of polyphenols, they may also carry the same disease-busting benefits.

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