If you’re an organic food enthusiast, you must’ve come across those little sprout-like tiny vegetables called microgreens. Their small size makes many people wonder, are they even enough to provide the nutritional values compared to those gigantic full-grown veggies? If so, then what are the nutritional and health benefits of microgreens? Let’s find out.
Microgreens are the seedlings of vegetables. Most researches show that they are much higher in their percentage of nutrition compared to full-grown veggies. They are not only rich in vitamins A, B, E and K but also minerals and bioactive compounds. Moreover, these microgreens strengthen the body’s immunity power helping fight different health conditions.
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are small plants of edible vegetables which are usually grown up to the seedling stage. They are small, spanning across 1.5-2 inches. They are grown in a timeframe of 1 week to 3 weeks after which they can be harvested for consumption. These seedlings have concentrated smells and are usually very rich in nutritional benefits.
Microgreens were first used by chefs in the 1980s for garnishing and decoration only. Afterwards, the beginning of this century saw a turnaround in people’s acceptance of microgreens as veggies. Many started consuming it more for its rich nutritional intake besides its value for textural variety in dishes.
Popular microgreens include broccoli, radish, spicy salads, arugula, cilantro, sunflower, peas, cabbages etc. They provide all-around nutrition more than what grown vegetables can provide.
Vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds such as antioxidants are what appeals to people most about microgreens. It also helps to strengthen immunity power to fight against cardiovascular diseases besides working as an anti-inflammatory proponent for our bodies.
Nutritional Value of Microgreens
Studies show that small counterparts of normal vegetables have 40x more nutritional value compared to full-grown ones. Rich in iron, calcium and vitamins of different sorts, microgreens are crucial as healthy alternatives to mature vegetables.
Below a few nutritional values of the greens are mentioned for a better understanding of their nutritional benefits.
Microgreens are rich in vitamins. From backing up visions to ensuring bone mechanism, microgreens provide all the basic vitamin requirements of an average human.
- Vitamin A Rich Greens
The microgreens of the Amaranthaceae family help provide provitamin A for the human body. The body can then transform the pro-vitamin A into Vitamin A which benefits our visions and optical power. Moreover, greens like Beets are rich in provitamin beta-carotene that helps you meet your RDA.
Microgreens like lettuce or spinach also are laden with Vitamin A and other carotene antioxidants that help promote our health.
- Vitamin C Rich Greens
Red cabbage has the maximum Vitamin C among the microgreens, according to studies. Ascorbic acids found in cabbage are essential for protecting skin against UV light. Besides, cilantro, turnip and other leafy veggies also have a rich concentration of vitamin C.
Nutritional research on a group of microgreens shows that vitamin C in microgreens ranges from 20 to 147 mg per 100 grams of different plants, which is remarkably high.
- Vitamin E Rich Greens
Many microgreens are rich in vitamin E. According to a study conducted on edible microgreens in 2018, the tocopherols found in greens full of vitamin E can help fight cancer and other cardiovascular diseases.
Microgreens such as spinach, broccoli have plenty of vitamin E and are protective against heart diseases. Radishes and sunflowers also provide fat-dispensable antioxidants, research shows. Green radishes are filled with tocopherols and can fight blood cholesterol levels.
However, red cabbage tops the list here as the study says it is a whopping 40x more nutritious than its mature counterpart! It also fights bravely and strongly against cancer.
- Vitamin K Rich Greens
Vitamin K is a cluster of vitamins that help blood clotting as well as healthy bone functioning. It regulates the blood calcium which is important for bone development. Lack of vitamin K results in slow recovery from wounds, cuts or even major surgeries.
Garnet amaranth, Lettuce as well as broccoli, all help maintain RDA for vitamin K in our bodies. Research on Edible Microgreens confirms that at the seedling stage, microgreen lettuce provides five times as much nutrition as its mature counterparts. Therefore, this clove-like lettuce is indeed a better choice than larger lettuce.
Microgreens are not only super-rich in vitamins but are also power-packed with tons of minerals. The ratio of minerals present in microgreens may vary from plant to plant. However, one thing goes for all of them, they are either equal or more in nutrition than the mature vegetables.
Luo’s research on the minerals found in microgreens confirms that minerals such as Potassium, Calcium, phosphorus as well as magnesium and sodium are all highly present in the microgreens.
Microgreen mineral study’s results showed a varying degree of mineral presence in the microgreens.
The table here lists the presence of minerals in microgreens. As it can be seen, the minerals calcium and potassium are rich in microgreen seedlings.
Bioactive compounds help retain our good health by boosting immunity power. The elements in this compound help fight insulin, cholesterol-like chronic diseases as well as cardiovascular ones.
Microgreen broccoli has bioactive compounds like glucosinolates and phenolics. Other microgreen beetroots have phenolics as well as betalains. They all are antioxidants constantly helping us fight our diseases.
Microgreens vs Full-Grown Veggies
Microgreens provide a few times more the amount of nutrition as compared to ripe vegetables.
This table shows the average ratio of nutrition found in different vegetables in their microgreen stage and counterparts.
As the data shows, microgreens provide more nutrition, in the form of vitamins and minerals. To meet the RDA regulations of sufficient nutrient intake, microgreens are more effective than mature vegetables.
The Health Benefits of Microgreens
Oftentimes, mature veggies lose vitamins along the way as they grow. As microgreens are harvested at their first leaves stage, they retain most of the nutrients. Micro vegetables help produce antioxidants and bioactive compounds to protect you from diseases.
Because of the anti-inflammatory elements present in microgreens, they are largely safe for anyone to eat. Microgreens like beetroot, scallions, sunflower etc. have rich anti-inflammatory microelements which help heart diseases as well as gastritis.
Moreover, microgreens themselves provide our body with a plethora of micronutrients that help regulate the body’s immunity cycle. They also release Polyphenols, the chemical that backs up our body’s anti-inflammatory capabilities.
Fighting cardiovascular diseases is one of the main perks of consuming microgreens. With the help of Vitamin, A, E, C and K as well as the minerals and anti-inflammatory properties, microgreens ensure better heart health.
They can also control blood sugar and insulin and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the future. Therefore, microgreens like broccoli or radishes help fight the diseases more, compared to their ripe forms.
If you’re wondering whether to replace your mature vegetable intake with microgreens intake, there’s no reason not to. They look pretty, are loaded with nutrition and you can eat them raw!
Now, do not hesitate! Pick up those greens from your salads and eat them knowing what magic they’re doing for your body!