The Health Benefits of Microgreens
As demand for microgreens rose, so did accessibility, moving beyond top kitchens and health food stores to local grocery store shelves and farmer’s markets everywhere. Plus, they’re easy to grow at home.
In just one to two weeks from germination, you can have your very own homegrown microgreens to add to your recipes.
Are Microgreens The Same As Sprouts?
Microgreens often get confused with sprouts, but they are a little different. Microgreens are ready to consume about two weeks after germination, while sprouts are significantly less mature.
At harvest time, microgreens are about three inches in height and include the plant’s first leaves. Sprouts are much less developed, usually taking under a week before they’re ready to eat.
We eat the stems and leaves of microgreens, but seeds and stems are the edible parts of a sprout.
Both are delicious, although the plant’s true character and flavor profile does not reach its full potential as a sprout. It takes a little more time for the plant to develop its nutrient profile, and this is where the magic of microgreens really shines.
Microgreens Contain More Vitamins and Antioxidants Than Mature Vegetables
Scientific studies confirm that microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their fully-fledged counterparts.
These tiny powerhouses encapsulate all the benefits of the mature plant in a highly concentrated form. Depending on the species, they could contain higher levels of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- B Vitamins
- And more besides
Microgreens May Reduce Risk and Symptoms of Chronic Disease
We’ve long known that eating more fresh vegetables keeps us healthy and is linked to reducing chronic diseases.
Heart health, especially, is of great concern, as it is the leading cause of death in the United States. Most doctors and experts agree, modifying your diet to include fresh, nutrient-dense foods is one of the best ways to support a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Since microgreens deliver higher concentrations of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—without having to add a lot of extra food to your diet—they are a great way to support ongoing health.
Some of the chronic conditions microgreens can protect you from include:
- Heart Disease: polyphenols are a type of antioxidant linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, specifically because they can potentially lower inflammatory response and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels.
- Cancer: Consuming higher levels of polyphenols and antioxidants could reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Diabetes: Research shows that antioxidants improved insulin response and sugar metabolization by up to 44 percent.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: increasing antioxidant intake could be linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Microgreens Are Good For People With Poor Kidney Function
However, microgreens contain much lower potassium levels, so anybody with poor kidney function can enjoy the health benefits of microgreens without worrying about increasing potassium intake.
Microgreens Are Sustainable
If you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint and decreasing dependence on non-local food sources, microgreens are a great way to accomplish these goals. They are super easy to grow at home, and no matter how tiny your living space might be, they don’t take up a lot of room on your kitchen counter or window sill.
You’ll get all the benefits of fresh-picked organic food without having to travel for it, reducing the burden on our global food supply.