What Are Microgreens? How Do They Grow So Teensy-Weensy?
You may be thinking, “What’s so special about the tiny leaves that hipster cafes are using to adorn their salads and tofu burgers?” Microgreens aren’t leaves that have been genetically shrunken to make it easier to eat salad. Nor is it like taking everybody’s favorite breed of dog and reproducing it into a teacup version to boost its appeal.
Microgreens are small because they’re usually harvested before they grow to their full potential, generally within 7 to 14 days after the seeds germinate, resulting in smaller foliage about 1 to 3 inches tall. These tiny plants release a more intense flavor and a pack a potent nutritional punch. Keep in mind that microgreens and sprouts are different. Sprouts are grown by soaking the seeds in water in order to germinate, whereas microgreens are grown in soil. Sprouts have a greater chance of causing food poisoning, however it is very rare.
Microgreens come in a variety of delightful colors and flavors, so adding them as art décor on a plate, or punch of taste to a dish, is a common practice in many eateries nowadays. Besides their beauty and deliciousness, they are chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Can you believe they have 4000% more nutritional value than their full-sized big brothers?
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Microgreens?
When you enjoy green vegetable cuisine, you increase your opportunities to ingest polyphenols. What do polyphenols do for the body? Foods high in polyphenols provide powerful antioxidants, which prevent free radicals from oxidizing your body. When these free radicals increase and expand, chronic disease isn’t too far away, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Polyphenols have also been linked to helping with weight loss, controlling diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative disease, and digestive issues.
Polyphenol food sources are commonly vegetables and research has revealed that microgreens are high in polyphenols. A recent study has found microgreens super high in polyphenols include red cabbage, mizuna, red and purple mustard greens as well as purple kohlrabi. If you’re looking for polyphenols and phytonutrients from other food sources, look for fruits like berries, plums, cherries, apples, nuts, and green tea.
Get a Healthier Heart with Microgreens
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world. Apart from getting off your chair and getting into your sweats for a little exercise, you could make simple changes to your diet. Vegetables high in polyphenols, such as microgreens, can help lower your risk of heart disease. A research study conducted on two groups of rats, one fed a high fat diet and the other fed red cabbage microgreens, showed that microgreens can mitigate weight gain, decrease LDL cholesterol and reduce triglycerides, proof that having two servings of microgreens per day can keep your ticker tick-tocking for a while longer.
Microgreens Nutrition Facts
Microgreens health benefits are dramatically more pronounced than their fully-grown carbon copies. Sometimes the best things come in smaller packages and that’s true with microgreens, which have up to 40 times more nourishment compared to fully grown vegetables. They have an assorted nutrient profile and can improve your body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Preventative Measures When Eating Microgreens
Generally speaking, you can eat microgreens like a sheep on an Irish hilltop with no problems at all. However, issues might arise if you have an allergy to a specific vegetable or herb that the microgreens are derived from. Therefore, if you are allergic to a particular vegetable or herb, or start to notice an allergic reaction after eating, stop consuming the microgreens in question right away and seek medical advice from your doctor.
Those who have blood clotting problems and take Warfarin, or other types of blood thinning medications such as Eliquis or Pradaxa should be careful. Many microgreens contain high levels of vitamin K, which could interfere with your medications.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with microgreens. They have a strong taste and profound health benefits. You can use microgreens to garnish your dishes wowing your dinner guests, but you can also make them the star of the show to reap the extra health advantages, like in smoothies, lovely salads, sandwiches, pizzas, soups–get creative! Not even their full-size counterparts can compete with their enormous nutritional potency, even though their leaves are so tiny! Their limited size has not prevented microgreens from carrying extreme amounts of minerals, vitamins and polyphenols that increase energy, improve heart health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.