Microgreens can come from countless types of seeds. However, according to Microgreens World, there are eight different microgreen families that are considered the healthiest ones: Amaranthaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Lamiaceae, and Poaceae. These multisyllabic names may seem intimidating but don’t worry – we’re here to learn more about them!
In this quick article, we’re going to dive further into these different families of microgreens and their members, as well as the unparalleled health benefits that they contain for our bodies.
Microgreen Health Benefits
So why even eat microgreens in the first place? Why not just eat fully matured peas and carrots like most of us always have instead of chowing down on their baby counterparts?
According to Science Direct, microgreens are not only packed with essential vitamins and minerals, but they also tend to have more nutritional value than they would have if they grew to full maturity.
In fact, research shows that microgreens can have up to nine times the nutritional value compared to fully grown seeds! It’s no wonder that these tiny versions of fruits, vegetables, and grains that we are all familiar with have found a following of healthy eaters.
Because they contain such a large amount of polyphenols and antioxidants, microgreens have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and even some certain cancers! Microgreens aren’t here to completely prevent these conditions, but they sure can help to stave them off.
Watch this video to learn some of the top health benefits of microgreens (and see which ones are recommended to eat regularly).
Different Types of Microgreens
There are literally hundreds of different kinds of microgreens, but the microgreen families we’ll be looking at here are as follows: Amaranthaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Lamiaceae, and Poaceae. These multisyllabic names may seem intimidating but don’t worry – we’re here to learn about them!
This family contains seeds like Amaranth, beets, chard, quinoa, and the holy grail of dark leafy greens: spinach. Spinach is hailed time and time again as one of the healthiest leafy greens you can eat, and the micro version is no exception.
This group of microgreens contains plants such as chives, garlic, leeks and onions. Microgreens have an extremely concentrated flavor of these already flavorful plants , so eat the onion microgreens with caution!
Garlic has been used for both food and medicine for thousands of years. Although the nutritional value of garlic increases with age, unlike many other plants listed here, garlic microgreens do still contain antioxidants that help bolster your immune system and lower the risk of heart disease in the way that only garlic can.
This microgreen family contains seeds like carrot, celery, dill, and fennel. Carrots are among the healthiest vegetables out there, so stock up on their microgreens! Be prepared to taste a concentrated flavor of carrots in these unassuming sprouts.
This group of microgreens includes plants like chicory, endives, lettuce, and radicchio. Mature chicory has been used often as a cooking ingredient due to its woody, smoky flavor. If that’s the type of taste you’re looking for, try some chicory microgreens on top of whatever dish you want to wooden up!
Endives are known for being filled with vitamin K, which can help improve your body’s blood coagulation, as well as help to maintain strong bones later in life. However, don’t overload on vitamin K rich foods. There can be too much of a good thing!
This microgreen family contains arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, watercress, and every little kid’s least favorite dinner portion: broccoli. This family has some of the healthiest microgreens available.
As cliché as it is to think that broccoli is gross, it remains one of the heartiest, healthiest vegetables you can find. Broccoli microgreens contain essentials such as vitamin C with higher amounts of vitamin E than adult broccoli, which can help improve your kidney functions.
Radish microgreens are fairly popular not just for the vitamins and minerals they have (zinc, potassium, folate, manganese, copper, sodium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B1 & B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium, to name a few), but for their flavor. Micro radishes have an intense, spicy taste to them, making them a favorite topper for meals like salads or sandwiches.
This family of microgreens includes seeds such as melons, cucumbers, and squash. You’ll notice that unlike most of the previous microgreens we’ve explored, this family also contains fruit!
A popular member of this group are cantaloupe microgreens. These micros have a shockingly fresh and weirdly cantaloupe flavor despite appearing very much like green sprouts. Their nutritional value is rich with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
This is the microgreen family of everything herbs! If it’s an herb, there’s a microgreen version of it. This group contains basil, rosemary, mint, sage, and oregano for starters. As you can imagine, there are few microgreens that are used for pure flavor more than the ones from this circle.
Basil is one of the more popular selections here, both for its flavor and for its high content of gut-healing polyphenols. Mint microgreens are a prime source for vitamin A and iron to support energy and organ health.
Last but not least, this microgreen family is home to different kinds of grasses as well as cereals like barley, corn, rice, oats, and wheatgrass. Legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils also fall into this category.
One of the more popular types of poaceae microgreens is wheatgrass, which is the baby form of wheat. It brings loads of vitamins and minerals to the table, but unlike other entries here, this microgreen is not consumed for the flavor. People tend to blend it with smoothies to hide its bitter, pungent flavor.
Legume (bean) microgreens have in spades what most all the other microgreens don’t have much of: protein. A favorite especially for vegetarians and vegans, bean micros provide a boost for growth, bone health, and dental health. Legume micros also help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.