According to a study undertaken by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2012) they have up to six times more essential nutrients than adult vegetables, making them potentially an even healthier alternative to people looking to optimize their nutriton.
What are these essential nutrients?
Microgreens contain concentrated quantities of Vitamins A, B, C, E and K, all vital to a healthy functioning person. They also provide essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Which microgreens have the highest concentration of nutrients?
The JAFC study found that red cabbage microgreens contain the highest concentration of Vitamin C. Green daikon radish has the highest of Vitamin E and garnet amaranth the highest of Vitamin K. Cilantro had the highest concentration of a kind of antioxidant called tocopherol.
Are microgreens superfoods?
The term ‘superfood’ implies something with exceptional nutritional value that will supply all the nutrients we need for a healthy life. We should be aware that this is a marketing term, and that doctors and dieticians do not recognize any ‘superfoods’. They would recommend a balanced diet of various kinds of foods.
Why should I eat vitamin-rich foods?
Vitamins are essential for healthy body function, and different vitamins address different functions. Vitamin A is essential for good eye health. The various forms of Vitamin B aid cellular development and help metabolise food. Vitamin C assists in bone formation, the immune system and the absorption of iron. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting.
Why should I eat antioxidants?
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that slow down oxidation, a process that can damage the cells of the body. Ingestion of antioxidants can therefore promote health and perhaps even prolong life. Vitamins E and C, both found in many vegetables, act as antioxidants.
Why should I eat minerals?
Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and iron are necessary for good health. Iron is important to blood health. Magnesium and sodium helps muscle and nerve function. Calcium assists bone growth. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, assists heart function and is beneficial to the muscles and the nervous system.
Can microgreens prevent disease?
Some studies suggest that the antioxidants found in microgreens (and other vegetables) have a role to play in the prevention of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and some cancers. In any case the vitamins and minerals obtained from them contribute to general health and thus in the prevention of disease. Patients should however consult their doctor before drastically changing their diet.
You did not mention Vitamin D. Can I obtain that from microgreens?
Vitamin D is necessary for good bone and skin health. Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Fish oils are another source of Vitamin D. Plant matter does not have not enough Vitamin D to maintain good health and so microgreens will not supply that deficiency.
Will microgreens rather than regular vegetables increase my intake of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals?
Yes and no. It is true that concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants in a microgreen are higher than in the same vegetable of mature size. However that does not mean that it contains more. You would have to consume a large quantity of microgreens to gain the equivalent nutritional value in a standard serve of mature vegetable.
Are microgreens inexpensive?
Microgreens are costlier to produce and thus to buy. Many people might find it expensive to obtain all their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from them. If you are concerned about their price you might even consider growing them at home. They require little space and effort.
Why should I eat microgreens then?
Many people use microgreens as a way of supplementing their nutritional requirements. They are often tastier than mature vegetables and many consumers enjoy the crisp, succulent texture.
Should I eat microgreens instead of regular vegetables?
The most important consideration is that you have an adequate supply of nutrients every day. Dieticians might advise that microgreens be eaten in combination with servings of regular vegetables.
Could microgreens be bad for my health?
Not usually, unless of course they are all you are eating. In that case you would likely suffer from malnutrition. Growers do advise that you choose healthy seeds without any sign of disease if you are going to grow them yourself. You should also be careful storing microgreens, as they tend to decay much faster than regular vegetables. And of course wash them if they have been freshly taken from the soil. They may have been treated with harmful chemicals.
Could I overdose on vitamins concentrated in microgreens?
It’s extremely unlikely, since you would have to eat an impossibly huge amount in a short period. In any case, excess Vitamin C and Vitamin B is not stored in the body. It is excreted in our waste. Vitamins A, D and K are stored, but overdosing is very rare and does not seem to produce lasting problems. So eat as much as you like!
Are microgreens high in protein?
Some, like clover and peas, are richer in proteins than regular vegetables. However If you plan to use them as protein substitutes you would be best advised to consult a doctor or dietician.
Can I freeze microgreens?
Yes you can, but it is not recommended. Frozen microgreens tend to lose much of their nutritional value as well as their texture and flavour.
How should I incorporate microgreens into my diet?
There are a variety of ways to enjoy microgreens. They can be served in salads, sandwiches, soups, omelettes, stews and curries. They may be also be blended as smoothies. Wheatgrass is an example of a popular microgreen that can be ingested as a smoothie. Microgreens can also be eaten with a main meal of course.
Where can I find more information about the health benefits of microgreens?
You can consult your doctor or dietician. There are a number of reputable medical sites with information about microgreens. Their health benefits are undisputed. Nevertheless be careful of claims that sound too good to be true. They probably aren’t!