Microgreens are the superfood of the future and present. Since their introduction back in the 1980s, mostly consumed at restaurants, microgreens have gained popularity ever since. These greens, filled with fantastic aroma, are also known as micro herbs and confetti vegetables. They are rich in flavor and bring a colorful punch to a variety of dishes.
They have a natural advantage compared with their grown counterparts, and as a result, they pack a nutritional punch and have higher nutrient density. Thus, Microgreens are an excellent addition to any diet.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are young seedlings of edible plants(mostly greens) that are approximately 7-10 days old. They are considered baby plants and are somewhere in between a sprout and a baby green.
A sprout is very different from Microgreens as sprouts do not have leaves, whereas they do have leaves. Most Microgreens are about one to three inches tall at the time harvest.
Good things come in small packages; this applies perfectly for Microgreens because of their high concentration of nutrients, intense flavors, and tenderness.
They are very easy to grow and can be grown in your garden, in a greenhouse, or like The Salad Guy does, in a controlled environment for the best produce.
What are the different types of Microgreens?
Microgreens can be grown for herbs and vegetables from different families of plants based on their properties and nutritive qualities of microgreen. Some of the most popular varieties of plants for Microgreens are:
- Asteraceae family: Lettuce, chicory, radicchio, and endive
- Apiaceae family: Carrot, dill, fennel, and celery
- Brassicaceae family: Radish, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, watercress, and arugula
- Amaryllidaceae family: Onion, leek, and garlic
- Cucurbitaceae family: Cucumber, squash, and melon
- Legumens family: Beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, beet, spinach, and quinoa swiss chard
Microgreens vary in their taste and texture depending on their variety. They range from neutral spicy(radish), sweet (sunflower), to slightly sour and bitter (muskmelon).
Microgreens are very rich in their nutrient composition. While their nutrient content varies on their variety, most of the microgreens are rich in potassium, zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium. Microgreens are also a great source of beneficial compounds like antioxidants.
Microgreens nutrient density is higher than their mature counterparts; in fact, some research indicates that Microgreens are up to nine times higher nutrient-dense compared with the same quantity of their adult selves. Studies also suggest that Microgreens have a wide variety of polyphenols, which helps in digestion, brain function, and control blood sugar levels.
One study measured that the vitamin and antioxidant concentration of commercially available Microgreens and compared them with the existing database of vitamin and antioxidant concentration in their mature selves. Although vitamin density depends on the variety, some varieties have up to 40 times higher vitamin and antioxidant levels.
Eating vegetables is linked with a healthier lifestyle and lower risk of many diseases and conditions. The main reason behind that is their nutrient composition, which is rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. Microgreens contain some healthy components that we get from a plant-based diet, but they have a higher concentration of these healthful compounds. They reduce the risk of the following disease:
Specific Types of Cancer: Fruits and Vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and especially those which have a higher concentration of polyphenols, are found to reduce the risk of many types of cancer. Especially fruits and vegetables that are rich in polyphenols result in lower cancer rates. Almost all the varieties of Microgreens are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.
Heart Disease: Again, polyphenols reduce the rate of issues related to heart disease, which is a class of antioxidants, and microgreens are found to be rich in them. One research conducted on animals showed that greens might lower triglyceride and harmful cholesterol levels.
Diabetes: Antioxidants found in microgreens reduce the types of stress that are most commonly linked with high sugar levels. Studies conducted in labs showed signs of fenugreek enhancing the sugar intake capacity of cells by 25-44%.
Alzheimer’s disease: Foods that have higher antioxidants concentration, such as polyphenol antioxidants, are linked with reduced rates of Alzheimer’s.
All these researches show promising signs of healthy benefits of eating microgreens, but these researches are still in the nascent stage and require further testing and human trials.
How to Include Microgreens in Your Diet
Microgreens can be consumed in many ways and are typically used in a variety of dishes, including sandwiches, wraps, and salads. They can be blended in smoothies or juiced. Wheatgrass microgreens juice is very famous and has tons of health benefits.
You can also use microgreens in Parathas, pasta, omelets, curries, garnishing your pizza, and other warm curries.
Long Story Short
Microgreens are nutrient-dense superfoods which contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin, and minerals which are very important for a healthy lifestyle. They can be easily incorporated in your diet in different ways to become a regular component of your diet.