Before we look at the benefits of eating microgreens, let’s first look at what microgreens actually are. Microgreens are a class of small flowering green plants that are eaten as snacks by animals. Microgreens are commonly found growing on alfalfa hay or alfalfa sprouts. These sprouts are very small so the animals that eat them often do not even notice them. This small size and quiet consumption make microgreens an extremely good addition to any animal’s diet.
So, why are microgreens worth it? The health benefits of eating microgreens are primarily associated with their high concentration of vitamin K. As we all know, vitamin K helps with stronger bones and teeth. Vitamin K also helps increase the effectiveness of immune systems by boosting it. Finally, some studies have suggested that micro greens contain high amounts of resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red wine and other foods.
What are good sources of microgreens? There are many different good sources of vitamin K. The most common is spinach, but you can also find it in apricots, beans, broccoli, carrots, garlic, kale, mint, parsley, and cucumber. Other good sources are almonds, asparagus, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, citrus fruit, grapefruit, honey, liver, mushrooms, oranges, pears, plums, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and watermelons. Of course, the best sources of vitamin K are from green and leafy vegetables. In addition, some good sources of vitamin E are almonds, lettuce, spinach, artichokes, asparagus, and cilantro. Keep in mind though, that vitamin e can be toxic if taken in large quantities.
Are there health benefits to drinking broccoli microgreens? It is believed that consuming them can help to reduce inflammation of the stomach due to overeating. They are also thought to have health benefits similar to those of flaxseed, which are anti-inflammatory and may help decrease heart disease. Since microgreens contain Cayenne, studies have indicated that they have anti-cancer properties, which are likely due to phytonutrients, chlorophyll being a natural herbicide.
What are health benefits to eating microgreens? Scientists believe that the main health benefits to eating them are due to lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein is a carotenoid and a yellow pigment found in various fruits including blueberries, cranberries, guava, grapes, and red grapes. Zeaxanthin is a powerful carotenoid as well and is found in pumpkin, gooseberry, barley, soybean, avocado, and yellow squash.
Can microgreens provide the same health benefits as other vegetables? Yes, they can, but they are not as nutritious as other vegetables in terms of their vitamins and minerals. Zeaxanthin and lutein are thought to be most beneficial when consumed at a much higher quantities than in other foods. That’s because these two nutrients need to be broken down into their different components in order for them to be absorbed and used by the body. Consuming too small amounts will leave you with nothing to benefit from them.
How much does it take to grow microgreens? It takes about three months to harvest one pound of fresh mature green leafy plants. If you are growing plants at home, you may want to increase that amount. The key is to keep the soil below your plant level as to not overload it with excess nutrients. The best thing to do if you are thinking about how much to grow is to find a good book on growing microgreens, purchase a soil testing kit, and put in about twenty percent more seeds than you think you’ll need.
When you have chosen which variety of leafy green plants you are going to grow, there are many varieties of microgreens to choose from. Some greens are especially appealing to the eye, such as beet sprouts or turnip greens. Other plants are more nutritious, like spinach, chard, or kale. But if you are going to go with cabbage, arugula, and broccoli, they are all very good options, and you are sure to enjoy eating them!