As you nurture each seedling and witness your plants’ growth, your curiosity leads you to the fascinating health benefits of microgreens. These tiny, vibrant greens hold the potential for a world of advantages that can completely transform your gardening experience.
Like myself, and as any dedicated backyard gardener understands, you’re constantly seeking ways to maximize the rewards of your efforts. Prepare yourself for an enlightening journey into the wonders of microgreens, where you’ll discover the extraordinary nutrition they offer and the boundless possibilities they bring to your garden. Get ready to unlock the secrets of these nutrient-packed wonders and elevate your gardening endeavors to new heights of health and vitality.
Among the many health benefits of microgreens, additional advantages include convenience and affordability. These tiny greens provide enzymes, fiber, and vitamins C, K, E, and B. Although you’ll need to ensure you aren’t allergic to these plants, some of the most popular varieties are broccoli, kale, sunflower, radish, pea, and mustard.
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Although you’ll always want to consult with your doctor or a licensed healthcare practitioner to determine the best diet for you, these tiny green powerhouses offer a speedy growth cycle, allowing you to enjoy fresh and nutritious greens in no time. In this article, I will share the different varieties of microgreens and their nutritional and health benefits.
So, let’s delve into some of the most incredible health advantages microgreens can provide, from aiding digestion with enzymes, nurturing a healthy gut with fiber to boosting overall wellness with a burst of vitamins. Discover the joy of growing and savoring these impressive greens that pack a delicious and nutritional punch.
- Discover the 3 primary nutritional benefits of microgreens and unlock the power of these tiny plants so you can help boost your overall health.
- Save time by discovering these unique varieties of tasty microgreens that pack a nutritional punch so you can easily grow or purchase your greens confidently!
- Discover these 3 unusual disadvantages of microgreens that you should watch out for to consume your greens safely.
First Things First: Why Grow Microgreens At Home
Microgreens grow fast, typically within a few short weeks. Cultivating them at home is a convenient and rewarding way to incorporate fresh greens into your diet while similarly enjoying the benefits of gardening, regardless of your available space or experience level.
Growing your microgreens is a cost-effective way to add fresh and nutritious greens to your meals year-round. Instead of purchasing pre-packaged microgreens from stores, growing them at home offers a fresh and continuous supply at a fraction of the cost. 1
Quick And Easy
Microgreens are relatively easy to grow, even for beginners or those with limited space. They require minimal equipment to be cultivated indoors, with simple tools like a grow light, fan, tray, spray bottle, and dehumidifier. Compared to growing full-grown vegetables, microgreens have a shorter growth cycle than their adult counterparts, typically ranging from one to three weeks from seed to harvest.
Microgreens can be grown in small containers or trays, making them ideal for urban dwellers or individuals with limited gardening space. You can cultivate microgreens on a windowsill, countertop, or vertical garden. Their compact size allows you to maximize productivity in a small area.
Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Microgreens
Microgreens contain several expected nutritional benefits, including:
Enzymes are like little workers that break down food into smaller, more manageable pieces. They act like scissors, chopping significant parts into smaller portions for better digestion. For example, an enzyme called amylase helps break down carbohydrates into sugars. Still, another enzyme called protease helps break down proteins into amino acids. 2
Once the food is degraded into smaller, more manageable pieces, our bodies can absorb the nutrients more effectively, allowing our bodies to get the most out of the food we eat and use the nutrients for energy, growth, and repair.
Microgreens are an excellent source of enzymes, which means they can provide our bodies with these helpful proteins. Including microgreens in our diet can give our bodies an extra boost of enzymes to aid digestion and nutrient absorption. 3
According to recent studies, only five percent of people in the United States meet daily levels of fiber intake. Fortunately, consuming microgreens can help fill this “fiber gap.”
Fiber is a special ingredient that keeps our digestive system running smoothly. It’s a material in plant-based foods, like microgreens, that our bodies can’t fully break down. Eating foods with fiber adds bulk to our digestive system, acting as a broom for our intestines. It helps move things along and keeps everything flowing correctly. You can imagine it like a traffic cop directing cars organizationally. 4
Fiber also helps keep our gut healthy. Our gut is home to many good bacteria that aid digestion and support our immune system. Fiber is a food source for these friendly bacteria, helping them thrive and do their job correctly.
Vitamins are like little helpers in our bodies that are essential in keeping us healthy. They are nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. 5
Microgreens are rich in vitamins, including C, K, E, and various B vitamins. These vitamins have different roles in our body, such as supporting our immune system, promoting healthy skin, and aiding in energy production.
Benefits Of Different Varieties Of Microgreens: What Are The Healthiest
Regarding the healthiest microgreens, several varieties stand out due to their high nutrient content. Here are some of the microgreens that are healthy to incorporate into your diet:
Let’s look closer at these tasty and nutrient-dense greens to see if they may be right for you!
Broccoli microgreens are like supercharged baby broccoli plants and contain elevated levels of important vitamins and minerals. Broccoli greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K, essential for healthy eyes, a robust immune system, and proper blood clotting.
These microgreens also provide folate, a vitamin necessary for cell growth and development, including fiber, which helps keep our digestive system healthy. Moreover, these tiny greens are packed with antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage. 6
Kale microgreens have a concentrated dose of nutrients. They are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, which support our immune system, promote healthy skin, and help our blood clot properly.
They also contain minerals like calcium and iron, essential for strong bones and responsible for carrying oxygen in our blood. Additionally, kale greens are high in antioxidants, which help protect our cells from damage. Moreover, kale microgreens also provide dietary fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system and can help keep us full and satisfied.
Sunflower microgreens are tiny versions of sunflower plants packed with valuable nutrients and bring a pleasantly mild and nutty flavor to dishes. They provide vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect our cells from damage caused by harmful substances.
These microgreens contain minerals like copper, magnesium, and selenium, which are important for various body functions and processes.
Radish Microgreen (Rambo And China Rose)
Radish microgreens offer a unique peppery taste. They are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, which support our immune system, promote healthy skin, and help with blood clotting.
They also provide minerals like calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, essential for strong bones and normal body functions. They are known for their potential to aid in detoxification and support digestive health.
Pea microgreens are delicate and offer a pleasingly sweet flavor. They offer vitamins C and K, which help support our immune system and blood clotting. They also provide folate, a vitamin necessary for cell growth, and fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep our digestive system healthy. 7
Surprisingly, these small greens also contain a decent amount of protein, essential for our body’s growth and repair. They can be a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches.
Mustard microgreens have a distinct spicy flavor that adds a kick to dishes. These microgreens are high and rich in vitamins A, C, and K, vital for a healthy immune system, skin, and blood clotting.
They contain high levels of antioxidants that can help protect your body from harmful substances. They also provide fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system. In addition, mustard microgreens can assist in detoxifying your liver and blood, helping keep your body clean and functioning.
They also provide minerals like calcium and potassium, essential for strong bones and normal body functions. They contain compounds called glucosinolates, presently being studied for their potential anti-cancer properties.
As this video below details, microgreens can pack up to forty times the amount of nutrients than traditional garden vegetables, making them an excellent source of enzymes, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. What’s more is that these tiny greens are incredibly versatile in the kitchen, finding their way into soups, salads, tacos, pizzas, and smoothies, to name a few.
Other Microgreens: Small In Size, Big In Health
Several other common microgreen crops are packed with nutrients and taste amazing, including:
Red Cabbage Microgreens
Red cabbage microgreens emerge as a top contender for promoting heart health. Research indicates that these microgreens can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol by 34%, trim down triglycerides by 23%, and even curb weight gain by 17%, as demonstrated in a study on rats.
Arugula microgreens are a fantastic choice for promoting strong and healthy bones. They contain essential nutrients that contribute to bone health and help maintain their strength. By incorporating arugula microgreens into your diet, you can provide your body with the necessary elements to support the integrity and durability of your bones.
Spinach microgreens are tiny versions of traditional spinach plants you’d typically find in the backyard garden and are bursting with essential nutrients like vitamin A, C, K1, folic acid, iron, and calcium.
One remarkable feature of spinach microgreens is their nutrient density. They can contain 4 to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts, making them a concentrated source of beneficial vitamins and minerals. 8
Mung Bean Microgreens
Mung bean microgreens, often found in Asian dishes, are tiny sprouts bursting with nutritional goodness. They are loaded with essential vitamins like A, C, and E, which help keep our skin healthy, support our immune system, and act as powerful antioxidants.
In addition, these microgreens contain key minerals like potassium and iron, which contribute to overall health and well-being. When you bite into these microgreens, you’ll experience a satisfying crunch and a subtle nutty taste that adds a delightful flavor to your meals.
Beetroot microgreens are a great choice if you want to support the health of your hair. They are packed with beneficial nutrients like iron, potassium, and electrolytes.
Iron helps transport oxygen to your hair follicles, promoting healthy growth and preventing hair loss. Potassium helps maintain the moisture balance in your hair, keeping it hydrated and preventing dryness. Electrolytes support the overall health of your hair and scalp, ensuring they function properly.
Consuming Microgreens: Not Always A Green Light
Although microgreens are highly nutritious and have gained popularity, it’s important to consider the other side of the coin when consuming microgreens. Microgreens may have the following disadvantages:
Like any fresh produce, there is a risk of contamination with microgreens. They can harbor mold and harmful bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella if not grown and appropriately handled. Following proper hygiene practices and ensuring a clean, organized, and sterile growing environment is crucial. 9
Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to specific types of microgreens. It’s important to be aware of potential allergies and eat in moderation or not at all if you know sensitivities.
Availability And Cost
While growing microgreens at home can be cost-effective, purchasing them from stores or farmers’ markets can be relatively expensive compared to other, more traditional, store-bought vegetables. Additionally, the availability of certain microgreen varieties may be limited depending on your location.
Can You Eat Your Nutrient-Packed Microgreens Everyday
You can enjoy nutrient-packed microgreens every day as part of a healthy diet. Regularly eating microgreens can provide various nutritional benefits, help digestion, and lessen issues like constipation and bloating.
Microgreens are also loaded with antioxidants that can help protect your body against diseases. The specific antioxidants in microgreens depend on the plant you’re consuming. 10
Growing microgreens at home with minimal supplies is fun, easy, and a great source of daily nutritional requirements. Beginning and seasoned gardeners agree that incorporating microgreens into your daily diet is a simple yet impactful step toward improving overall health and wellness.
Although microgreens have numerous benefits, including being cost-effective, easy to grow, and nutrient-dense, micro gardeners must be aware of the potential contamination of greens, possible allergies, and availability in some regions.
With all of the micro varieties on the market today, some of the most common that pack a ton of nutrition include broccoli, kale, radish, pea, red cabbage, and spinach, to name a few. Whether you grow or purchase them locally, adding microgreens to your meals can enhance your food’s nutritional value and enjoyment.
Do you currently purchase or grow your microgreens? Take a moment and drop us a line in the comments below, and let us know how you incorporate these tasty greens in your dishes.