Written by Sara Hughes, Dietetic Intern, OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center
Originally used in the 1980’s in Californian fine dining, these greens are gaining popularity, and are now seen in cafes and restaurants across the country. So what are microgreens? Not to be confused with sprouts or baby greens, microgreens are growing vegetables or herbs that have been harvested between 10-14 days since being planted. This makes them younger than baby greens, but older than sprouts. With a short time to grow, they usually get to be about 1-3 inches tall. Microgreens can be grown from the seeds of broccoli, arugula, onions, radish greens, chard, cilantro, basil, parsley, chives and MANY more herbs and vegetables!
These tiny greens add not only color, flavor, and texture to our diet, but a significant amount of nutrients as well. Research done by the University of Maryland found that microgreens have 3-40 times more vitamins and minerals than their full grown versions. Some of these nutrients include, but are not limited to:
- Vitamin K: Strong bones and wound healing
- Vitamin C: Healthy immune system and wound healing
- Vitamin E: Healthy immune system and strong blood vessels
- Potassium: Heart, muscle and nervous system function
- Zinc: Healthy immune system, nervous system, reproduction, wound healing
- Iron: Healthy immune system, energy production, wound healing, red blood cell formation
- Calcium: Bone formation, hormone function, muscle and nervous system function
These nutrients can help prevent health issues like inflammation, cancer, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Such a small plant may make a big difference!
Grow Your Own!
Microgreens can be found at most large grocery stores, however, they can be somewhat expensive. A great solution is to grow your own for a cheaper way to get these nutrient packed plants! Look for microgreen kits, or individual seed packets, and follow package instructions. Some supplies you may need include a growing tray, potting soil, and a sunny window. You’ll have microgreens ready to harvest in no time!
Whether you’re looking for an easy way to get extra vitamins and minerals in your diet, or you just love the taste of fresh greens, microgreens are the perfect food to try! They pack a big nutritional punch in such small plants, so it’s easy to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Microgreens are available to buy in stores, but if you have a green thumb, they’re also quick and easy to grow on your own. Including these greens in our diet adds delicious flavor, beautiful color and a variety of textures. Try adding these little greens to a salad, soup, sandwich, wrap, or smoothie!
- Choe, U., Yu, L. L., & Wang, T. T. (2018). The science behind mircogreens as an exciting new food for the 21st century. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66(44), 11519-11530. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03096
- Gioia, F. (2021, February 28). The ABCs of microgreens. Retrieved March 24, 2021, from https://extension.psu.edu/the-abcs-of-microgreens
- Interactive Nutrition Facts Label – Vitamins and Minerals Chart. (2020, March). Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/assets/InteractiveNFL_Vitamins&MineralsChart_March2020.pdf
- Johnson, R. (2020, August 17). Microgreens pack a nutritional punch. Retrieved March 24, 2021, from https://www.franciscanhealth.org/community/blog/microgreens-nutritional-punch
- McCauley, J. (2020, October 05). Mighty microgreens versus super sprouts. Retrieved March 24, 2021, from https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/vegan-health/mighty-microgreens-versus-super-sprouts/
Source by blogs.pjstar.com