What’s Inside: In this article, I do a deep dive into the topic of microgreens nutrition. I cover the nutritional value of microgreens, compare the nutritional value of microgreens vs. mature plants and share with you the nutritional benefits of microgreens. I also include a microgreens nutrition chart, so you’ll know which microgreens to grow to provide all of the nutrients you need to improve your health.
Microgreens are a way of getting maximum nutrition from a plant before the growing plant uses all the nutrients for energy to grow into an adult. What nutrient benefits can you get from microgreens, and which ones should you be growing?
Microgreens have evolved from being a trendy vegetable in high-end restaurants to a nutritious superfood that can boost your vitamin and mineral intake and help fight off disease in humans. Microgreens from different plants offer varying vitamins, minerals, and health benefits.
The differences in nutritional value between microgreen plants make it important to understand the nutrient value of each type of microgreen. Our guide to microgreen nutrients and the quick reference microgreen nutrition chart will help you decide which ones to grow.
- Microgreens contain as much as 40 times more nutrients than mature plants.
- According to WebMD, regular consumption of microgreens may reduce the chance of cancer, heart disease, and other medical conditions.
- Different microgreens contain different nutrients, so eating a variety of them is a great way to make sure you get all the nutrients you need.
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The Nutritional Value of Microgreens
Microgreens are a type of young vegetable green that are harvested after just a couple of weeks of growth. They are a popular addition to dishes in high-end restaurants due to their vibrant colors, delicate textures, and unique flavors.
However, microgreens are not just a fancy garnish; their high nutritional value classifies them as a superfood and can offer numerous health benefits.
Besides being a culinary ingredient that adds texture and flavor, microgreens are a highly nutritious food, containing high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Some studies have shown that microgreens can potentially have as much as 40 times more nutritional value than mature plants. They are also a superb source of essential amino acids and dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health.
Microgreens are harvested just a few weeks after germination when they have grown to a height of between 1 and 3 inches or 2.5cm to 7.5 cm. At this growth stage, they contain all of the nutrients necessary for the plant’s survival, making them a highly concentrated source of nutrients.
Given microgreens’ nutritional benefits and unique flavors, it is no surprise that they are becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers.
Microgreens are a Great Option for Apartment Dwellers
I also feel that microgreens are a great choice for people living in apartments or small homes, who may not have much or any garden space. Even if you have just a tiny bit of space on a kitchen counter, you can add a big boost of nutrients to a smoothie, salad, or sandwich, by growing your own microgreens.
They are also a great option for indoor gardening during winter, when it may not be possible to grow food outdoors.
If you want to learn more about growing microgreens, I recommend the book, Microgreen Garden: Indoor Grower’s Guide to Gourmet Greens by Mark Mathew Braunstein (Amazon). I love that it includes full-color photos, and breaks down microgreens by how easy (or challenging) they are to grow.
Microgreens Nutrition Vs. Mature Plants
As I mentioned earlier, microgreens can often contain up to 40 times more nutrients than mature plants, but the additional nutritive value varies from plant to plant.
For example, red cabbage microgreens have been found to have 40 times more vitamin E and 6 times more vitamin C than mature red cabbage.
Similarly, arugula microgreens have been found to contain 4 times more vitamin C, 4 times more beta-carotene, and 8 times more calcium than mature arugula. This makes microgreens an excellent source of nutrients for individuals looking to increase their nutrient intake.
Microgreens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain important minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium. The combination of these nutrients is important for maintaining healthy skin, bones, and teeth, supporting the immune system. According to WebMD, they may also reduce the health risk of certain unpleasant and life-threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Health Benefits of Microgreens
Microgreens are not only nutritious but also offer health benefits that help the human body fight off disease and maintain an overall healthier life.
Some of the key health benefits of including microgreens in your diet are as follows.
- Supporting heart health. Microgreens are rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure and limit the risk of heart disease.
- Boosting immune function. Microgreens are a source of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and boost immune function, helping to protect against infections and diseases.
- Supporting digestive health. Microgreens are rich in dietary fiber, important for maintaining healthy digestion and promoting regular bowel movements.
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Microgreens are high in vitamins and minerals linked to limiting the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Microgreens are a highly concentrated source of nutrients, making them a healthy, beneficial, and tasty addition to any diet aimed at disease prevention.
Microgreens are a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect people against oxidative stress and inflammation. This can help boost immune function and reduce the risk of infections and diseases.
Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 days (Amazon) is a book that I first checked out from the library. It has enough solid information that I decided to buy it so it would have a permanent place in my library.
The book uses the term, “soil sprouts” but in my opinion, they are basically the same thing as microgreens, though you grow them in just 10 days.
Microgreens Nutrition Chart
I have created a quick reference microgreens nutrition chart which you may find helpful to understanding which microgreens you should grow and consume.
This will help you to improve the nutrient value of your diet or to help build your body’s resistance to sickness and disease.
|Microgreen||Nutrient Benefits||Health Benefits|
|Amaranth Amaranthaceae family||Vitamins A, C, and E. Include minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and amino acids.||Helps with digestion, boosts the immune system, helps fight cancer, promotes bone health, and lowers hair loss.|
|Arugula Brassicaceae family||Rich in vitamins A, C, and K and the minerals calcium and iron.||Contain compounds shown to have anti-cancer properties.|
|Basil Lamiaceae (Mint) family||Basil includes vitamins A, K, and C. Includes minerals such as calcium and iron.||Have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.|
|Beets Amaranthaceae family||Beets are high in vitamins A, K, and C and the minerals calcium, iron, and potassium.||Contain compounds shown to help reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health.|
|Borage Boraginaceae family||Vitamin A, B6, C, potassium, iron, calcium, and amino acids.||Assists the immune system and promotes wound healing and DNA health.|
|Broccoli Brassicaceae family||High in vitamins A, B, C, and K, and the minerals iron, calcium, and potassium.||A good source of fiber and essential amino acids. Promotes wound healing and boosting of the immune system|
|Carrot Apiaceae family||Vitamins A, B6, C, and minerals include magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and manganese.||Helps with blood pressure, digestion, and kidney function and boosts the immune system.|
|Dill Apiaceae family||Vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron.||Improves heart health, prevents and treats Type 2 Diabetes.|
|Lentils Legume family||Source of protein, iron, potassium, manganese, prebiotics, thiamin, zinc, and copper.||Anti-cancer properties. Helps with heart health, prevents diabetes, and helps manage obesity.|
|Lettuce Asteraceae family||Vitamins A, C, and K and iron.||Good for bone health.|
|Onion Amaryllidaceae family||Vitamins C and B6, and the minerals potassium, manganese, and copper.||Lowers the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes and promotes heart health.|
|Pea Legume family||High in vitamins B and C and minerals such as calcium and iron.||A good source of protein and fiber.|
|Quinoa Amaranthaceae family (Amazon)||High in magnesium, protein, and crucial amino acids and antioxidants.||Good for bone health and balancing metabolism.|
|Radish Brassicaceae family||Radish microgreens are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E and the minerals calcium and iron.||Contain compounds shown to have anti-cancer properties.|
|Red Cabbage Brassicaceae family||Abundant in vitamins C and E, and the minerals calcium, iron, and potassium||Shown to have anti-cancer properties.|
|Spinach Amaranthaceae family||Vitamin A, C, E, K, folic acid, iron, and calcium.||Promotes strong bones, boosts the immune system, and acts as an appetite suppressant.|
|Sunflower Asteraceae (Daisy) family||A good source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids||Contain the minerals calcium, iron, and potassium.|
This microgreens nutrition chart gives you a good idea of which are best suited for your unique health situation, and which are the most nutritious microgreens to add to your diet.
I personally recommend referring to the chart above to choose a variety of microgreens to add to your diet. The more variety, the greater the nutritional punch. You can even grow a mix of microgreens such as the The Spicy Salad Mix from True Leaf Market to up the nutritional variety in a single grow.
Microgreens are tiny but mighty greens packed with nutrients and health benefits. They are easy to grow, versatile, and can be incorporated into various dishes to add flavor and nutrition. The high nutritional value of microgreens makes them a great way to boost your immune system, improve your digestion, and promote overall health and well-being.
Microgreens are a powerful addition to any diet. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY gardener or a beginner, growing and incorporating microgreens into your meals is a simple and delicious way to benefit your overall health.
Check out these articles that I used when researching this article:
- What to Know About Microgreens – WebMD
- UMD Researchers Find Microgreens to Have High Levels of Nutrients
- The ABCs of Microgreens – Penn State Extension
If you enjoyed this article, you’re sure to enjoy these articles on growing sprouts and microgreens.
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens Using the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit
- The 10 Best Hydroponic Microgreens