November 28, 2021

Are Microgreens Healthy? What Are the Best Microgreens to Eat?

Yes, they are healthy. After all, these micro plants aren’t different from the kale and broccoli on your plate. They are your regular vegetables and herbs but harvested in the germination stage when barely three inches tall.

You must have come across headlines talking about these superfoods and how they contain every nutrient imaginable. They are no lies there as these plants have many vitamins and minerals. That’s why almost every restaurant wants to sprinkle some colorful microgreens into your salads. 

Back to our question, are microgreens good for you?

Yes, and we’ll tell you more below.

Table of Contents

Health Benefits of Microgreens

The tiny plants on your plate come with numerous delicious flavors and textures. Beyond the taste and flavor is a combination of vitamins and minerals. Arguably, microgreens contain more nutrients than the mature greens we always have on our plates.

The germination stage packs antioxidants and nutrients the plant needs as it grows, and you’ll benefit from these nutrients by eating microgreens. One example of such microgreens is red cabbage. Compared to the mature plant, these microgreens have six times more vitamin C, and their vitamin E is 40 times higher. 

That being so, add several microgreens to every meal from breakfast to dinner. Doing so is quite simple as there are hundreds of microgreens, each bringing a different color, texture, or flavor.

It’s wise to do so because microgreens… 

Lower the Risk of Numerous Diseases

For instance, polyphenols decrease cholesterol levels, and this lowers your risk of heart disease. These polyphenols also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and some cancers. 

Consuming regular portions of foods rich in lutein can fight the age-related macular disease that causes most vision problems. This antioxidant is present in broccoli, spinach, and dandelion microgreens.

Lower Blood Pressure

Foods rich in vitamin K regulate your blood pressure. It’s a similar case when you eat foods high in fiber. Most microgreens are high in these two nutrients, so adding them to your salads can do so much for your health.

Aid Weight Loss

Consuming more microgreens increases phytochemicals like beta-carotene, which reduces the fat cells in your system, thereby lowering your risk of obesity.

Improve Gut Health

Microgreens have prebiotic fiber that stimulates the growth of microbes needed in your digestive tract to protect you from diseases like colorectal cancer. Further, a healthy digestive tract reduces the risk of constipation.

Benefit Your Hair & Skin

There’s a wide range of nutrients for your hair and skin, such as vitamins D & E and zinc. On top of that, so many microgreens have these nutrients, from sunflower to kale and broccoli. To strengthen your hair, get some beet microgreens for nutrients like iron and potassium.

The Tastiest, Healthiest Microgreens

Add microgreens to your diet but don’t take away regular-sized vegetables so you can attain the daily recommended intake of nutrients. There are so many creative ways of adding small portions of microgreens to your food. For instance, garnish your salads with microgreens.

We can say that taste is relative as people eat microgreens to add different flavors to their meals. That being the case, if you’re looking for sweet-tasting microgreens, try, 

Beets

They have a sweet and earthy flavor, and they add color to your salad. You might think there’s spinach somewhere in there, yet you’re just enjoying beets microgreens. They grow in two weeks to a month.

Sunflower

You’ll rarely miss these greens in farmers’ markets or on supermarket shelves. They have a sweet taste with a nutty flavor, and they add vitamin B and zinc to your meal.

Radish

They are as popular in markets as sunflower microgreens. Unlike others we have on this list, radish microgreens have a spicy flavor. Their vitamin C level is commendable, and they come in a variety that brings color to your plate. For instance, sango radish microgreens are purplish, while daikon radish has a green color.

Broccoli

They are crunchy with a mild taste. It’d be a good idea to grow broccoli first before you move to other varieties of microgreens as they grow in six days. You’ll learn so much within those days for you to adjust your farming strategy.

Kale

Kale microgreens are another excellent choice for their sweet taste. They almost taste like broccoli microgreens.

Parsley

It’s among the microgreens high in lutein. It’s an excellent garnish that’s easy to grow at home.

Peas

Ideal when you want a crunchy salad or some microgreens for your stir fry. These microgreens have vitamins A, C & E, folic acid, and fiber, among other nutrients. When you grow peas at home, they are ready to harvest in 10 to 14 days. 

Other tasty ones are chives, mustard, Swiss chard, and mung beans.

The green daikon radish microgreens are the best source of vitamin E. They’re also higher in vitamin E than the mature ones. If you’d like to increase your intake of microgreens rich in lutein, get cilantro microgreens. Their beta-carotene is higher than the concentration in mature cilantro. 

Further, lettuce has the highest antioxidants among microgreens, while garnet amaranth is your best source of vitamin K1.

Microgreens to Grow at Home

Microgreens are pricey compared to mature plants; therefore, grow yours at home to reduce your groceries budget. They take up such little space in your house or on the balcony that you’ll not even notice them. For instance, you can grow them in a pot placed on your window sill. 

They are also easy to grow, as you can harvest them in a week or so. Plus, it’s therapeutic to have a small garden on your window sill where you spend a few minutes a day as you harvest or water them. Don’t you agree? Wouldn’t it be better to pluck some fresh microgreens from your balcony?

It’s easier to grow microgreens with large seeds than ones with small ones. Tiny seeds yield more plants, but their microgreens aren’t as stout as those from large seeds. When we talk about growing large seeds, we’re talking about microgreens like adzuki, beets, chickpea, collard greens, and lentils. The small ones include alfalfa, amaranth, celery, and oregano.

In addition to seed size, you can also choose microgreens to grow based on their flavor and taste. For example, adzuki, fava bean, and chickpea microgreens have a nutty flavor. For an earthy flavor, options range from chard to beets, sage, and amaranth.

Some seeds, such as peas and beets, require presoaking to soften the shell.

The process is simple. You’ll need:

Growing Tray/Garden

Outdoors, you’ll need to clear the garden with a rake ready for planting. If you settle for a tray, it should be about two inches deep. Whether you grow them in a kitchen garden or tray, the seeds don’t need a lot of spacing as you’ll harvest them as soon as they germinate.

A Medium

You can grow them using potting soil or purchase a single-use growing mat. 

Light

They need between 12 and 16 hours of light daily. When growing them indoors, you can use ultraviolet lighting to mimic sunlight.

A Spray Bottle

It makes the work easier as you have greater control over the water sprayed on your microgreens. They need misting daily as opposed to watering them like other plants. Plus, watering would leave such a mess on your window sill.

How to Grow Your Microgreens in a Tray

First, fill the tray with compost or soil, sprinkle the seeds on top, mist some water then wrap the container in a plastic bag. Check the container daily and when the seeds germinate, take off the plastic bag to expose the seedlings to sunlight. Water them at least once daily, and after 10 days, you can harvest them.

When To Harvest Microgreens

They are ready from seven days to a month, depending on the variety. The ones that take seven days to germinate include broccoli and red cabbage. Your pea, basil, dill, arugula, coriander, and fennel microgreens are ready in 10 to 14 days after planting.

Further, some microgreens, such as basil, are ready to harvest when they produce cotyledons, so you shouldn’t wait for the true leaves. Harvesting is a delicate process where you snip the plant and leave the roots in the soil. 

You can use shears or a pair of scissors, depending on the variety you’re harvesting. Some microgreens regrow after harvesting the leaves. These include green peas, kale, and fava beans.

If you take too long to harvest them, they’ll grow bigger and come with a different taste and flavor. On top of that, the microgreens will deplete the nutrients in the soil and outgrow the space. They may also get fibrous texture.

Final Thoughts

Microgreens bring a lot to your meals as they come in different flavors, from tangy to sweet and earthy. You can add them to salads, burgers, or even to your scrambled eggs. These nutritious plants are germinated seeds of mature greens. 

For that reason, they are easy to grow as you only wait for them to germinate, and it’s harvest time. Microgreens won’t take up much of your time like mature plants do with all that weeding and pruning for ages. Plus, they are easy to grow at home in a takeaway tray or a pot set on a window sill.

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