Have you ever heard of microgreens? If not, you’re definitely missing out on one of the healthiest superfoods you can eat. Microgreens are just like sprouts or alfalfa – they’re tiny plants that grow from seeds in soil, but they don’t actually go through the growth process until they reach maturity. They’re very similar to baby greens (baby spinach, kale, etc.), which are just full-grown green leaves harvested early to be eaten raw in salads and soups or cooked in stir-fry and omelets.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are young, tender greens that have been germinated and grown to be eaten as a vegetable. They’re typically harvested within days of being planted; in fact, they grow so quickly that they can go from seed to dinner plate in 10 days or less. And because they’re picked so young, they boast incredibly high nutrient levels compared to mature plants—which is why microgreen experts suggest eating a mix of many different types of microgreens each day for optimal health benefits.
Why Eat Them?
Microgreens are young, immature plants. While any plant can be grown as a microgreen, some of the most popular varieties include arugula, basil, broccoli and chard. Research suggests that microgreens contain higher concentrations of antioxidants than mature versions of those same foods—meaning that in addition to tasting great and adding color to your dish, they may also help prevent disease-causing free radicals from forming in your body. Microgreen leaves also tend to have less starch and fewer calories than mature green leaves; so if you’re looking for an easy way to get some veggies into your meal or snack without adding a lot of extra fat or calories, you may find that microgreens do just that.
Health Benefits of Microgreens
Contrary to what you might think, microgreens are not just a pretty garnish for health-conscious foodies. They’re packed with nutritional value, containing up to 10 times more vitamins and minerals than full-grown greens. Microgreens can help lower blood pressure and fight cancer, and they contain antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals—harmful molecules linked to heart disease and aging. Studies show that microgreens can even boost mental performance by increasing circulation to your brain cells.
How Do I Choose the Best Microgreen for Me?
Consider what you like to eat. If you love hearty greens (and who doesn’t?), then amaranth, buckwheat, and mustard microgreens may be right for you. These powerhouse greens contain large amounts of calcium, manganese, protein, copper, and iron—all nutrients most people don’t get enough of in their diets. Do I want something a little more tropical? Maybe arugula microgreens or sunflower microgreens are calling your name.
How Can I Get Started?
If you’re looking to start eating microgreens, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of your options. From picking out your greens to incorporating them into your cooking, there are plenty of questions that can slow you down when you’re trying to eat healthy. But no need to worry—we’ve broken down a few of our favorite ways you can incorporate microgreens into your diet below!