Microgreens are more nutrient-dense than their fully mature vegetable counterparts. This is because they take all of the important vitamins and minerals found in the mature plant and manage to cram them into a much smaller package. Which also explains why these baby vegetables are just bursting with flavour.
In a study by the University of Maryland, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2012, microgreens contained between four to 40 times more nutrients by weight than their fully grown counterparts. What’s more, Medical Medium says that: “When we eat greens in this early phase of life, the digestion process is a fraction of what it would otherwise be to assimilate their powers.”
This means that including just a few servings of microgreens into your diet alongside plenty of other fruits and vegetables can ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to maintain optimal health.
Broccoli microgreens nutrition
High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, iron and phosphorus, these delicate shoots have a fresh broccoli flavour.
Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli microgreens are high in anti-inflammatory properties – and broccoli microgreens are particularly potent.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore have found that broccoli sprouts, grown in plastic laboratory dishes from ordinary broccoli seeds, contain anywhere from 30 to 50 times the concentration of protective chemicals found in mature broccoli plants. These chemicals, called isothiocyanates, were already known to be potent stimulators of natural detoxifying enzymes in the body, and are thought to help explain why the consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and kale is associated with a lowered risk of contracting cancer.
Source: The New York Times
Dr Jessica Cooperstone at The Ohio State Univeristy discovered that they contain a compound called glucosinolate, which converts into isothiocyanates when eaten and chewed. All cruciferous vegetables contain these compounds, but broccoli microgreens have about 10 to 100 times more than most – plus they contain one called sulforaphane that’s particularly potent. If you’re interested in the anti-cancerous properties of broccoli sprouts and microgreens, check out this video from Dr Rhonda Patrick.
For optimum health benefits, use broccoli microgreens raw, whether it’s in a smoothie, or added to a salad, or used as garnish. Cooking the microgreens destroys some of the key health-giving properties.
Pea shoot microgreens nutrition
With a fresh pea taste, there are a lot of nutrients packed into these lush young shoots.
They’re high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, protein, and fibre. Plus they contain all essential amino acids. (Source: US Department of Agriculture.)
The microgreens study by the University of Maryland showed that pea tendrils grown under light (like ours) have a very high density of phylloquinone (Vitamin K) – more so than most other microgreens. The same study showed that pea microgreeens are “abundantly concentrated with β-carotene… comparable to that of a carrot”. Pea microgreens also have lutein/zeaxanthin levels equivalent to mature spinach: these compounds “play a critical role in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and cataract” (read: pea shoots are great for your eyes!). 💚🌱
Enjoy pea microgreens in a salad (chopping them into shorter lengths makes them easier to eat), or as a snack by themselves. Lightly stir frying or sautéing with other veggies and garlic is yummy, but cooking does destroy some of the nutrients. 😋
Radish microgreens nutrition
These fresh and spicy microgreens add a burst of flavour as well as colour to your food!
Wonderful in a salad or added to a wrap or sandwich – plus they’re really good for you.
The University of Maryland study found that they are high in Vitamin E (Tocopherols); contain good amounts of Vitamin K (phylloquinone); and are an excellent source of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Red cabbage microgreens nutrition
Red cabbage is a very special microgreen in terms of nutrition. It has 6 times more Vitamin C (147mg/100g) than mature red cabbage (24.4mg/100g).
It’s also very high in Provitamin A (beta carotene).
Red cabbage microgreens contain over 40 times the vitamin E content of its mature counterpart.
Lutein/zeaxanthin levels are also high, and 28.6 times higher than mature red cabbage.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Red cabbage microgreens are mild in flavour, so you can add them as a garnish to most dishes, or to sandwiches, salads, wraps etc.
Coriander microgreens nutrition
Coriander microgreens are high in vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Plus they contain calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.
Coriander microgreens exceptionally high in beta-carotene – and have 3 times higher levels than mature coriander!
Levels of lutein are 11 times higher than in mature coriander. And 5 times more vilaxanthin.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
So if you’re wondering why bother eating coriander microgreens, when you can eat fully-grown coriander – the microgreens are far superior in terms of nutrients. And they are just as flavoursome – if not more so!
Wheatgrass is for juicing. If you don’t like drinking neat shots of the juice, you could add it into your salad dressing, teas, smoothies, or other beverages.
Why use wheatgrass? For one thing, it’s high in Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium, and amino acids.
Studies have shown that it may reduce cholesterol.
Test tube studies have found it kills cancer and leukemia cells.
Wheatgrass also helps with sugar regulation, alleviates inflammation, and can help promote weight loss.
Fresh is best
Like all vegetables, microgreens begin to lose nutrients when harvested, so if you’re interested in maximum health benefits it’s recommended that you purchase living microgreens and harvest them at home as you need them – and eat them raw.
How many microgreens do you need to eat for maximum nutrition?
Eating any microgreens is better than eating no microgreens! But for noticeable benefits, eat two cups of raw microgreens a day.
A good starting point is to eat one large tray of microgreens per person per week.
How do you use microgreens?
It’s easy: just snip, rinse and eat. Yep – they’re a zero prep vegetable.
Add them to your smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, salads, tacos, smashed avo – or as garnish for any dish.
Here’s some microgreens recipe inspiration.
For most people, microgreens can be safely consumed with no risks or adverse side effects. However, microgreens can come from a wide range of vegetables and herbs. If you have an allergy to a specific vegetable or herb or develop an allergic reaction after consumption, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.
Some microgreens may be high in vitamin K, an essential vitamin involved in blood clotting. If you are taking Warfarin or another blood-thinning medication, it’s important to maintain consistent intake of vitamin K to avoid interfering with your medications.
Always wash microgreens before use.
Disclaimer: This information has been compiled with best endeavours but we make no claims or guarantees about the accuracy. We are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. It is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.