10 Microgreens: Pros & Cons and 6 Health Benefits

By Krista

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Last Updated: December 7, 2022

Don’t let the size of microgreens fool you.

These small plants are jam-packed with nutrition. And surprisingly, they aren’t exactly “new.” In fact, microgreens hit the scene back in the 1980s. However, with increasing interest in health optimization and longevity, they are taking the spotlight once again.

  • So, what are microgreens?
  • Should you try them (or even grow them yourself)?

If you’re microgreen curious, we’ve got everything you need to know about these small but mighty plants below.

 

 

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are technically the vegetables we eat, just not in their fully grown and mature form. They are harvested when these plants are still mere sprouts. 

And there are all kinds of these small sprouts! Some popular ones include:

  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Radish
  • Arugula

So, why eat them? Well, researchers indicate that they contain 40% more phytonutrients (nutrients that are very protective when it comes to heart disease, cancer, and more!) than their fully-grown counterparts. 

 

 

Microgreens Nutrition

These small sprouts, as aforementioned, don’t fall short when it comes to nutrition. Broccoli sprouts, in particular, are raved about for their nutritional profile, which contains magnesium, copper, and zinc. 

On top of this, broccoli microgreens contain a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has many benefits including:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Protecting DNA
  • Acting as antioxidants
  • Potentially reducing one’s cancer risk

However, many other microgreens also contain a high level of antioxidants, which gives way to various benefits. But before we dive into those benefits, let’s take a look at the possible disadvantages.

 

What Are the Disadvantages of Microgreens?

One popular belief regarding microgreens is that they tend to contain more bacteria than their fully-grown counterparts.

The truth is that they actually require less humid and warm climates to grow when compared to more mature sprouts or veggies, meaning bacteria may be less likely to grow.

However, if you intend on growing them at home (such as with a microgreen kit), you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the seeds from a reputable organization to avoid any bacteria contamination.

 

 

What Does Eating Microgreens Do For You?

So, back to the question: Why microgreens?

Here are a few reasons why you might just want to add more of these small greens to your diet:

 

1. They may reduce your risk of heart disease.

As a good source of polyphenols, microgreens help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce “bad” cholesterol - all of which contribute to a happy and healthier heart and a lower risk of heart disease.

 

2. They may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

We all want to age gracefully and with a clear mind. However, neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s Disease, can lead to memory issues and other cognitive problems.

While research is still exploring the prevention and treatment of this disease, eating high amounts of polyphenols might just help slightly lower your risk of experiencing this devastating disease.

Related Article: Memory Problems? 9 Tips To Help You Remember Better

 

3. It may boost your immunity!

Since they are full of antioxidants, they naturally help reduce inflammation throughout the body.

This means your immune system can function better. In turn, you might just get sick less!

 

4. They may improve eye health.

Leafy greens are well-known to contain nutrients to improve eye health.

Microgreens are basically tiny compact versions of these vegetables, giving way to similar effects.

In particular, lutein in microgreens may help reduce the light intensity absorbed by your eyes, leading to less eye strain and fewer headaches.

 

5. They can enhance digestion!

Like other veggies, microgreens have tons of fiber.

Fiber helps bulk up your stool and keeps things moving through your digestive tract. This can help with constipation and bloating, relieving various digestive discomforts. Your parents weren’t joking when they encouraged you at the family dining table to eat your greens!

Related Article: Coffee and Your Gut Health: Is it Friend or Foe?

 

6. They may reduce your risk of diabetes.

Research shows how antioxidants, such as those found in microgreens, may prevent interferences with sugar metabolism and the ability of the body’s cells to take in sugar. On top of this, certain microgreens, like fenugreek, may help actually improve the cell’s uptake of sugar by 25-44%.

 

 

What is the Best Way to Eat Microgreens?

Like any veggie, they should be washed before consumption.

After that, you can enjoy these greens in various ways! Here are some examples to include more microgreens in your diet:

  • Add them to a salad mix
  • Use them as garnish
  • Blend them in a smoothie
  • Add them to pizzas, pastas, soups, and more!
  • Mix them into an omelet. 

 

Do You Eat Microgreens Raw or Cooked?

You can eat microgreens raw or cooked. Yet, it’s important to note that cooking microgreens may lead to some nutrient loss. Thus, raw might be a bit better! You can even enjoy raw microgreens on their own as a healthy, quick, and nutritious snack.

 

 

Become Mighty With Microgreens!

Microgreens add a pop of color to any dish (as well as tons of flavor, depending on the type you choose!).

While you can find them in many grocery stores, it’s best to opt for more fresh varieties, such as those from your local’s farmer’s market or ones grown in the comfort of your own home.

The fresher, the better! In fact, the more fresh your microgreens are, the more nutrients they contain. So, find that stand at your local farmer’s market. Or begin growing them yourself (it’s super easy, and there are tons of kits online!). Bon Appetit!

Read Next: Thinking About Going Organic? 10 Ways to Do it Without Going Broke

Photo by Alfo Medeiros

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