Microgreens - Tiny and Tasty And Mighty
Many of us have seen microgreens as garnishing on food dishes and being used by chefs in restaurants to add flavor and color depth to their culinary masterpiece. But, microgreens are much more than mere pretty decoration on our plates or gardens. In fact, they are loaded with nutrients and flavors, which can make an important addition to our regular diet. So, what are microgreens, and how are they different from sprouts? Let's discuss some of the benefits of microgreens and how are they important for a healthy lifestyle.
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are young vegetables just like sprouts; however, they should not be confused with sprouts as sprouts do not have leaves, but microgreens do have. Furthermore, sprouts have a shorter growing cycle of 2-7 days, while microgreens are usually harvested 1-3 weeks after germination when plant's true leaves emerge. Microgreens fall somewhere between sprouts and baby greens. They are very much similar to baby greens, and only their leaves and stems are considered eatable. However, microgreens are much smaller in size compared to baby greens. Microgreen plants can be sold even before they are harvested so that plants can be harvested at home just before consumption to keep their flavor and freshness intact.
There are a wide variety of microgreens grown from their seeds; the most popular of them are amaranth, basil, kale, broccoli, mustard, tatsoi, orach, borage, beet, parsley, pea, red pak choi, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, and rocket. Cereals such as rice, oats, wheat, corn, barley, and legumes are also grown into microgreens. Microgreens usually have a strong and concentrated flavor and a taste varying from neutral to spicy to even bitter.
Health Benefits Of Microgreens
1. Nutritional Bomb!
According to WHO, 28% of the world population has a deficiency of micronutrients. That’s a very big number! In some studies, scientists have found that microgreens contain 40-50% more nutritional value than full-grown plants. Microgreens are loaded with multi-minerals, such as potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper, all of which are essential for a healthy life. Besides, you can eat them raw, which means they retain all their vitamins and minerals content. In addition to their nutritional value, microgreens can also add texture, flavor, and color to your salads and sandwiches.
2. Powerhouse of antioxidants
Microgreens are also rich in powerful antioxidants that eliminate unstable waste molecules, also known as free radicals. Over accumulation of free radicals in our body can cause cell damage, which can lead to skin aging and many diseases. Antioxidants from plant-based foods help in removing these free radicals from the body and increase longevity. Several studies have shown that microgreens contain about nine times more concentrated polyphenols antioxidants compared to the mature plants. These antioxidants are known to protect the brain from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and certain cancers.
3. Protect the heart
A diet rich in microgreens is associated with a lower risk of heart diseases, according to some studies. Microgreens are known to reduce triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels, which helps protect the heart from hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
4. Lower risk of diabetes
Due to the high concentration of antioxidants, microgreens are very useful in preventing diabetes. They are also known for lowering stress, which can prevent cells from absorbing sugars from the blood.