I began growing micro-greens this year. They are 10 times a nutritious as sprouts and very easy to grow. See Using Microgreens in Your Diet.
December 14, 2016
American Chemical Society
Microgreens are sprouting up everywhere from upscale restaurants to home gardens. They help spruce up old recipes with intense flavors and colors, and are packed with nutrients. Now testing has shown that for mice on a high-fat diet, red cabbage microgreens helped lower their risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and reduce their weight gain.
Microgreens are sprouting up everywhere from upscale restaurants to home gardens. They help spruce up old recipes with intense flavors and colors, and are packed with nutrients. Now testing has shown that for mice on a high-fat diet, red cabbage microgreens helped lower their risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and reduce their weight gain. The report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Microgreens are tender, immature plants and herbs that take only a week or two to grow before they’re ready for harvesting. A growing body of research suggests that microgreens could offer more health benefits than their mature counterparts. And since previous studies have shown that full-grown red cabbage can help guard against excessive cholesterol, Thomas T.Y. Wang and colleagues wanted to see if red cabbage microgreens might have a similar or even greater effect than their larger counterparts.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers used mice that were a model for obesity. These animals also tend to develop high cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The team divided 60 of these mice into different diet groups. They received food low in fat or high in fat, and with or without either red cabbage microgreens or mature red cabbage. Both the microgreens and mature cabbage diets reduced weight gain and levels of liver cholesterol in the mice on high-fat diets. But the study also showed that microgreens contained more potentially cholesterol-lowering polyphenols and glucosinolates than mature cabbage. The baby plants also helped lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and liver triglyceride levels in the animals.
Materials provided by American Chemical Society
I posted this week about the nutritional benefits of microgreens. They contain 4 to 10 times the nutrition as sprouts or their full grown versions.
Many people suggest that you use them in salads or to cook with. I think the best way of using them are in smoothies. You can eat more of them and you are not exposing them to heat. They are easy to grow yourself in the kitchen window or for families, under grow lights.
I will begin selling trays of these microgreens soon by making them available for delivery on the Meal Delivery Service. Look for the addition to the weekly menu in your email.
By Jessica DeCostole, RDN
First came the popular trend of baby spinach and kale, and now the world is turning its attention to even younger seeds called microgreens—the first shoots of leafy plants that are less than 14 days old. You may have spotted them at your local farmers market or caught a celebrity chef garnishing a meal with them on the Food Network.
These tiny plants are packed with BIG nutrition. In fact, a recent study published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that microgreens from 25 nutritious vegetables (such as cilantro, celery, red cabbage, green basil and arugula) contained higher concentrations of disease-fighting Vitamins E and K and carotenoids than fully mature varieties.
So how do these infant greens develop become so nutrient-dense in such a short period of time? Microgreens are planted in soil and absorb its minerals as they grow which increases their nutritional content (unlike sprouts, for example, which are grown only using water). Here are three easy ways to start working these tiny but mighty greens into your diet. They’ll not only add flavor to your meals, but tons of vitamins too!
Play with garnishes
These greens look beautiful atop a caprese salad of mozzarella and tomatoes, or served with a piece of chicken or fish. It just adds a touch of color as well as a very strong and concentrated taste of the original vegetable. And as the fall approaches, don’t forget to add microgreens to complete a creamy soup like butternut squash.
Make a windowsill garden
While microgreens are starting to be sold in large supermarkets, you may still need to head to your local farmers market to get them—or you can grow your own! Check out this six step how-to guide. Since microgreens are cut as soon as the seeds sprout, you will see the fruits or ‘greens’ of your labor quickly and be able to enjoy what you grow.
Switch up your lunch
While it would be hard to make a whole salad base with microgreens, you can easily mix some in with your baby spinach or romaine lettuce base to add unexpected flavors to your lunch. The tiny leaves and stems also make a great extra topping on all types of sandwiches and add a nice crunch.
USDA researchers recently published a study assessing the nutrition content of 25 commercially available microgreens, seedlings of vegetables and herbs that have gained popularity in upscale markets and restaurants. Just a few inches tall, they boast intense flavors and vivid colors, but what about their nutritional content? No one knew until this new study came out.
We’ve known that baby spinach, for example, have higher levels of phytonutrients than mature spinach leaves, but what about really baby spinach, just a week or two old?
Microgreens won hands down (leaves down?), possessing significantly higher nutrient densities than mature leaves. For example, red cabbage microgreens have a 6-fold higher vitamin C concentration than mature red cabbage, and 69 times the vitamin K.
Microgreens are definitively more nutrient dense, but are often eaten in small quantities. Even the healthiest garnish isn’t going to make much of a difference to one’s health. And microgreens may go for $30 a pound! But BYOM—birth your own! You can have rotating trays of salad you can snip off with scissors. It’s like gardening for the impatient—fully grown in just 7 to 14 days! If that’s too long, what about sprouting? See my video Antioxidants Sprouting Up.
Homemade sprouts are probably the most nutrition-per-unit-cost we can get for our money. See Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck, where they beat out the previous champ, purple cabbage (Superfood Bargains). Broccoli sprouts are probably the best.