The Health Benefits of Microgreens
Adding enough nutrients to your diet can be a tough job these days, with many vegetables you can buy at the supermarket sprayed to high heaven with pesticides and covered in shed microplastics. That’s not to say vegetables aren’t healthy; they are! But eating the right amount in the given number of meals can be difficult, especially if you’re a parent trying to convince your child to eat their greens.
Enter, microgreens. NZ-grown and locally sourced, these delicious and nutritious little leaves are jam-packed with macro and micronutrients. According to a research review by Turner et al. (2020), “the levels of these bioactive components being significantly higher in microgreens compared to data base values for mature vegetable counterparts”.
In other words, microgreens typically carry a greater concentration of the specific vegetable’s nutrients than the full-grown form of the same vegetable. Varieties like brassica and red cabbage are particularly abundant with nutrients.
So, the question is, what are the actual health benefits of bringing these tiny green heroes into your regular diet? Let’s dive in.
Living v Harvested?
First of all, we have to discuss something that makes a huge difference to your microgreens’ nutrient content: whether they’re living or already harvested.
When microgreens are sold pre-harvested, a process called “leakage of nutrient rich exudates” (Berba & Uchanski, 2012) occurs. In English, once your microgreens have been cut, the nutritional value unfortunately begins to fade. By the time you purchase them, these greens will already have fewer nutritional benefits than living microgreens.
Luckily, growers like Waikato Microgreens are selling living microgreens, allowing you to purchase these little beauties as they continue to grow. By storing them in the fridge, you hamper their growth just enough to keep them usable for about two weeks. Then, all you need to do is cut and wash the greens as you choose to use them. The nutritional benefits remain intact, the greens are crisp, and they taste absolutely incredible.
The green breakdown: health benefits of microgreens
There are so many potential ways for microgreens to enhance your health journey, whether you’re aiming for overall health or targeting a specific problem you’ve observed. I struggle with thyroid problems, and I’ve noticed that adding microgreens recipes into my diet reduced the fatigue that comes with my condition!
Before we jump into these benefits, it’s important to note that while these are backed by scientific studies, the field of microgreens continues to grow and requires further study. That said, these nutrient-dense leaves have been accepted as a healthy addition to all diets as long as they are grown properly and harvested with care.
1. Boost your immune system
Green vegetables in general – such as broccoli or kale – are inherently packed with nutrients that contribute to a well-functioning immune system. Standard vegetables contribute to gut-based immune cells and skin-based IELs (intra-epithelial lymphocytes), helping them to function well and eliminate diseases as they are encountered.
When it comes to microgreens, those nutrients are increased forty-fold. They’re also chock full of antioxidants, which reduce the creation of unstable waste molecules know as ‘free radicals’ that can damage your body’s cells.
2. Reduces chronic disease risk
According to a study conducted in 2018, consumption of microgreens has been linked to the regulation of cell pathway processes (Chloe, Yu & Wang). As well as promoting overall health in the general population, this can also reduce the risk of diseases like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers.
To be clear, microgreens are not the be-all and end-all cure for chronic diseases. However, like their larger counterparts, they do contribute to a healthy foundation that can fight off these conditions. Microgreens are simply a smaller, tastier, and easier way to do it thanks to their nutrient density.
3. Helps with weight loss
If you’ve ever tried to go on a diet or lose weight, then you know how tough it can be to get those daily vegetables and macronutrients up to par. It’s practically a full-time job! With microgreens, you can get your five-a-day nutrients in significantly smaller portion sizes, helping you to balance your diet while keeping your meals appropriately sized for your needs.
4. Improves gut health
Ever heard of prebiotics and probiotics? These are components of your gut health system, promoting a healthy digestion cycle that extracts the right nutrients in the right concentrations from any food you eat. If your gut lacks probiotics, prebiotics can help to stimulate their growth, thus leading to a healthy gut microbiome.
The prebiotic fibres in microgreens have been associate with increased probiotic growth in the gut, stimulating your digestions and helping with issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Not to mention, they’re just really tasty. So, are you ready to bring microgreens into your life?
No need to ask yourself ‘where to buy microgreens’ because we’re right here! Here at Waikato Microgreens, we deliver our samplers to the wider Waikato region, offering you the chance to have living greens in your fridge to us in your meals every single week. Subscribe to a Korare Sampler today!