There is an awful lot packed into microgreens, those young vegetable greens that are just one to three inches high. Just for the record, microgreens are not sprouts, which only grow basic leaves, and they’re smaller than baby greens. These young greens fall somewhere in the middle, but they are nonetheless packed with a powerful array of health benefits. They are also loaded with intense flavors and boast vivid colors and crisp textures, making them a great edible garnish or the foundation for a tasty salad. Grown from seeds, they come from a variety of plants including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish, arugula, lettuce, endive, chicory, dill, carrot, fennel, celery, garlic, onion, Swiss chard, beet and spinach, among many others. Microgreens have another benefit. They enjoy an extended shelf life because they are often sold in small trays and can be kept alive by watering until consumed. Here are five health reasons to munch down on greens.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, microgreens have more than when they mature into full plants. The precise amount of nutrients varies slightly for each plant. But most are loaded with minerals like potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. When compared to mature plants, lettuce microgreens, for example, has as much as nine times more calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, selenium and molybdenum.
Certain microgreens like peas, wasabi, watercress and basil are full of polyphenols, which are antioxidants. They not only work as anti-inflammatories, but they can also help to battle serious conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Since with they are chocked with fiber and vitamin K, microgreens are great for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. They also help to support strong red blood cell counts, which are good for circulation. Some microgreens can even help to lower cholesterol levels and inflammatory cytokines, which when left unchecked can raise the risk of heart disease.
The high fiber content of microgreens helps ease problems with constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. They also serve as a prebiotic, which promotes good bacteria in the human microbiome.
Microgreens provide photoprotective carotenoids that the human body can’t produce on its own. They are essential for helping the eyes deal with excessive light. In particular, microgreens contain β-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein, which can all help individuals avoid headaches and migraines that can be caused by excessive light.
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