Microgreens are not just confetti for your salad or avocado toast, they’re actually packed with vitamins and minerals that can keep your immune system healthy. And while the coronavirus pandemic rages on, there’s no better time to start adding them to your diet.
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are tiny vegetables or herbs that are harvested as soon as they have sprouted their first set of leaves, about one to two weeks after germination. Think of them as baby plants, often used by restaurants to garnish meals. But, don’t be fooled, they’re not just for decoration…these small plants pack a powerful nutritional and flavor punch!
There are many different plants that can be grown into microgreens, such as arugula, which offers a milder sweet peppery taste, while radish delivers a zesty spice and wasabi with its mustard tang, provides a stronger flavored microgreen.
No matter what your taste preference, there’s a microgreen out there for you!
The Health Benefits of Microgreens
Microgreens are an excellent source of nutrients, such as vitamin A, C, K, potassium, folate and compounds called polyphenols which have antioxidant properties known to protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
Most vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties and the potential to boost your immune system, and microgreens are loaded with these nutrients in easy-to-eat form. These little plants are more nutrient-dense compared to their larger full-grown versions. In fact, microgreens often contain up to 40 times more nutrients by weight compared to full-grown vegetables, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The theory is that microgreens are harvested when they are very concentrated with nutrients, while still maintaining their flavor and texture.
Let’s break some of them down…
Arugula is a leafy vegetable and popular microgreen which is packed with calcium that helps keep bones strong, plus vitamin K which is good for wound healing. Radish microgreens offer immune-boosting vitamin C and a good amount of protein. Broccoli and wasabi microgreens contain iron, potassium, and zinc which help regulate hormones. Eating a wide variety of different microgreens helps to ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need.
Side Note: For people with kidney-related diseases, some microgreens may not be advisable as they contain higher levels of potassium and vitamin C. Always consult with your doctor or registered dietitian for advice.
Where to Source Microgreens?
Microgreens are grown year-round and found in many grocery stores or farm-to-table businesses. You can also grow them yourself, even if you don’t have a garden.
However, many farmers or businesses offer the convenience of delivery of microgreens grown locally. In the Cayman Islands, local grower Orcim Micro has a passion for growing microgreens, using non-GMO seeds that are grown in pure rainwater and organic coconut fiber pads. They even deliver in recyclable trays so you can harvest them only when you’re ready to eat and recycle too, talk about fresh, nutritious and eco-friendly! You can order directly from them here if you live in Cayman Islands.
If not, research your own community to find your local microgreen supplier.
How to Eat Microgreens
Microgreens are extremely versatile, and can be used in soups, salads, sandwiches, smoothies and much more! If you want creative ideas to include microgreens in your meals, download this free recipe guide.