I’d been sharing my thoughts about microgreens nutrition with my neighbor Doug, and yesterday we were on our daily walk when he asked me, “how much microgreens to eat per day?” That’s an excellent question, I thought.
You should eat enough microgreens nutrients to help you meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) necessary to meet your nutritional requirements.
Tasty foods can make you overeat. So, you should be aware that some vitamins and minerals have a maximum daily dose to prevent bad effects like nausea and diarrhea.
However, you would have to eat 20-plus pounds of microgreens a day for a week to reach levels that could cause you any potential life-threatening harm.
On the other hand, if you were lacking in some minerals or vitamins, you could choose to eat more microgreens to help close the gap. But, always consult your medical professional before taking any herbs or supplements.
This post will give you the microgreens nutritional information you need.
Let Thy Microgreens Be Thy Medicine
Plants have been the source of healing for thousands of years. Herbal medicine, the study and use of medicinal plants, is still widely practiced even in countries like the US and the UK.
Hippocrates, the 4th century B.C. Greek father of medicine, once said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” When it comes to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, there is a lot of evidence that food has healing properties that can restore or maintain good health.
Microgreens are usually classified with seaweed, nutrition yeast, juicing grasses like wheatgrass, and herbs as “medicinal foods.”
They have been cited as providing specific measurable benefits just like those of synthetic drugs.
And if you think about it, you use herbs like ginger, curry (curcumin), garlic, and basil all the time when you’re cooking. And we know from research that like fresh herbs, microgreens contain large amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as polyphenols.
Polyphenols are micronutrients exclusive to plants that have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities.
In a 2009 study in the Journal of Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, the authors cited that “long-term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offer protection against the development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases.”
Figure 1. The Living Food Pyramid
The authors went on to show that polyphenols in herbs and other plant-based foods can also reduce chronic inflammation and its associated risk for chronic disease.
And while there is still a lot of research on microgreens to be done, eating more can still give you the health benefits. So, add more fresh microgreens to your diet!
How Much More?
You would have to eat 20-plus pounds of microgreens a day for a week to reach levels that could cause you any potential life-threatening harm.
According to the latest National Poison Data System Annual Report, vitamin overdose represented less than one quarter of 1% of all substance categories most frequently identified calls.
Dietary supplements (including minerals) were even less than that; one-tenth of 1%.
Micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals, are one of the major groups of nutrients your body needs.
Vitamins help key body processes like energy production, immune function, and blood clotting. Meanwhile, minerals are important for processes like growth, bone health, and fluid balance.
Macronutrients, on the other hand, include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
You must obtain micronutrients from food since your body cannot produce vitamins and minerals — for the most part. That’s why they’re also referred to as essential nutrients.
Microgreens nutrition facts
Some of the microgreens that include these essential nutrients include:
- arugula microgreens nutrition,
- broccoli microgreens nutrition,
- kale microgreens nutrition
- nasturtium microgreens nutrition
- pea microgreens nutrition, and
- radish microgreens nutrition,
- sunflower microgreens nutrition,
Vitamins are organic compounds made by plants and animals which can be broken down by heat, acid or air. On the other hand, minerals are inorganic, exist in soil or water and cannot be broken down.
When you eat, you consume the vitamins that plants and animals created or the minerals they absorbed.
The micronutrient content of each food is different, so it’s best to eat a variety of foods to get enough vitamins and minerals.
An adequate intake of all micronutrients is necessary for optimal health, as each vitamin and mineral have a specific role in your body.
Vitamins and minerals are divided into four groups:
- water-soluble vitamins,
- fat-soluble vitamins,
- macro minerals and
- trace minerals.
No matter what type, they are absorbed the same way in your body and work together in the body.
Vitamins are grouped based either as water-soluble or fat-soluble. Most vitamins are water-soluble. When you eat more than your body can use, they get flushed out in your pee. Fat-soluble vitamins on the other hand are like oils and don’t dissolve in water.
Fat-soluble Vitamins Won’t Make You Fat
There are four fat-soluble vitamins in the human diet.
Vitamin A helps maintain your vision. So much so that without it plays you would go blind. The main sources of Vitamin A are retinoids and carotenoid antioxidants known as provitamin A.
The most efficient of these is beta-carotene, which is abundant in many microgreens, such as kale and spinach.
RDA for Vitamin A
|Upper Limit||Adult Men||Adult Women||Children|
|10,000 IU (900 mcg)||3,000 IU (900 mcg)||2,333 (700 mcg)||1,000 IU (300 mcg) to 2,000 IU (600 mcg)|
Overdosing on vitamin A leads to an adverse condition known as hypervitaminosis A. A high intake of provitamin A does not cause hypervitaminosis, a very rare but a serious issue.
Vitamin D maintains the balance of calcium and phosphorus levels in your blood to maintain bone health.
The main source of vitamin D is Vitamin D2, found in mushrooms and plants.
Amaranth and sunflower microgreens are packed with Vitamin D.
RDA for Vitamin D
|Upper Limit||Adults and Children||Elderly Adults|
|4,000 IU (100 mcg)||600 IU (15 mcg)||800 IU (20 mcg)|
The key signs of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, weak muscles, soft bones, an increased risk of fractures and susceptibility to infections.
Vitamin D overdoes, hypervitaminosis D, is extremely rare. It occurs if you take large amounts over time since extra vitamin D can build up in the body.
Vitamin E is a group of related antioxidant compounds (tocopherol and tocotrienol) which act in the body to protect cells against free radicals and oxidative damage.
Spinach, cilantro, green daikon radish, and sunflower microgreens are packed with Vitamin E.
RDA for Vitamin E
|Upper Limit||Adults and Children over 14||Breastfeeding Women|
|1500 IU (1,000 mg)||22 IU (15 mg/s) of alpha-tocopherol||28 IU (19 mg)|
Vitamin E deficiency is rare in humans. Like all fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin E can accumulate to toxic levels over time, so it’s possible to overdose on this vitamin.
Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting. Without it, you would run the risk of bleeding to death. The main dietary forms are vitamin K1, found in plant foods.
Spinach, kale and broccoli microgreens are packed with Vitamin K.
However, consult your physician as Vitamin K can affect the liver, and should never be taken as a supplement if a patient is on blood thinners,
RDA for Vitamin K
|Upper Limit||Adult Men||Adult Women||Children|
|UNKNOWN||120 mcg||90 mcg||30-75 mcg|
Water-soluble Vitamins Don’t Stay
There are 8 water-soluble B vitamins as well as vitamin C.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin C
Except for Niacin (Vitamin B3) there are no known side effects or toxicity at high doses. The common side effect of too much Vitamin B3 are diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.
|Adult Men||Adult Women||Breastfeeding Women|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamine)||1.2 mg||1.1 mg||1.7 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||1.3 mg||1.1 mg||2.0 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||16.0 mg||14.0 mg||20.0 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||5.0 mg||5.0 mg||10.0 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||1.3 mg||1.3 mg||2.0 mg|
|Vitamin B7 (biotin)||30 mcg||30 mcg||300 mcg|
|Vitamin B9 (folic acid, folate)||400 mcg||400 mcg||800 mcg|
|Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)||2.4 mcg||2.4 mcg||8.0 mcg|
|Vitamin C||90 mg||75 mg||120 mg|
Table: Microgreens nutrition chart
Taking too much vitamin C will not kill you. Around 2,000mg of vitamin C is considered the limit before you start getting headaches. However, anything over 1,000mg can cause diarrhea.
These vitamins enhance the enzymes that help us digest and absorb nutrients in our bodies. Your body doesn’t store water-soluble vitamins, except for vitamin B12. So, eating a balanced diet with lots of microgreens daily should get you what you need.
When to Be Cautious
However, there is a reason why you only see rhubarb stalks in at your grocery. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid which is used in bleach and antirust products! Eat too much and you might start to vomit and feel weak.
But don’t worry. The research I found says if you’re about 145 pounds (65.7 kg), it would take about 25 grams (0.06 lbs.) of pure oxalic acid to kill you. You’d need to eat about 11 pounds (5 kg) of rhubarb leaves, and 7 pounds (3.2 kg) of spinach at one sitting to get that 24 grams of oxalic acid.
But the main debate about oxalic acid in food is whether it can give you kidney stones.
But just about every leafy green vegetable contains oxalic acid. Spinach has the highest levels of oxalic acid–750 milligrams per 100-gram serving. So, do you need to worry? Nope, not at all.
While they are packed with nutrients essential to our health, spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard microgreens are also high in oxalic acid which is the source of their slightly bitter taste. In moderation, they are fine though.
Microgreens and Bad Body Odor
You have two types of sweat glands: the eccrine and apocrine glands.
The eccrine gland is make odorless sweat (mainly sodium chloride) to lower body temperature.
The apocrine glands sit in your armpits, groin and scalp and produce fatty sweat that mixes with bacteria, which causes an unpleasant odor.
In addition, the food you eat, as it is broken down by your body, can react with the skin bacteria and further change your body odor.
I couldn’t find a lot of research pointing to microgreens and body odor, but there’s enough information out there to give you an idea of what kinds of foods could change your body odor.
Garlic Chives Microgreens
You’re certainly not going to eat garlic anything before a date or interview. But did you know this? Rub crushed garlic on your feet, then wait 30 minutes. You will taste the garlic in your mouth. Wondering why?
Your feet are filled with tiny blood vessels that absorb allicin, the main compound in garlic, that turns into Sulphur compound that finds their way into your lungs and gives you that stinking smell.
Onions also break down into sulfur compounds.
But onion microgreens never make you cry – even if you chop them!
Cabbage, bok choy or Chinese cabbage, and broccoli for example also contain ample amounts of sulfur in the form of sulforaphane.
But you’d have to eat a ton (well maybe several pounds) to change body odor (through your breath, sweat, or farting).
Curry, cumin, and other microgreen spices
From what I’ve read, it seems that people who eat lots of curries have body odors that smell like these spice aromas.
So, if you plan on eating potentially smelly microgreens, you may want to take note that you could smell.
I’ve seen where drinking milk before or after removes the smell. But chlorophyll, the thing that makes plants bright green, is a natural body deodorant.
Funny isn’t it.
Eat chlorophyll-rich microgreens such as spinach and watercress to counter the smell of broccoli and garlic chives odors.
Which Ones Should I Eat?
Here are five varieties of microgreens that you can eat daily at every meal and not have to worry about eating too much or eating too little.
Microgreens nutrition data
Broccoli microgreens contain more than 550% of the RDA of antioxidant nutrients you need. It has the most complete nutrient profile of any vegetable.
It is packed with Vitamin A, B, C and K, and a sizeable amount of iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Kale microgreens is one of the latest food trends.
It has a lower antioxidant capacity that broccoli, but has more vitamin B, just as much vitamin C, but less vitamin A than broccoli.
Pea shoot microgreens are an antioxidant like broccoli. Though not as high in nutritional quality as kale or microgreens, eaten together with those two it delivers a lot of vitamin B’s: B3(niacin), B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B-6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folate).
They also have double the concentration of iron, phosphorus and magnesium compared to broccoli.
Radish microgreens are the forgotten part of the radish.
Most people eat the root or bulb. It is in the same family as broccoli and kale, Brassicaceae (or mustard), and contains a different set of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
And last, but not least, amaranth microgreens, that includes quinoa, is very well balanced in nutrients that include little of Vitamin A, B, and C, and a major source of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Of all the other microgreens, amaranth has the highest antioxidant capacity.
Eat To Meet Your RDA
Rotating microgreens and other foods regularly help to limit over-consumption of any single anti-nutrient and provides health-promoting variety in your diet. In addition, by adding microgreens to your meals will also help to close any gaps in your vitamin or mineral intake.