My wife and son love to watch the Food Network together. They’re always looking for new foods and new ways to cook. One Saturday afternoon, they called me to watch an episode about cooking with microgreens. There were many recipes using microgreens—soups, bruschetta, burgers, and salads. The host had a special guest, a doctor who talked about the high nutrition content of microgreens and the potential to help prevent chronic diseases. But at the show’s end, I was still asking, “Why eat microgreens?”
Chronic diseases are a major health problem in the United States, and research shows that eating more fruit and vegetables, including microgreens, not only reduces the risks but may even help to reverse them. Scientists consider microgreens to be live food. They contain a wide range of vital life force nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and oxygen) and live enzymes.
Microgreens contain greater amounts of nutrients and health-promoting micronutrients than their mature counterparts, up to 40 times more, according to one recent study.
Eating microgreens brings a diversity of other benefits — including increased mental alertness and focus, quicker healing and recovery, improved eyesight and peripheral vision, brighter moods, and clearer, more radiant skin.
And yes, there’s another important and frequently noted upside to eating live foods like microgreens: enhanced sex drive and performance.
This post will answer that question, “why eat microgreens.” if you want an immediate energy boost, slow the aging process, and boost your lifestyle, read on.
Healthy Living is Priceless
Imagine a leaner you, with a stronger physique, higher energy levels, and better athletic endurance.
Peter Diamond, founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, and one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders said “Nothing matters more than your health. Healthy living is priceless. What millionaire wouldn’t pay dearly for an extra 10 or 20 years of healthy aging?”
And not just millionaires. How many stories have you read of children having to care for their ailing parents? You and I both want to live a long and healthy life. The science is out there on how to do it.
Take Doug Penick, owner of Equilibrium Microgreens LLC in Galesburg, IL. In July 2017, doctors diagnosed Doug with Type II Diabetes with an A1C of 10.6.
Figure 1. Diabetes Scale
By March 2019, Doug had reversed his diabetes. His A1C score was 4.9, lower than many people never diagnosed as diabetic.
Doug credits eating a healthy diet, microgreens at every meal, and exercising.
No matter if you have big health issues like Doug, or you just don’t have the energy to enjoy life as you would like, or your bum knee prevents you from playing a set of tennis, microgreens are live food that can help you.
Microgreens are Live Food
It seems like every year there is some new diet being promoted as the better path to maintaining my health.
How many times have you attempted to include a large percentage of healthy foods in your diet, expecting to notice rapid and dramatic results, only to quit after two or three days?
There is so much information and misinformation out there it is hard to know what’s the best course. One year scientists tell us coffee is good for us, the next year it’s not.
It’s not your fault. It’s difficult to lose weight, build a business or career, and cure your insomnia all at the same time.
But that’s why you’re here. And the best news? Stick with what Grandma told you… “eat your veggies.”
All the best science points to green, leafy vegetables (and their microgreens) such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, arugula, and Swiss chard, as great sources of living phytochemical, the chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants.
Now think green, and the enzymes, nutrients, and pure, clean water in living foods like microgreens. They are all essential to our health, our immune system. You will find most experts agreeing that supplements and powder can’t replace antioxidant-packed microgreens.
So, don’t blame yourself. In fact, heed another of Grandma’s rules of thumb: eat “the colors of the rainbow” as you fill your plate with microgreens.
Microgreens Pack A Nutritional Punch
You’re probably thinking, how am I going to get these microgreens in my diet? I’m too busy. I just can’t afford another fad diet. Where do I start?
The easiest and healthiest way to enjoy these microgreens is as a first course, especially on an empty stomach for faster digestion.
- As with any other vegetable, always rinse thoroughly with plain old tap water.
- Mix in a leafy green salad with other fresh veggies like red and yellow pepper, carrots and avocado.
Though they are small, microgreens have gentle textures and unique flavors. “They are little, and kids like things that are kid’s size”, says Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS, nationally recognized nutrition expert, and author of 365 Days of Healthy Eating. “They can put it on their own salad or some cheese or hummus to make it look pretty.“ Or mix them into a breakfast smoothie or oatmeal.
Figure 2. The Living Food Pyramid
When you pick up microgreens, look for the most colorful ones, which will be the most nutritious. But don’t overdo it. Microgreens are highly concentrated with nutrients.
A study of 25 different microgreens by researchers at the University of Maryland and the USDA found that vitamins C, E and K levels were highest among amaranth, red cabbage, and radish microgreens. They also found rich deposits of lutein and beta-carotene in cilantro microgreens.
Put your mind at rest.
Eating a handful of microgreens delivers concentrated nutrients important for your skin, eyes, fighting cancer and many more benefits.
Fighting Chronic Diseases
But you may still be thinking, “Is it safe to eat microgreens?” Yes. The chances are slim that you will get sick from eating microgreens. Like baby spinach, they come packaged and pre-washed. But always, always wash your raw foods an vegetables.
So why eat microgreens, again?
Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly 10% of Americans have a nutritional deficiency, including vitamins B6, B12, C and D, iodine, iron, calcium and magnesium, and the list goes on?
And did you also know that chronic diseases are a major health problem in the United States? All the ones you see on TV: arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes, and hepatitis C to name the big ones.
All the scientific data we have gathered continue to show that eating vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of many of these chronic diseases. Are you eating your 1-3 cups of vegetables per day as recommended by health professionals? If you’re like me, probably not.
Microgreens are filled with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carotenoids (provitamin compounds), phylloquinone (vitamin K1), and tocopherols (vitamin E), which provide protective benefits against cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Microgreens, sometimes, are 4-6 times more nutrient concentrated than in the leaves of a mature plant.
Some Major Benefits to Eating Microgreens
So, when you need that energy burst or fighting that cold, don’t forget the mighty microgreens.
Reducing Heart Disease
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that is needed by the body for blood clotting and other important processes.
Improving vitamin K status may boost cardiovascular health by reducing arterial stiffness and improving blood pressure, says a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
You will find vitamin K in broccoli, arugula, and spinach microgreens.
Sulforaphane derives from the glucosinolate found in broccoli microgreens and has been widely researched and proven for its chemoprevention properties.
Over 40? No? Just wait, you’ll likely be squinting at your phone soon. Unless you’re planning on eating a lot leafier greens, including microgreens. Lutien (pronounced LOO-teen) is an important eye nutrient that may reduce your risk for macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Several studies have found that lutein can help prevent AMD or may slow progression of the disease.
Lutien is found in many green leafy plants, including spinach and Swiss chard microgreens .
Healthy foods that possess properties to encourage the natural growth of beneficial gut bacteria are called Prebiotics.
Cruciferous microgreens (broccoli and cabbage) are prebiotics proven to improve the body’s natural resistance to invading pathogens.
Researchers found that eating red cabbage microgreens can lower LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels.
Their data further suggested that microgreens can help to control weight and may protect against cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in America.
You would think everyone would run out to buy microgreens of all sorts. Here’s why not.
The Food Industrial Complex Is Failing You
Check the cupboard in your kitchen.
How many containers of vitamins and other supplements, that scientists and doctors tell you will make you healthier, sit in there?
Now head to your local grocery store. Check the herbs section. Walk over to the supplements section near the pharmacy. Notice anything? Look again.
Yes, you got it. There are 1000 times more vitamins and supplements than herbs. And 100 times more than vegetables.
And yes, the problem is the big pharma and big vita. If eating a handful of broccoli microgreens gives you up to 40 times nutrients than a head of broccoli, why’s there not more microgreens in the store?
And is there really any benefit to taking multivitamins? Did you know that one half of adult Americans and 70% of those over 65, take vitamins and mineral supplements nearly every day, to the tune of $12B a year!
Think big pharma and big vita will give that up? According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, you may be better off buying those nutrient-packed microgreens.
Need more proof?
The National Institutes of Health results of large-scale randomized trials show that, for the majority of the population, there is no overall benefit to taking multivitamins or mineral supplements!
Eating Your Microgreens Every day
Ready to eat your microgreens?
They are harvested right after germination and are packed with concentrated nutrients.
Until recently, commercially grown microgreens have only been available to chefs, who use them as flavor accents and garnishes for soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Today, they are available at farmer’s markets and upscale grocery stores. They cost more than mature greens but have over 10 times the goodness.
|Commercial Name||Family||Plant Color|
|Green daikon Radish||Brassicaceae||purplish green|
|Purple kohlrabi||Brassicaceae||purplish green|
|Purple mustard||Brassicaceae||purplish green|
|Opal radish||Brassicaceae||greenish purple|
|Red cabbage||Brassicaceae||purplish green|
|Red mustard||Brassicaceae||purplish green|
|Red beet||Chenopodiaceae||reddish green|
|Red orach (arrach)||Chenopodiaceae||red|
|Opal basil||Lamiaceae||greenish purple|
|Red sorrel||Polygonaceae||reddish green|
Table 1. Popular Commercially Sold Microgreens
And once you smell those strong flavors, absorb those bright colors, and bite into the tender textures of microgreens, you will be adding them as a garnish to your main meals and enhancing your salads, soups, omelets, and sandwiches.
Can microgreens replace my supplements regimen?
Scientists consider microgreens to be live food. They contain greater amounts of nutrients and health-promoting micronutrients than their mature counterparts, up to 40 times more. If you want to learn more about the potency of microgreens, visit my post, Forty Times More: Microgreens, The Superfood of Superfoods.
Do microgreens taste like their adult plants?
Each microgreens vegetable has its own unique taste. And each variety tastes like a clearer flavored (and often more potent) version of the adult plant. Sometimes, they can alter the flavor profile of your meal. If you want to learn more about the tastes of microgreens, visit my post, What Do Microgreens Taste Like.
How do I incorporate the health benefits of microgreens into my nutrition?
I’ve learned a lot about microgreens, how good they are for you, and what you can do with them. Check out my guide, “The Beginner’s Nutritional Guide to Incredible Microgreens.”
I’m the co-founder of JPureFarms. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and enjoy urban farming, growing and writing about microgreens and their incredible health potential. I love my greens!