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Health benefits of microgreens and how to grow your own at home
The health and lifestyle benefits of growing and consuming your own microgreens
Microgreens have taken the world by storm! Instagram models, celebrity chefs, health advocates and bloggers seem to have taken an affinity to microgreens lately. Is it merely just a trend, or is there more to microgreens than we realise? Once you learn about the exceptional health benefits of microgreens and how they can truly enrich your life, you'll soon be wanting to grow your own microgreens at home - we'll show you how!
What are microgreens
Microgreens are young greens that are approximately 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 cm) tall. To put it simply, microgreens are the growth phase that comes after the sprout and before the baby greens. They are comparable to sprouts, but unlike sprouts, need soil and sunlight to grow! Another difference between sprouts and microgreens is that sprouts do not have any leaves, while small, primary leaves are evident on the microgreens. The similarity between sprouts and microgreens is that they both offer powerful nutritional value! Sprouts and microgreens have the highest concentration of nutrients per calorie of any food! While they are small in size, they actually offer more nutritional value than mature greens, and often offer a lot more flavour!
Health benefits of microgreens
Despite their small size, microgreens pack a nutritional punch! They're densely concentrated with powerful nutrients, often offering higher levels of nutrition than mature greens or vegetables! In fact, research shows that nutrient levels in microgreens can be up to nine times higher than those found in mature greens! Pretty impressive, don't you think?
Our ancestors understood the benefits of incorporating microgreens into our diet, and the advantages that they provide to our health and well-being! Microgreens are known to be rich in fibre, potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, antioxidants, various vitamins and beneficial plant compounds. Due to their concentrated nutrients, microgreens have wonderful health benefits and may improve various medical conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and more (depending on the plant species).
Other benefits of growing your own microgreens
It's much more affordable to grow your own microgreens at home than constantly stocking up from grocery stores! In fact, your initial lay-out is very affordable, as a pack of organic, non-GMO seeds isn't that expensive, and will provide you with much more value for money in the long run.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Growing your own food at home reduces your carbon footprint, mass-consumerism and conventional farming! How? If you rely on grocery stores to bring food to your plate, there are many components involved in the production/distribution process that impact the environment.
The mere act of transporting fresh produce from farms to grocery stores (which takes place on a huge scale daily), relies heavily on the energy from burning fossil fuels. The toxic waste emitted from these non-reusable fossil fuels takes a large toll on wildlife, communities and the environment. Another factor to consider is the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified organisms with conventionally grown crops. If you're growing your own non-GMO and organic seeds, you know exactly what goes into them and what doesn't!
Impress your dinner guests
Microgreens are often seen in gourmet dishes at fancy restaurants. They're incredibly flavourful and add an exquisite taste! Some microgreens taste spicy, sour, or bitter - and hey, they look pretty, too! They can be added into sandwiches, wraps, salads, smoothies, soups, curries, various other warm dishes, or used as garnishes! The next time you invite guests over for breakfast, lunch or dinner, show off your culinary skills by incorporating your homegrown microgreens into the meal - your guests will surely be impressed!
How to grow your own microgreens at home
It's best to purchase seeds from a trusted source, where you know that the seeds are non-GMO and organic. Many foods that have been imported from other countries have been irradiated to stop them from sprouting before they arrive at the grocery store. Health stores usually have a small selection of non-GMO, organic seeds, or you can browse our online store for a wide variety of organic and non-GMO seeds. Microgreens are extremely easy and convenient to grow at home. You can choose between growing them outside, in a greenhouse, on your kitchen counter or even on your windowsill!
We found an easy explanation from www.healthline.com on how to grow microgreens at home:Here’s what you’ll need:
- Good quality seeds.
- A good growing medium, such as a container filled with potting soil or homemade compost. Alternatively, you can use a single-use growing mat specifically designed for growing microgreens.
- Proper lighting — either sunlight or ultraviolet lighting, ideally for 12–16 hours per day.
- Fill your container with soil, making sure you don’t over-compress it, and water lightly.
- Sprinkle the seed of your choice on top of the soil as evenly as possible.
- Lightly mist your seeds with water and cover your container with a plastic lid.
- Check on your tray daily and mist water as needed to keep the seeds moist.
- A couple of days after the seeds have germinated, you may remove the plastic lid to expose them to light.
- Water once a day while your microgreens grow and gain color.
- After 7–10 days, your microgreens should be ready to harvest.
Did you know?
While seeds hold nutritional value, it's common that consumption of these seeds can lead to indigestion and autoimmune reactions. The reason for this is that our bodies cannot absorb the nutrients or break down the antinutrients (naturally-occurring substances found in plant-derived foods that interfere with the absorption of nutrients and minerals) found in unsprouted seeds. In fact, eating unsprouted seeds regularly can have a damaging effect on your health!
We've pulled a quote from www.draxe.com that explains why seeds contain antinutrients: "Antinutrients actually have a protective property within plants. They help plants survive by warding off pests and insects. Once they’re ingested, the plant’s predators become somewhat sick. Antinutrients also have the job of keeping a seed from sprouting until it’s ripe enough and ready to mature."
The good news is that sprouting and soaking seeds break down antinutrients, make the seeds more digestible and amplify the potency of nutrients contained within! Vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and other valuable compounds of the seeds become more available once the seed has sprouted, and are easily absorbed and utilised by the human body.
If you have any health-related questions, please contact us or leave a comment below for FREE advice. We always love hearing from you!