The Connection Between Microgreens and Health

Parul Dube

August 16, 2022

Microgreens are new vegetable greens that are nearly one to three inches (2.5–7.5 cm) tall. They have an aromatic seasoning and concentrated nutrient quantity and come in a mixture of colours and textures.

Microgreens are baby plants falling between a sprout and baby green. That said, they should not be amazed about sprouts, which do not have layers. Sprouts also have a great short growing cycle of two to seven days. In contrast, microgreens are generally planted seven to twenty-one days after germination, once the plant’s first real leaves have arisen.

Since their beginning on the Californian restaurant scene in the 1980s, microgreens have steadily increased in popularity. These fragrant greens, also known as micro herbs or vegetable confetti, are prosperous in flavour and enlarge a welcome splash of pigment to various dishes.

Despite their tiny size, they pack a healthy punch, often comprising higher nutrient levels than more sophisticated vegetable greens. It makes them a decent addition to any diet.

Microgreens are more related to baby greens because only their limbs and leaves are deemed edible. However, unlike baby greens, they are smaller in size and can be bought before being planted. It implies that the plants can be sold whole and cut at the house, maintaining them alive until they are absorbed.

Microgreens are very useful for growing. Microgreens are new vegetable greens that fall between sprouts and baby leaf vegetables. They have an aromatic flavour and focused nutrient content and arrive in various colours and compositions.

The HealthifyMe Note

Microgreens are high in nutrients. It contains a lot of iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and copper. Furthermore, microgreens are a rich source of beneficial plant compounds such as antioxidants. “Microgreens” are young, tender, edible seedlings harvested when the cotyledonary leaves have fully developed and the first true leaves appear. This vegetable category gets distinct from the more familiar sprouts and baby leaf vegetables. 

Different Types of Microgreens

Microgreens can grow from many different categories of seeds. The most famous varieties that get produced using seeds from the developing plant families:

  • Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, watercress, broccoli, cabbage, radish and arugula
  • Asteraceae family: Lettuce, chicory, endive, and radicchio
  • Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, celery, and fennel
  • Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, leek, onion
  • Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa, swiss chard, spinach and beet 
  • Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, squash, and cucumber

Cereals such as oats, rice, wheat, corn and barley, and legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils are occasionally grown into microgreens. Naturally, microgreens differ in taste, varying from neutral to spicy, slightly bitter or even sour, depending on the variety. But, commonly speaking, their flavour gets deemed and concentrated.

Microgreens can be grown from several seeds. Their taste can vary vastly depending on the variety. Let’s glance at eight easy-to-grow mixtures for your home garden.

Sunflower Microgreens

Sunflower microgreens are known for their nutty flavour. They are simple to grow and grow within two weeks. You can conveniently ripen sunflower microgreen seeds in a small container such as an old salad box, milk carton, or similar. Select a seeding mix soil and keep it humid during the growth procedure. Sunflower microgreens compel proper light and fresh air to rise as well. Hence, once germination begins, remove the lid.

Usage: Sunflower microgreens can be utilised in soups, salads, sandwiches, and dips for amplifying crunch. You can add them to your smoothies and shakes as well.

Benefits: A decent source of calcium and iron. Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E are accessible through these microgreens. They absorb quickly as well.

Radish Microgreens

You can begin your microgreen garden by maturing radish microgreens. They are simple to grow and get planted as early as ten days after nurturing. The radish microgreen seeds are simple to grow. While planting, plant seeds densely and evenly on the soil ground. It is a decent idea to water the soil from below for maximum microgreens.

Usage: Provides flavour, crunchy composition and a taste of spiciness to food.

Benefits: Radish microgreens are wealthy in the mineral Manganese. And Vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, and Folate.

Pak Choi Microgreens

Pak Choi or Chinese cabbage is another microgreen mixture that is outstanding among new gardeners. With continual planting, you can have a Pak Choi microgreen packet every ten days. You can utilise soil or hydroponic agencies to grow them. The first three days of seeding pak choi microgreen seeds must collapse as they are susceptible to light. While harvesting, use a strong knife rapidly at the stem.

Usage: It has a favourable flavour with salads and soups.

Benefits: Pak Choi Microgreens contain vitamins C, E, and K, beta-carotene, and iron. They can prevent cancer cells from shaping as it has glucosinolate.

Broccoli Microgreens

Simple to grow microgreen is broccoli. It can grow within six to ten days of planting. Their earthy and mild broccoli-like flavour may astound you. Broccoli microgreens seeds can get cultivated in shallow containers. They compel light and moist soil to thrive. Crop the broccoli microgreens once they are two to three inches tall by slashing them just above the soil surface. They are the healthiest microgreens.

Usage: Broccoli microgreens have an earthlike flavour and an expansion to soups, sandwiches, etc., for additional crunch.

Benefits: They are far healthier than the broccoli caps you usually eat. Like any other microgreens, they are prosperous in vitamins like Vitamins A and C as well as calcium, iron, and fibre, to name a few. In addition, broccoli microgreens have a protein content of 35%.

Cabbage Microgreens

You can use any carton that is about two to three inches deep. Scatter the seeds evenly and densely across the mud. Initially, for two to three days, the cabbage microgreen seeds compel warm moist soil to grow, and after germination, they make proper drainage and ventilation to thrive. Cabbage microgreens are willing to harvest when they have clear green leaves.

Usage: Cabbage microgreens are a garnish for salads, soups, sandwiches, etc.

Benefits: Cabbage microgreens include a high level of nutrients, primarily Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene. They also contain helpful antioxidants.

Spinach Microgreens

Spinach microgreens are simple to grow and manageable to find supplies that are accessible right at home. Grab a shallow container two to three inches deep to accumulate these spinach microgreen seeds. After the blackout stage, two to three days after sowing, move the carton to a sunny windowsill after germination. Annually water them to help, but assure that the soil should not get soggy.

Usage: They are adequately used in soups, salads, and sandwiches to add flavour and crunch. It also strengthens colour when added as a garnish.

Benefits: Spinach microgreens get replenished with nutrients like Vitamin A, C, Vitamin K1, Iron, Folic Acid, and Calcium. The microgreens are four to forty times higher in nutrients than the mature seed.

Beetroot Microgreens

The different varieties of beetroot microgreens are a colourful and nutritious addition to your microgreen garden. The gorgeous pink, red, and green hues of beetroot microgreens are pretty prominent with microgreen planters. Correlated to other microgreens, they may take a few days to harvest, but they are worth it. Unfortunately, beetroot microgreen seeds do not like a ton of water in their roots to thrive. Hence, make sure that your planting trays have adequate drainage.

Usage: Beetroot microgreens procure a sweet and earthy flavour like their mature companions; hence they can be great compliments to sandwiches, soups, pasta, salads, and so much more.

Benefits: Like any other microgreen, Beet microgreens have a quantity of Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, calcium, iron, and protein. They also have a decent supply of potassium, magnesium, and copper.

Corn Microgreens 

Want to reap the flavour of corn within a short interval? You are required to grow corn microgreens. They are simple to grow. When you plant them, the corn microgreen seeds should moisten for at least eight hours. While harvesting, you need to cut at least half an inch above the soil. Corn microgreens have another one up their sleeve. When they thrive in one-sided light, they grow into gorgeous golden yellow microgreens with a delightful taste. And while raised in the full sun, they grow to have dark green leaves with earthy and grassy flavours. You can seize your pick as expected.

Usage: These shoots retain a distinctly sweet flavour like sweet corn. You can with any dish that compels a sweet punch.

Benefits: Consumption of Corn microgreens increases the immune system, enhances bone health, prevents anaemia, and reduces hypertension. They include Vitamins A, B, C and E, magnesium, and calcium and are a rich source of antioxidants.

Microgreens are Nutritious

Microgreens are full of nutrients. Research indicates that while nutrient quantities vary slightly, most mixtures are rich in iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium and copper. 

Study shows that microgreens are also an enormous source of beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants. Moreover, their nutrient quantity gets concentrated, implying that they often contain higher mineral, vitamin and antioxidant degrees than the same quantity of developed greens.

A study comparing microgreens to more developed greens reports that nutrient degrees in microgreens can be up to 9 times higher than those originating in mature greens. Research also indicates that they include a wider variety of polyphenols and additional antioxidants than their mature counterparts. 

Researchers measured vitamin and antioxidant engagements in twenty-five commercially accessible microgreens. These degrees correlate to developed leaves’ levels documented in the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Although antioxidants and vitamin levels varied, levels gauged in microgreens were up to forty times higher than those listed for more mature leaves. That said, not all researchers report identical results. For example, one research correlated nutrient levels in blossoms, micro greens and fully grown amaranth products.

It reported that the fully grown crops frequently included as much, if not additional, nutrients as the microgreens. Therefore, although microgreens arrive to include high nutrient degrees than more developed plants, this may alter based on the species at hand. Microgreens are prosperous in nutrients. They frequently contain vast amounts of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants than their more mature partners.

Health Benefits of Microgreens

A study indicated that eating vegetables is correlated to a lower risk of many disorders. It is due to the high quantities of minerals, vitamins, and beneficial plant solvents they contain.

In addition, microgreens contain identical and often tremendous amounts of these nutrients than developed greens. As such, they may furthermore reduce the risk of the following diseases:

Heart Disease

Research indicates that microgreens are a rich source of polyphenols, a degree of antioxidants correlated to a lower hazard of heart disease. In addition, animal analyses show that microgreens may reduce triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol degrees.

Alzheimer’s Disease

A study indicates that antioxidant-rich foods, encompassing those including high quantities of polyphenols, may be correlated to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disorder.


Research indicates that antioxidants may help lessen the type of stress that can deter sugar from properly entering cells. For example, in lab research, fenugreek microgreens enhanced cellular sugar uptake by 25–44%.

Certain Cancers

A study indicates that antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, particularly rich in polyphenols, may reduce the risk of several types of cancer. Polyphenol-rich microgreens may get anticipated to have identical effects.

While this seems favourable, note that the quantity of studies directly assessing the impact of microgreens on these medical situations is limited.

Therefore, more research is required. Microgreens transmit a concentrated dose of nutrients and plant compounds. As an outcome, they may lessen the risk of certain disorders.

Is Eating Microgreens Risky?

Eating microgreens are commonly considered safe. However, one concern is the danger of food poisoning. However, the probability of bacteria development is much smaller in microgreens than in blossoms.

Microgreens compel slightly less warm and moist conditions than sprouts, and barely the leaf and stem, relatively than the seed and root, are eaten.

Research shows that if you plan on growing microgreens at your residence, it is significant to buy seeds from a respected company and choose thriving mediums unrestricted from contamination with fatal bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli.

The most widespread growing mediums are perlite, peat, and vermiculite. Single-use growing mats generated specifically for thriving microgreens are deemed very sanitary.

Microgreens are commonly considered safe to eat. When growing them at home, spend personal attention to the quality of the seeds and thriving mediums used.

The HealthifyMe Note

There are various ways to include microgreens in your diet. They can get integrated into a mixture of dishes, comprising wraps, sandwiches, and salads. Microgreens may also be stirred into smoothies or juiced. Wheatgrass juice is a prominent example of a juiced microgreen. Another alternative is to use them as garnishes on soups, curries, pizzas, omelettes, and other warm dishes. 


Microgreens are delicious and get easily incorporated into your diet in various ways. They are also very nutritious and may even lessen your risk of certain disorders. In addition, given that they are simple to grow at home, they are a cost-effective means to boost nutrient intake without buying large amounts of vegetables. As such, they are a worthwhile expansion of your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can you eat microgreens raw?

A. Sprouts and microgreens are best consumed raw, as they lose their stability, as well as valuable water-soluble enzymes and vitamins when cooked. You should store the fresh greens in a dry, airtight carton with a paper towel and constantly refrigerate. 

Q. Are microgreens just baby plants?

A. Microgreens are new plants that are about two weeks old. Baby greens can be similar to plants as microgreens but a little older. Technically all microgreens are newborn greens, but commercially relatively young baby greens are named microgreens. 

Q. Can microgreens make you sick?

A. If you consume microgreens that contain bad bacteria, you will be sick within one to three days. Some people have a sudden reaction. Others see no indications for six weeks. Unless it is a severe illness, you are uncertain about formulating any chronic or life-threatening health difficulties. 

Q. Are microgreens worth it?

A. Microgreens are worth consuming because they are a great cost-effective way to increase your nutrient input. In addition, they are endurable, dense in nutrients and contain beneficial compounds, and may reduce or prevent certain disorders. 

Q. Are microgreens better for you than lettuce?

A. Microgreens are more nutrient-dense, meaning they are more rich sources of minerals and vitamins. And like the enormous-sized versions, microgreens are equally less in energy. They are about 120kJ or 29kcal per hundred grams based on US data. 

Q. Are microgreens better than vegetables?

A. Microgreens contain more significant amounts of nutrients and health-promoting micronutrients than their mature counterparts. Because they are rich in nutrients, smaller quantities may deliver similar nutritional consequences to more substantial amounts of ripe vegetables.

Q. What is the healthiest microgreen?

A. The healthiest microgreens are pea shoots, radish sprouts, sunflower shoots, wheatgrass, arugula, beets, broccoli, collards, kale, peas, and red cabbage. They can be consumed raw or cooked. They provide your body with essential nutrients for its growth and development. 

Q. How do you cook with microgreens?

A. You can consume microgreens by juicing them, mixing them into salads, layering in sandwiches, garnishing drinks, and seasoning soups, and you can also add them to stir-fries. 

Q. How do you use microgreens with broccoli?

A. Your broccoli microgreens can also be augmented to any salad or sandwich. Add it in expansion to your natural favourites like spinach and lettuce. Wheatgrass and broccoli microgreens are particularly popular for juicing and are a healthy way to start your day. You can drizzle some microgreens on a garnish ​in virtually any dish. Try them on top of soups, pasta, omelettes, pizzas, curries, stir-fries, and other hot dishes. 

Q. Can microgreens be cooked?

A. Cooking microgreens for fifteen minutes at 140-180°F will produce at least 75% of their nutrients. Vegetables lose less than 50% of their nutrients when cooked for more than thirty minutes or less. You can eat microgreens raw or cooked. They are simple to add fresh to any meal.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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