What are microgreens?
Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are approximately 1-3 inches (2.5-7.5 cm) tall.
A seed goes through various phases of growth before it becomes a mature plant. One of these phases is the ‘microgreens’ stage in which the seed develops into tiny plant that is bigger than sprouts but smaller than baby greens. They are a great source of micronutrients that are required in small amounts to the body.
Microgreens have steadily gained popularity due numerous health benefits. These aromatic greens are also known as micro herbs or vegetable confetti. Besides providing nutrition, these are rich in flavour as well and can be used in preparing many dishes as well. They are packed with nutrients, often containing higher nutrient levels than more mature vegetable greens. This makes them a good addition to any diet easily.
Why microgreens are important?
Now a days majority of Indian population is suffering from micronutrient deficiency that leads to impaired growth and many serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disorders, cancer etc. The deficiency of essential minerals and vitamins results in poor physical and mental health, impaired endocrine functions, anaemia etc.
In India, every day, more than 6,000 children below the age of 5 years die. Half of these deaths are caused by malnutrition such as lack of Vitamin A, iodine, zinc, iron and folic acid in the diet.
Micronutrient deficiencies can be prevented by supplements, food and fortification. This nutritional gap can be bridged by making microgreens a part of every home. Currently, microgreens are very important, especially in these tough times of pandemic.
What are the benefits of Microgreens?
Due to their immense health benefits, microgreens are termed as superfood. These seedlings of vegetables, herbs and grains are harvested 7-14 days after germination and these are packed with minerals, vitamins and other health promoting nutrients that make them superfood. Eating microgreens is linked to a lower risk of many disorders such as:
- Heart Diseases: Microgreens are a rich source of anti-oxidants such as polyphenols that is linked to a lower risk of heart disease. They may also lower the triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
- Certain Cancers: Due to rich in anti-oxidants, especially polyphenols, microgreens may lower the risk of various types of cancer.
- Diabetes: Anti-oxidants present in microgreens may help in reducing the type of stress that can prevent sugar from entering the cells. In a research, it has been found that fenugreek microgreens appeared to enhance cellular sugar uptake by 25-44%.
What are the types of Microgreens?
The most popular varieties of microgreens are produced using seeds from the following plant families:
- Apiaceae Family: Dill, Fennel, Carrot and Celery.
- Brassicaceae Family: Cauliflower, Cabbage, Watercress, Radish, Broccoli and Arugula.
- Amaryllidaceae Family: Garlic, Onion and Leek.
- Amaranthaceae Family: Amaranth, Swiss Chard, Beet, Spinach and Quinoa.
- Cucurbitaceae Family: Melon, Squash and Cucumber.
How to include Microgreens in the diet?
Microgreens should be consumed with the living foods to ensure that body gets maximum nutrients and enzymes that are necessary for the absorption of the nutrients by the body.
- It is not advisable to cook microgreens because they are delicate in nature and by cooking, they may lose their nutrition and vitality.
- These can be consumed with salads.
- Blend them in chutneys, juices etc.
- You can sprinkle them over your dals and vegetables.
- They may be used for making smoothies as well.
One must be careful while using microgreens as they may contain micro-organisms that are not visible to the naked eye.
How to grow Microgreens?
Growing microgreens is very easy and economical too. The material required to grow microgreens are easily available at home. One can use the cardboard boxes or small clay pots for growing microgreens. A lot of seeds are available in our kitchen such as mustard seeds, sesame seeds, dil seeds etc. Take microgreens growing tray and fill it with organic mix.
- After that spread the microgreen seeds and spray water.
- After 7 days, microgreens are ready to be harvested.
- It is best to be consumed within 3-4 hours of harvest to get the best nutrient content as well as flavour.
- Taking just 50 g microgreens in every day diet can provide necessary nutrients and improve immunity as well.
This article is not a substitute to the standard Medical Diagnosis or personalized Ayurvedic Treatment! It is intended only for Information!
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