Microgreens have been found to contain higher levels of concentrated active compounds than found in mature plants or seeds. These tiny baby plants provide a convenient and concentrated means for absorbing the active compounds when eaten or made into a health drink.
Micro Greens/Baby Leaf Herbs are plants that are in transition from the sprouted embryo, reliant on its seed store; to a ‘stand alone’ organism, later developing its new root and leaf systems. As such, micro greens have a blend of phyto-chemicals inherited from both the seed and derived from the fledgling green plant – the unique flavour combination neither found in sprouts nor baby greens. And this is what makes them so special.
Our micro greens typically provide the following nutrients in a high level: Vitamins A, B, C, E and K, Calcium, Chlorophyll, Iron, Lecithin, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), Phosphorus, Potassium, Amino Acids, Trace Elements, Antioxidants and Proteins.
Maximum health benefits are felt when eaten as soon after harvesting as possible, another benefit of local production.
Microgreens, herbs and leafy greens begin to lose their nutritional value after harvest which is why it is important they are consumed fresh and one of the reasons that we sell our crops as living plants.
In 2010 a study (J. AMER.SOC.HORT.SCI. 135(3):223–229. 201) published in the Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science reported young lettuce plants, harvested 7 days after germination, had the highest antioxidant capacity and health-promoting phenolic compounds, compared with mature leaves from the same plant.
In 2012 the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported a large-scale university study ‘Assessment of Vitamin and Carotenoid Concentrations of Emerging Food Products: Edible Microgreens ‘ See comment in PubMed Commons belowJ Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 8;60(31):7644-51. doi: 10.1021/jf300459b. Epub 2012 Jul 30. Analysing the nutrient composition of 25 microgreen varieties. They discovered that microgreen cotyledon leaves had considerably higher nutritional densities than their mature counterparts (cotyledon leaves first leaves of a seedling driven from the seed).
The 2012 microgreen study ‘also found substantial amounts of tocopherols in microgreens. The amount of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol combined ranged from 7.9 to 126.8 milligrams per 100 grams, with green daikon radish microgreens scoring the highest value in this analysis. The recommended daily allowance in adults for vitamin E is 15 milligrams of alpha-tocopherol, this means eating just a small amount of daikon radish microgreens would cover your daily requirement for this important antioxidant vitamin, far better than a tablet.
In 2012 a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on vitamin C levels in microgreens reported that even the worst performing sample taken contained a whopping 20 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams – almost twice the amount of vitamin C found in tomatoes! Among the tested varieties Red cabbage microgreens had the highest levels of vitamin C, with a 100-gram portion providing 147 milligrams – or 245% of the daily value – of this vital nutrient. For comparison, an equal-sized serving of mature raw red cabbage contains 57 milligrams of vitamin C according to their data
The 2012 microgreen study looked at the levels of phylloquinone (the type of vitamin K produced by plants) in different microgreens, and found the highest levels of vitamin K in amaranth microgreens (Red Garnet variety). The researchers observed marked differences in vitamin K concentration between different microgreens, with the values ranging from 0.6 to 4.1 micrograms per gram.
Vitamin K plays an important role in humans by maintaining strong and healthy bones, avoiding blood clotting (great if you’re a frequent flier) and preventing bruising.
According to the 2012 study some microgreens contain even more beta-carotene than carrots: 12 milligrams per 100 grams compared to 8 milligrams in boiled carrots, The researchers also found that microgreens also provide other carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, are thought to reduce the risk of disease, particularly eye disease and types of cancer.
As you can see Microgreens are extremely nutritious and healthy.