Benefits of Microgreens as a Superfood in Daily Diet
Research Report Date: Updated 2023.02.28
StudentFarmers.org is pleased to undertake ongoing research and prepare periodic reports such as this one to inform consumers about the advantages of microgreens. We have provided the source links accordingly to support the research.
Medical Disclaimer: The content in this report and online at StudentFarmers.org or on any of the social media posts is for informational or educational purposes only, and it does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.
Table of Contents:
- Microgreen Benefits – Highlight List
- Microgreens Benefits – Support Information
- Microgreen Attributes by Type of Plant
- Microgreen Cultivation Cost Analysis
- Microgreen Cultivation Time Analysis
- Microgreen Cultivation Tips (One Page)
- The Nine most common Plant-based diet myths debunked
Microgreens are baby plants that are typically harvested in the first 10 days of their life. They are recognized as a Superfood, because some have up to 40 times the nutrients of their mature counterparts and are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that are beneficial to people of all ages. They look like little “shoots” that are about two to three inches tall with a pair of small leaves at the top.
To date, microgreens have often been used as a garnish to add flavor to everything from avocado toast to steaks. Now, microgreens are increasingly used across the health food industry as key ingredients in salads, smoothies, and much more.
This report breaks down the specific advantage of microgreens to improve Physical Appearance (Healthy Skin + Weight Loss), Physical Health (Sports Performance + Heart Health + Cancer Prevention + Digestion + Immune System + Ulcer Relief + Cholesterol Improvement + Vision Loss Prevention + Diabetic Diet Enhancement + Testosterone), Mental Health (Mental Acuity + Stress Reduction).
This report also addresses the behavior motivator “Citizenship,” specifically for people who believe in the need for Environmental Stewardship and those who may want to participate in Community Service. Environmental Stewardship is about growing microgreens at home to reduce help reduce the transportation and CO2 emissions from the food supply chain, and Community Service is about sharing information to encourage others to get involved, including person and families in underserved communities and food deserts.
Highlights on “all-star” microgreens relative to key benefits:
- Healthy Skin – Beat and Kale Microgreens
- Weight Loss – Swiss Chard Microgreens
- Sports Performance – Arugula Microgreens
- Heart Health – Broccoli and Radish Microgreens
- Cancer Prevention – Broccoli Microgreens
- Digestion – Broccoli Microgreens
- Immune System – Broccoli, Clover, and Pea Microgreens
- Ulcer Relief – Alfalfa Microgreens
- Cholesterol Improvement – Collard Microgreens
- Vision Loss Prevention – Kale Microgreens
- Diabetic Diet Enhancement – Buckwheat Microgreens
Microgreen Benefits – Highlight List
- Healthy Skin
- Weight Loss
- Sports Performance
- Heart Health
- Cancer Prevention
- Immune System
- Ulcer Relief
- Cholesterol Improvement
- Vision Loss Prevention
- Diabetic Diet Enhancement
- Mental Acuity
- Stress Reduction
- Environmental Stewardship
- Community Service
Microgreen Benefits – Support Information
Microgreens like any vegetable are a great way to start moving towards a plant-based diet with the advantages that come with eating more plants than eating meats and processed foods. Vegan, Vegetarian, and Pescatarian diets are not for everyone but eating more veggies is almost always a good idea. Certain microgreens have properties that may appeal to some people over others.
- Healthy Skin
Beat Microgreens: A healthy complexion is often important to people young and old. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and K, there are many beet microgreens with benefits that include reducing inflammation, boosting digestion, and promoting healthy skin. Beet microgreens are a culinary and nutritional powerhouse. Plus, their colorful stems and leaves brighten up your dishes.(source:https://rusticwise.com/beet-microgreens-benefits/).
Kale Microgreens: For added skin health, Kale microgreens are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which help protect your skin and eyes. (source: https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/
- Weight Loss
Swiss Chard Microgreens: If people are looking to lose weight, Swiss Chard has low-calorie levels and is highly nutritious, it great for a weight-loss diet. (source: https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/) With so much processed and “fast food” on the market, many Americans face challenges with weight gain. There is an old adage, “You can pay a farmer, or you can pay a doctor.” We have become so accustomed to trying to fix problems with medicine and pharmaceuticals, and we too often forget that some simple easy solutions are affordable and right at hand to grow at home.
Microgreens from the Asteraceae family, such as lettuce and chicory, are high in Vitamin A and carotenoid antioxidants, and microgreens from the Brassica family, such as broccoli are high in Vitamin A and phenolic antioxidants. These can negate the effects of free radicals, which can lead to severe cell damage, cancer, cardiac disease, hypertension, inflammatory conditions, and can hinder fitness efforts. By eating microgreens, you can boost your fitness efforts as well as limit the possibilities of certain conditions. Microgreens can help boost the immune system, which can help fitness efforts because of consistent workouts without countless rest days due to frequent illnesses. Sprouts and microgreens are both good sources of immunity-boosting vitamins, such as Vitamin C that stimulates white blood cells and Vitamin A that is rich in antioxidative properties. (source: https://sproutnet.com/sprouts-and-microgreens-can-help-you-with-your-fitness-too/)
- Sports Performance
Arugula Microgreens: They are rich in beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E, K, and A. They have 5 times more vitamins K, C, and A, 8 times the calcium, and 4 times iron than lettuce. (source: https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/) Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. See the documentary: The Game Changers: https://gamechangersmovie.com/. You may be surprised to learn the positive impacts of a plant-based diet.
- Heart Health
Broccoli Microgreens: They contain the highest amount of sulforaphane available compared to almost any other food available. Benefits: Fighting inflammation, Improved heart health. (source: https://sweetrusticbakes.com/broccoli-microgreens-benefits/)
Radish Microgreens: They have 40 times more crucial nutrients than mature radish. They also have high levels of antioxidants (heart health), minerals, and vitamins. (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
- Cancer Prevention
Broccoli Microgreens: They contain the highest amount of sulforaphane available compared to almost any other food available. Disease prevention: Cancer prevention (source: https://sweetrusticbakes.com/broccoli-microgreens-benefits/)
Broccoli Microgreens: They contain the highest amount of sulforaphane available compared to almost any other food available. Benefits: Improved digestion. (source: https://sweetrusticbakes.com/broccoli-microgreens-benefits/)
- Immune System
Broccoli Microgreens: They can help boost the immune system, which can help fitness efforts because of consistent workouts without countless rest days due to frequent illnesses. Sprouts and microgreens are both good sources of immunity-boosting vitamins, such as Vitamin C that stimulates white blood cells and Vitamin A that is rich in antioxidative properties. (source: https://sproutnet.com/sprouts-and-microgreens-can-help-you-with-your-fitness-too/)
Clover Microgreens: They come packed with zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Zinc can help strengthen the immune system. In the age of COVID-19, its variants and the endemic nature of the virus, strong immune systems are more important now than ever. (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
Pea Microgreens: They contain seven times more vitamin C than blueberries and eight times more folic acid than bean sprouts. Vitamin C is essential in maintaining a healthy immune system, and is critical to the formation of collagen, a structural protein that supports the skin and internal organs. (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
- Ulcer Relief
Alfalfa Microgreens: They can help relieve ulcers. (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
- Cholesterol Improvement
Collard Microgreens: They help control cholesterol levels. (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
- Vision Loss Prevention
Kale Microgreens: They are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which help protect your eyes. Zeaxanthin is known to help lower the chances of getting macular degeneration. (vision loss) (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
- Diabetic diet enhancement
Buckwheat Microgreens: They have high fiber levels and help slow down glucose absorption, making it a great addition to meals for diabetics. (source:https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/best-microgreens-to-grow/)
A plant-based diet has positive impacts on testosterone. See the documentary: The Game Changers: https://gamechangersmovie.com/
- Mental Acuity
Incorporating a plant-based diet full of these brain foods can improve mental tasks, such as alertness, concentration, and memory. While including these foods in your diet may not instantly make your brain fog disappear, it’s a step in the right direction to feel better and smarter.
Complex carbs supply fiber, which helps memory and cognition.
“Complex carbohydrates are turned to glucose in the body, which is like fuel for our brain. However, they don’t really impact our insulin levels as much like simple carbohydrates,” says Dr. Mosconi.
Complex carbohydrates—found in foods like oats, quinoa, and brown rice—are full of dietary fiber, which is associated with delay in cognitive decline and memory loss, according to a 2018 report in Frontiers in Immunology (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.01832/full). Just one serving of either oat bran, wheat bran, and lima beans can provide over 50 percent of our recommended daily fiber intake. Add fiber-rich foods to your meals, which will leave you feeling super energized and satiated.
- Stress Reduction
People face stress on many levels. Microgreens should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet to help reduce stress. (source: https://vitalityfarmscompany.com/stress-reducing-diet-with-microgreens/)
Plant-based diets can reduced depression and anxiety as well as foster more productivity at work. A 2015 study showed that vegans tend to report less stress and anxiety than their meat-eating counterparts. If you follow a vegan diet, you have access to mood-boosting nutrients without the negative side effects of meat-based diets. Deficiencies in zinc, for example, have been linked to depression and anxiety (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521019/).
While many Americans meet their zinc requirements with pot roast and burgers, vegans opt for healthier alternatives like chickpeas, lentils, and beans. So they get the nutrients they need to ward off depression without the additional saturated fat and cholesterol that come with red meat. (source: https://earth911.com/living-well-being/can-a-plant-based-diet-affect-your-mental-health/#:~:text=Vegan%20Diets%20Promote%20Positive%20Feelings&text=The%20latter%20group%20reported%20reduced,than%20their%20meat%2Deating%20counterparts.)
Cultivating microgreens by growing them at home is a hands-on analog process. In a world of increasing digital screen overload, growing plants is like a zen form of meditation.
- Environmental Stewardship
Reducing the transportation emissions in the supply chain to move food is a great environmental advantage of growing microgreens at home. You literally help reduce CO2 emissions with every weekly harvest.
- Community Service
If you choose to share your home growing experience with other people in your community as well as families and students in undeserved communities then you are helping yourself and others in a very meaningful way. Eating more healthy, fresh, and affordable vegetable is part of a lifelong commitment to physical and mental health.
Microgreen Attributes by Type of Plant
The most popular varieties are produced using seeds from the following plant families (1):
- Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula
- Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio
- Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel and celery
- Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek
- Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach
- Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash
Microgreens Are Nutritious.
Microgreens are packed with nutrients.
While their nutrient contents vary slightly, most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper (2, 3Trusted Source).
Microgreens are also a great source of beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants (4Trusted Source).
What’s more, their nutrient content is concentrated, which means that they often contain higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels than the same quantity of mature greens (4Trusted Source).
In fact, research comparing microgreens to more mature greens reports that nutrient levels in microgreens can be up to nine times higher than those found in mature greens (5).
Research also shows that they contain a wider variety of polyphenols and other antioxidants than their mature counterparts (6Trusted Source).
One study measured vitamin and antioxidant concentrations in 25 commercially available microgreens. These levels were then compared to levels recorded in the USDA National Nutrient Database for mature leaves.
Although vitamin and antioxidant levels varied, levels measured in microgreens were up to 40 times higher than those recorded for more mature leaves (4Trusted Source).
That said, not all studies report similar results.
For instance, one study compared nutrient levels in sprouts, microgreens and fully grown amaranth crops. It noted that the fully grown crops often contained as much, if not more, nutrients than the microgreens (7).
Therefore, although microgreens generally appear to contain higher nutrient levels than more mature plants, this may vary based on the species at hand.
People can grow microgreens from any herb or vegetable. The flavor will depend on the plant.
Popular microgreens include:
- red pak choi
- Swiss chard
Which vegetables provide the most protein? Find out here.
Microgreens might offer several benefits as an addition to the diet.
Rich in nutrients
Many fresh plant products provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
These nutrients can help with:
- preventing a range of diseases
- managing weight
- boosting both mental and physical health and well-being
Microgreens can offer all of these benefits and possibly more.
Kale is available as a microgreen as well as a regular vegetable. Find out why it is good for you.
Many plant based foods are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals play hundreds of roles in essential bodily processes.
Antioxidants help the body eliminate unstable waste molecules known as free radicals.
Free radicals result from both natural bodily processes and environmental pressures, such as pollution. As they build up, they can lead to cell damage. Eventually, this damage may contribute to the development of diseases, such as cancer.
The body can remove some free radicals, but they can still accumulate. Antioxidants from foods can help remove more of them. Plant based foods can provide antioxidants.
There is evidence to suggest that microgreens have a high antioxidant content, which means that they may help prevent a range of diseases. The exact types of antioxidant will depend on the plant.
Microgreens from the Brassica family, which include broccoli, contain high levels of vitamin E, a phenolic antioxidant. Asteraceae microgreens, such as chicory and lettuce, appear to be high in vitamin A, or carotenoid antioxidants.
Details about using microgreens to treat or prevent specific diseases are not yet available, but scientists are looking into their possible benefits.
Broccoli and its cousins — cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts — are healthful vegetable choices. Learn more about broccoli.
Some researchers have suggested that microgreens may be suitable for tailoring to provide additional nutrients to specific groups of people.
For example, one group of scientists Trusted Source produced chicory and lettuce microgreens with high levels of the nutrients that green, leafy vegetables usually contain but a lower potassium content. This nutrient profile, they said, could be useful for people with kidney disease.
Tailored microgreens could also be beneficial for people who follow a vegan, vegetarian, or raw food diet and for those who cannot access or consume fresh vegetables due to issues of availability, cost, or health.
What can you eat on a vegan diet? Find out here.
There is a growing interest in sustainability, and microgreens could be a good way to provide city dwelling families with locally produced seasonal vegetables at a low cost.
Microgreens are easy to grow at home in a confined space. A small outlay can provide a significant return in terms of bulk, variety, and nutrients.
As they take just a few weeks to grow, it is possible to have an ongoing source of microgreens. By rotating three crops, for example, people could have fresh microgreens every week. Hydroponically grown microgreens do not even need soil.
Experts have suggested Trusted Source that microgreens could even provide fresh and healthful food for astronauts.
The nutritional value of microgreens varies according to type, as with conventional vegetables.
However, there is also evidence that some may contain a higher concentration of many nutrients than their mature, fully grown counterparts.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Trusted Source (USDA), 100 grams (g) of kale microgreens provides only 29 calories.
Other research has indicated that Brassica microgreens, which include kale, may be an especially good source of antioxidant vitamins and the minerals potassium and calcium.
A 100 g serving Trusted Source of sunflower and basil microgreen mix will provide:
- 28 calories
- 2.2 g of protein
- 4.4 g of carbohydrate
- 2.2 g of fiber
- 88 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 15.9 mg of iron
- 66 mg of magnesium
- 66 mg of phosphorus
- 298 mg of potassium
- 11 mg of sodium
- 0.7 mg of zinc
- 6.6 mg of vitamin C
- 79.6 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A
- 66 mcg of folate
The greens also contain selenium, manganese, and a range of B vitamins.
The same size serving of sunflower and beet micrograms contains Trusted Source similar amounts of each nutrient but provides more iron, at 23.9 mg.
A 2012 study looked at the nutrient content of 25 different microgreens. The researchers found the highest concentrations of four different vitamins and carotenoids in the following items:
- red cabbage
- green daikon radish
- garnet amaranth
The key benefits of each microgreen varied. Red cabbage microgreens, for example, were rich in vitamin C but low in vitamin E. Green daikon radish microgreens were rich in vitamin E but relatively low in lutein in comparison with cabbage, cilantro, and amaranth.
Eating a variety of vegetables and microgreens will supply more of these helpful nutrients.
What are the most healthful vegetables?
The microgreens will be ready to harvest in 2–3 weeks. People should take care to cut their greens above the soil line and rinse them well before using them.
You can purchase kits for growing microgreens online.
As well as adding nutritional content, microgreens can boost color, enhance flavor, and add texture to any dish.
People can add microgreens to meals in the following ways:
- as a garnish for salads, soups, flatbreads, or pizzas
- to add nutritional value to a juice or smoothie
- as a side to any main dish
- to add flavor and color to an omelet or frittata
- as an alternative to lettuce in tacos or a burger or sandwich
Herb microgreens can also add flavor to sweet dishes. People can sprinkle a pinch of mint, for example, on a fruit based mousse or on strawberries with yogurt.
The 11 Best Microgreens to Grow
As a natural detoxifying product, alfalfa is one of the best microgreens to grow in your backyard. Alfalfa has been used to improve people’s health for centuries. In fact, the term “alfalfa” is an Arabic word that means “father of foods.”
In China, Alfalfa was used to relieve ulcers and stimulate appetite. That is because it’s rich in minerals, vitamins, and many other nutrients that promote good health. It also contains zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, and carotene.
Alfalfa is one of the few plants that do well when grown in a hydroponic system. Before planting them, make sure you don’t soak them in water. Next, pour an ounce of alfalfa sprout seeds into a 20″ by 10″ tray and cover them for about 5 days.
After they have germinated, you can uncover them and wait for about 8 to 12 days before harvesting them. When ready, it will have a mild flavor and are crunchy with huge deep-green leaves.
If you love adding color to your salad, then beets are a great choice. But you can also use beet microgreens, which are more nutritious than mature beets. They have an earthy flavor, just like a fully grown beet.
Beet microgreen is rich in vitamins K and A and antioxidants. Some of its benefits include improving the health of the skin, boosting digestion, and reducing inflammation.
You should know though that beets take a bit longer to grow, between 10 to 12 days between sowing and harvesting.
To grow them, first, soak the beet seeds in cold water for about 12 hours, and then place in the soil.
The seeds will start germinating within three to four days. When ready, they will have a vivid red color that will improve your salad. Beet microgreens have the same earthy flavor as the fully-grown ones.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free, nutritious, and colorful microgreen that has been consumed in Asia for centuries. Despite its unique name, this microgreen does not belong to the same family as wheat. Instead, it is closely related to sorrel and rhubarb.
This microgreen has high fiber levels; therefore, it can help slow down glucose absorption, making it a perfect meal for diabetics. It’s also rich in essential amino acids, zinc, copper, magnesium, and manganese.
Buckwheat has huge seeds, so they must be soaked for about 24 hours and rinsed before being planted in soil. You will need about 12 ounces of buckwheat seeds for every 10″ by 20″ tray you plan on using.
After planting them, you will have to wait for between six to 12 days to enjoy this delicious microgreen. When ready there leaves may be yellowish, but when they get enough sunlight, they turn green.
Collards are highly nutritious microgreens belonging to the Brassica family. Collards are high-yielding crops rich in both insoluble and soluble dietary fibers that can help control cholesterol levels.
Collards are also rich in phytonutrients, calcium, vitamins, magnesium, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They are dark green and have a cabbage-like flavor.
Like most microgreens, collards also do well when grown hydroponically, but you don’t have to soak the seeds. Use an ounce of seeds for every 10″ by 20″ tray. Unlike alfalfa and kale, collard microgreens take about 12 days to mature.
Clovers are highly nutritious microgreens that come packed with zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. These versatile microgreens have green leaves with a fresh, mildly sweet, and nutty flavor. In fact, many chefs use clover microgreen to add fresh, crisp crunch to salads and sandwiches.
Just like collards, clovers also prefer being grown hydroponically. You need an ounce of seeds for every 10″ by 20″ tray.
Don’t soak the seeds. Instead, leave them under a blackout dome for about 5 days. The seeds will start germinating after 2 days, and they will be ready for harvest after 8 to 12 days.
Consuming kale microgreens is the best way to enjoy the health benefits of fully-grown kales. Kale microgreens taste like leaf lettuce and mild romaine. These microgreens are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which help protect your skin and eyes. Zeaxanthin is known to help lower the chances of getting macular degeneration.
Kale microgreens prefer growing in a hydroponic system. You have to grow the kale seeds without soaking them in a 10″ by 20″ tray and cover them for three to five days. The seeds will start germinating after 2 days, and they will be ready for harvesting in 12 days.
Pea microgreens contain seven times more vitamin C than blueberries and eight times more folic acid than bean sprouts. They taste like fully grown peas and have more than enough vitamins to help improve your cardiovascular health.
Pea microgreens prefer to be grown in soil, but before planting them, make sure you soak the pea sprouting seeds for about 24 hours. Next, place them in a bowl and leave them there until they start sprouting, but make sure you mist them a couple of times per day.
Once they sprout, you can transfer them to the soil and block the lights for two days, but make sure the soil is damp. The pea shoots will be ready for harvesting within eight to 12 days.
Radish microgreens have 40 times more crucial nutrients than mature radish. They also have high levels of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Radish microgreens are crisp and tender; plus, they have a unique spicy flavor. They are also perfect for adding color and heat to salads.
Unlike most microgreens, radish germinates and grows quickly in cool and warm conditions. In most cases, radish microgreens are normally ready for harvesting within 5 days.
Remember, radish microgreen must be harvested at the cotyledon stage. If left for too long, they become woody. So make sure you harvest them as soon as the first true leaves appear.
9. Swiss Chard
Even though kale is considered to be the king of green veggies, Swiss chard microgreen can be equally impressive. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin E, sodium, zinc, copper, calcium, and magnesium. It has low-calorie levels and is highly nutritious, which makes it perfect for a weight-loss diet.
Swiss chard microgreens thrive when grown using soil, but before sowing the seeds, you must presoak them for 24 hours. The seeds will start germinating after two days and will be ready for harvesting after 12 days.
Arugula has a unique peppery flavor that goes well with sandwiches and salads, among other dishes. They are rich in beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E, K, and A. Arugula microgreen has 5 times more vitamins K, C, and A, 8 times the calcium, and 4 times iron than lettuce. And the good thing about arugula microgreens is that they can be ready for harvesting within five to seven days.
Broccoli microgreens are considered to be more nutritious than their mature counterparts. And despite their small size, broccoli microgreens are rich in aromatic flavors and nutrients.
Broccoli microgreens can be consumed the same way you would a mature one, but they are less bitter. In fact, they are the best veggies for adding crunchy flavor and visual appeal to any dish.
The good thing about this plant is that they take care of themselves after being planted. Plus, you don’t have to soak the seeds. Broccoli microgreen seeds prefer soil as the planting medium, so make sure you place them in darkness for three days for them to germinate.
Broccoli microgreens are usually ready for harvesting after 10 to 14 days.
Added info (source: https://sweetrusticbakes.com/broccoli-microgreens-benefits/)
Broccoli microgreens contain the highest amount of sulforaphane available compared to almost any other food available.
- Fighting inflammation.
- Cancer prevention.
- Improved heart health.
- Improved digestion.
Everything you need to know about Turnip Microgreens:
Highlight of benefits:
The high levels of nutrients in turnip greens can enhance health and help prevent disease. Dietary nitrate, for example, has been shown to protect the health of the cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Other nutrients offer further benefits.
Healthy skin and hair
Turnip greens can help maintain healthy skin and hair, because of their high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. It also plays a role in sebum production, and sebum keeps the hair moisturized. Vitamin C is important for building and maintaining collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair. It also provides benefits for the immune system. Hair loss can result from iron deficiency. An adequate intake of iron-containing foods, such as turnip greens, can help prevent this. A lack of iron in the diet can also affect how efficiently the body uses energy. Turnip greens are a good source of iron, as are spinach, lentils, and collard greens.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in developed countries, and a leading cause of anemia. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C with foods that are iron-rich maximizes the body’s ability to absorb iron. Turnip greens alone are an excellent source of both vitamin C and iron.
The vitamin K and calcium in turnip greens help to ward off osteoporosis and keep the skeleton strong. Experts have associated low intakes of vitamin K and calcium with a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption can improve bone health by improving calcium absorption, reducing urinary excretion of calcium and acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins. One 55-gram cup of raw turnip greens provides 138 mcg of vitamin K, well above the daily need. Turnip greens also provide one of the highest calcium contents per gram of any fruit or vegetable. Vitamin A, phosphorus, and magnesium also promote bone health, and these too are present in turnip greens.
Cancer prevention and treatment
Turnip greens and other cruciferous vegetables contain nutrients that may offer protection against cancer. Sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound, is what give cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite. It also seems that sulforaphane can offer some protection against cancer. Early results suggest that the compound can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells. This could make sulforaphane-containing foods useful in preventing different types of cancer. Grilling foods at high temperatures can produce heterocyclic amines, which experts have linked to some cancers. Eating green vegetables as a side may help negate these effects. As an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, turnip greens can help fight the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.
Turnip greens are high in fiber, providing 5 grams per 1 cup. Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and that people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 25 g of fiber day for women, and 38 g a day for men, up to the age of 50 years. After that, women should have 21 g a day and men 30 g.
Turnip greens also contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid. This has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral neuropathy or autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes. It may protect brain tissue, offering benefits for people with dementia and those who have had a stroke.
It may also benefit in the areas of glaucoma, sun-damaged skin, multiple sclerosis, and migraines. However, most studies have used intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, and it is unsure whether oral supplementation would produce the same benefits.
Turnip greens are high in both fiber and water content, which help to prevent constipation, promote regularity and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Fertility and pregnancy
For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources such as spinach, beans, pumpkin and green beans may promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. Adequate folic acid intake is also needed during pregnancy, to protect the fetus against neural tube defects. Turnip greens are a good source of both folic acid and iron.
Sleep and mood
The choline in turnips greens can assist sleeping patterns and mood. Turnip greens contain choline, an important nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation. Folate, also found in collard greens, may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body. Homocysteine can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
Exercise and athletic performance
Dietary nitrate has been shown to enhance vasodilation and improve muscle oxygenation during exercise. It may also improve the quality of life for those who lack oxygenation because of cardiovascular, respiratory, or metabolic disease. Leafy green vegetables like turnip greens and arugula are among the top sources of nitrates.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions.
A review of studies on the health benefits of vegetables concludes that “a high daily intake of these foods promotes health.” Studies suggest that eating more plant foods, such as turnip greens, decreases the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality. They can promote a healthy complexion, increase energy, and lead to an overall lower weight. They may also help prevent some eye diseases, dementia, and osteoporosis.
Fresh turnip greens should have firm, deep green leaves. Smaller leaves will be tenderer with a milder flavor. Turnip greens will keep fresh in the refrigerator. People can eat turnip greens:
- raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps
- braised, boiled, or sautéed
- added to soups and casseroles
Combined with black-eyed peas and brown rice, they make a healthy version of a southern favorite.
Here are some other ways to used turnip greens:
- Add a handful of fresh leaves to an omelet or scramble
- Blend a handful of greens into a fresh juice or smoothie
- Sauté greens in a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Eat as a side dish or top your baked potato.
Avoiding frying in bacon fat or lard or overcooking as this will can trigger a potent and bitter sulfur taste.
13. Purple Kohlrabi
The Kohlrabi belongs to the brassica family same as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale among others. It originated in Europe and is quite young compared to some other microgreens. It’s said it was developed in northern Europe not long before the 16th century and later entered into American society.
The name comes from the German Kohl which means cabbage and Rabi which is the Swiss-German variant of the turnip.
GENERAL NUTRITION & BENEFITS
As with all microgreens, the Kohlrabi is not short on healthy benefits! It is filled with nutritions such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates. These are known to help with digestion, weight loss, vision and other health issues.
Kohlrabi microgreens are also high in calcium, iron, and manganese which are beneficial when it comes to boosting bone strength.
Despite their size, the best microgreens to grow have more nutrients than their grown counterparts. That is because, at the cotyledon stage, they need huge amounts of nutrients to grow. So this is the best time to enjoy their nutritional benefits.
Aside from adding crunch and flavor to your meal, these microgreens are pretty easy to grow, so why not start growing them at home?
Microgreen Cultivation Cost Analysis
A 10”x20” tray of microgreens typically yields about 8 oz of microgreens. With 1 oz per 6”x6”x 3” tall container and an average market rate of $2.75 per oz, the yield is 8 x $2.75 = $22
Each 10”x20” tray uses about 1 oz of seeds which cost about $1.00
The same size tray uses a comparable size strip of hemp grow mat which costs about $1.00
If you use free sunlight the cost is $2 to make $22 of food each week.
If you use a grow light (12 hours of illumination each day) the cost over a week is about $0.50, which increases the cost to $2.50 to make $22 of food each week.
Either way, cultivating microgreens at home is very cost effective!
To put it in context fresh veggies each day costs less than 50 cents.
At a monthly level, $2.50 per week over four weeks is just $10, and that is comparable to the cost of a service like Netflix. Spending $10 each month to make almost $100 of food is awesome on so many levels.
The setup cost is also very affordable:
Lower tray (no holes)
Upper tray (with drainable holes)
Germination cover tray (no holes)
Each one costs about $5, so the total is only $15.
If you don’t have a water sprayer they are usually only about $2.50 to $5.
If you wan to use a grow light, they are about $30 for a 10”x20” tray.
Microgreen Cultivation Time Analysis
If you have 1 minute in the morning to spray the greens and another minute in the evening to do the same, then you have enough time to grow microgreens at home.
If you have the few seconds that it takes to harvest the microgreens with scissors or sheers then you also have enough time to enjoy the “farm to table” advantages of microgreens.
Microgreen Cultivation Tips (One Page)
Microgreens are easy to grow on a small scale and can thrive indoors if sunlight is available or with a light-emitting diode (LED) fixture for controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Grow Mat Cultivation: StudentFarmers.org recommends Grow Mat Cultivation over Soil Cultivation because of the ease of the farming, harvesting, and packaging.
1. Sowing seeds: Scatter the seeds over a moist grow mat (e.g. hemp) in a double planter tray that has drainage holes in the upper tray and no-holes in the lower tray. This allows excess water in germination and vegetation to drain into the lower tray and prevent overwatering and mold. Spray the seeds with water from a misting sprayer and make sure not to have the sprayer head so close to the seeds that it moves them. Spray the underside of a third tray (no-holes) and turn it upside down to cover the seeds on the grow mat. This is important for the first three days, given that germination occurs in darkness. For a 10” x 20” tray you will typically need 1 oz of seeds, which is the equivalent of ¼” cup or about 8 to 10 teaspoons of seeds.
2. Germination: Place the tray setup in a cool dark place or at least a counter that is not near a sunny window. Lift the upper lid and mist the seeds on the grow mattwith water twice daily for three days or until some of the stalks are 1” to 1.5” in height. Make sure to place the top tray back over the germinating seeds each day. If you do not mist the baby stalks you will start to see white fuzz. Do not be alarmed, because it is just root hairs and the water from the spray bottle will make them disappear. The baby stalks will look yellow given that they have not yet been exposed to sunlight or a grow light which turns them green though photosynthesis.
3. Vegetation: On day four remove the cover tray, and place the microgreens on or near a sunny windowsill (preferably facing south) or under a grow light. You can mist the microgreens once or twice daily but it is not required. What is required is watering the plants. Once a day lift the edge of one of the short ends of the upper tray and pour ½ liter (approx 16 fluid ounces) of water into the lower tray, which is the one without the drainage holes. This will fill it up to between ¼” and ½” of water to help keep the roots and Grow Mat moist. You will see that the roots start to “reach” down from the upper to the lower tray to absorb the water. Check about 12 hours from when you added water to see if the lower tray is dry or near dry. If so, add another ½ liter, and typically do not add more than 1 full liter or 32 fluid ounces is any 24 hour period. The key is to keep the roots wet.
4. Harvest: After about 7 to 10 days from the time that the microgreens have been in the light, you will be ready to harvest when the greens are about 2” to 3” in height. To harvest, use scissors or shears to cut the microgreens at the base of their stalks near the top edge of the soil. If you do not eat the microgreens within 1 to 3 days of the harvest, then you will want to cut the Grow Mat vs the microgreens into sections that fit into a sealed container such as clamshell. They will last approximately one week, while refrigerated. Since you have not cut the microgreens they are technically still “living” so they are fresh up until the moment that you eat them. You can also cut and freeze microgreens in a freezer friendly bag or container if you do not expect to eat them all within a week.
SUPPORT INFO in Soil vs Water
Soil Cultivation: People wishing to grow their own microgreens can follow these steps:
1. Sowing seeds: Scatter the seeds over an inch of potting soil in a planter dish or tray and cover with another thin layer of soil. For a 10” x 20” tray you will typically need 1 oz of seeds, which is the equivalent of ¼” cup or about 8 to 10 teaspoons of seeds.
2. Mist the soil with water twice a day and place near a source of sunlight or a grow light.
3. Continue to mist the seeds twice daily to keep the soil moist.
- Germination: The seeds in the darkness of the soil will take about two days to germinate before the sprouts emerge above the soil.
- Vegetation: To keep the soil moist, gently pour about ½ liter (approx 16 fluid ounces) of water over the grow tray. This is the approximate amount of daily water needed for a tray that is 10” x 20”. Depending on the depth of the soil and the humidity level you may need to add another ½ liter each day 12 hours after the first watering. Typically do not exceed 1 full liter per day. After about 7 to 10 days of vegetation from the time that the microgreen sprouts emerge from the soil, you will be ready to harvest when the greens are about 2” to 3” in height.
- Harvest: To harvest, use scissors or shears to cut the microgreens at the base of their stalks near the top edge of the soil. If you do not eat the microgreens within 1 to 3 days of the harvest, then you will want to cut and place them in a sealable plastic bag or container and place them in the refrigerator. They will last approximately one week, while refrigerated. Since you have cut the microgreens they are technically “dying” so the sooner you eat them the better as it relates to freshness and retention of their nutrients. You can also freeze microgreens in a freezer friendly bag or container if you do not expect to eat them all within a week.
The Nine most common Plant-based diet myths debunked
1. A Plant-Based Diet Is Restrictive
2. Plant-Based Food Isn’t Healthy
3. A Plant-Based Diet Isn’t Suitable for Children
4. You’ll Be Deficient in B12
5. Plant-Based Food Is Low in Calcium
6. A Plant-Based Diet Is Low in Iron
7. You Won’t Get Enough Protein
8. Plant-Based Is Expensive
9. Plants Aren’t Suitable for Animals
Turnip – Healthy Skin and Hair, Reducing Anemia, Osteoporosis Prevention, Cancer Prevention and Treatment, Diabetes, Digestion, Fertility and Pregnancy, Sleep and Mood
Radish – Heart Health
Collard – Cholesterol Improvement
Broccoli – Heart Health, Digestion, Immune System, Cancer Prevention
Purple Kohlrabi – Digestion, Weight Loss, Vision, Bone strength
SUPERFOOD Specialty BAT MIX
Broccoli – Heart Health, Digestion, Immune System, Cancer Prevention
Arugula – Sports Performance, Blood Pressure Reduction, Cancer Prevention, Vision Protection, Wound Healing, Liver Detoxification, and Prevention of Bad Breath. and Body Odor.
Turnip – Healthy Skin and Hair, Reducing Anemia, Osteoporosis Prevention, Cancer and Diabetes Prevention and Treatment, and improved Digestion, Sleep, Mood, and Sun-damaged skin.
NOTE: Arugula is the addition to the specialty “BAT” MIX, because of the numerous benefits.
6 Healthy Reasons to Eat Arugula: https://www.phlabs.com/6-healthy-reasons-to-eat-arugula
Arugula is one of those magical plants that is usually touted as being good for male fertility. It has been used as a natural aphrodisiac as early as the first century and is associated with the Roman god of fertility. It is a bright, peppery green native to the Mediterranean region and belongs to the mustard family of plants along with broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnip and bok choy. And while I’m skeptical about this little green’s ability to significantly enhance sexual desire, after doing some research, I am confident that arugula can do a lot of great things for your health.
- Arugula may boost athletic performance.
Arugula is rich in nitrate. Out of the top 10 widely available sources of nitrate, arugula ranked #1. Nitrate consumed from certain foods, like arugula, may help improve endurance. Several studies suggest that dietary nitrate improves athletic ability by improving oxygen delivery and utilization. “Following ingestion, nitrate is converted in the body to nitrite and stored and circulated in the blood. In conditions of low oxygen availability, nitrite can be converted into nitric oxide, which is known to play a number of important roles in vascular and metabolic control,” reports the National Institutes for Health (NIH). “Dietary nitrate supplementation increases plasma nitrite concentration and reduces resting blood pressure. Intriguingly, nitrate supplementation also reduces the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise and can, in some circumstances, enhance exercise tolerance and performance.”
- Arugula may be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
The nitrate in arugula may help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. “Dietary nitrate has been demonstrated to have a range of beneficial vascular effects, including reducing blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, preserving or improving endothelial dysfunction, enhancing exercise performance in healthy individuals and patients with peripheral arterial disease,” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Arugula is also a good source of potassium (74 mg per cup) and magnesium (9 mg per cup). Both of these minerals may help combat high blood pressure. Increasing your potassium intake while reducing the sodium intake in your diet may improve hypertension. Increased potassium may offset the adverse health effects of sodium.
- Arugula may help prevent cancer.
When you chew arugula and it breaks down, it releases a type of phytochemical called indoles. “During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates,” according to the National Cancer Institute. “Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.” Indoles may help protect you from cancer by preventing DNA damage to cells, inactivating carcinogens, preventing inflammation, inducing apoptosis (cell death) and inhibiting tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell migration. One of the main isothiocyanates in arugula is called erucin, which may inhibit proliferation of tumor cells.
- Arugula may help protect your vision and eye health.
One raw cup of arugula (which is very little, especially if you cook it) contains 285 mcgs of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical for the health of your eyes. “To see the full spectrum of light, your eye needs to produce certain pigments for the photoreceptor cells in your retina to work properly. Vitamin A deficiency stops the production of these pigments, leading to night blindness,” according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Your eye also needs vitamin A to nourish other parts of your eye, including the cornea, the clear covering on the front of your eye. Without enough vitamin A, your eyes cannot produce enough moisture to keep them properly lubricated.” Arugula is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (711 mcg in one raw cup). These are two carotenoids and antioxidants that concentrate in eye tissue. According to the American Optometric Association, “[l]utein and zeaxanthin filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes. Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only these two are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye.” These carotenoids may help prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of visual impairment and acquired blindness in aging Americans.
- Arugula may increase mineral absorption.
Not only is arugula nutrient-dense, but it may also increase mineral absorption in the body due to its low level of oxalates. Oxalates are organic acids naturally found in many plant foods, including leafy veggies like spinach and beet greens. Although they do not block the absorption of minerals completely, oxalates may reduce the absorption of calcium, iron and other minerals. Arugula, however, happens to have a very low level of oxalates. This does not mean that you should avoid eating spinach and other foods that contain oxalates. But if you already suffer with malabsorption issues, it might not be a bad idea to talk to your doctor about reducing oxalates in your diet. Maybe eating more arugula than spinach is a better option for you. Every individual is different regarding nutrient and dietary needs, so this is why it is important to discuss your needs with a competent healthcare professional.
- Another major reason why you may want to eat arugula…chlorophyll!
Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants. When humans consume it, it may provide a variety of health benefits, including reducing oxidative stress, preventing the growth of bad bacteria in the gut, helping with wound healing, restoring red blood cells and detoxing the liver.
It may even help prevent bad breath and body odor!
Do you know your Arugula?: