Doctors are always reminding us of the importance of including more leafy greens into our diets, but how nutritious are they, really? Iceberg lettuce may just be full of water. Some leafy greens are bitter and not really tasty. Then there is the whole world of microgreens. Microgreens are greens that have been harvested before maturation, usually about seven to 14 days after the seeds have germinated. The result is a tiny green about one to three inches tall with more flavor and a higher concentration of nutrients.
Not everyone is fond of eating their leafy greens. Just the sight of these large and sometimes tasteless veggies is enough to turn some people off completely. Microgreens are more colorful and flavorful versions of the larger real thing. You can enjoy microgreen versions of arugula, chives, chard, cabbage, beets, cilantro, kale, parsley, radishes, and more. Many restaurants have begun to feature entrees with microgreens on their menus. People enjoy the visual appeal added by microgreens, and an appealing dish is often a delicious dish.
Microgreens may have just found their way onto restaurant menus, but they date back to the 1980s in San Francisco, like so many health food trends. In the 1990s, microgreens popularity expanded to Southern California, but with a limited selection. Basil, beets, kale, and arugula were the most common varieties. Naturally, the most popular way to consume microgreens was in salads.
While it is true leafy greens contain most of the nutrients required to maintain a healthy diet, imagine taking that same food quality and jam-packing into a smaller version. Enter, microgreens. All the important vitamins and minerals found in the larger versions of a vegetable are in the smaller microgreens, as well. Swiss chard is very high in vitamins K, A, and C, but many people do not enjoy its taste. The microgreen version adds a colorful and nutrient-packed punch to any salad. Beets are full of manganese and folate, and beet microgreens can be added to many dishes.
Shopping for leafy greens in the grocery store does not come cheap. The more specialized the leafy green is, the more likely it is to be expensive. As more people shop for microgreens, demand will increase, and the price will decrease. If the store-bought variety is out of your price range, you still have options. Microgreens are easy and convenient to grow in your own home, on a sunlit counter, in window sill boxes, even in the garden.
Heart disease has become one of the biggest issues in contemporary society. For many, hectic work and life schedules equal frequent trips to fast food drive-throughs or shopping carts full of processed foods, most of which contain a lot of sodium, fat and other additives. Reducing the amount of fast and processed food you eat is a great start to reducing your risk of heart disease, and microgreens can add more vitamins and nutrients you need further distance yourself from these life-threatening conditions.
Learn to love your microgreens -- they can help reduce your risk of prostate cancer and cancers that affect the digestive tract. Powerful antioxidants prevent the buildup of harmful free radicals associated with cancer. People with inflammation issues may know turmeric and other spices help reduce flare-ups, but a good, colorful and tasty salad with microgreens can help, too.
Any medical professional will tell you obesity, and type 2 diabetes go hand in hand. Type 2 diabetes involves insulin resistance. In people with obesity, the cells become less sensitive to insulin released from the pancreas. Glucose remains in the bloodstream instead of being delivered to the cells. Studies show fat cells may be even more resistant to insulin. Many microgreens, including arugula, Brussels sprouts, and kale help fight obesity and encourage weight loss and management. Other microgreens help keep blood sugar levels in check.
Microgreens are not just sprouts. They needn't serve as simple salad garnishes -- they can be the star of the show. It is true what they say; you eat with your eyes first. Take a look at a salad piled high with microgreens and a salad with plain iceberg or romaine lettuce. Chances are your eyes will be drawn to the microgreen salad, and it will taste as good as it looks.
If you are not a fan of eating salads, there are many ways to incorporate microgreens into your diet. Basil microgreens can be added to sauces and marinades. Sandwich-lovers can top meat and cheese with crunchy arugula and kale microgreens. It's best to add your microgreens to the sandwich just before you eat it.
The smoothie has become a popular breakfast choice. Fruit and yogurt make them sweet, but adding some microgreens can take the nutrient value over the top. A dose of kale microgreens will help kick start your digestive system into motion. You can add enough other ingredients to mask the taste, or you might come to enjoy the fresh flavor.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.