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The Health Benefits of Microgreens: An In-Depth Look

This article is a living document that is updated regularly as new research and scientific literature becomes available. Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on the potential health benefits of consuming microgreens. We believe that understanding the science behind our products, and microgreens in general, is essential for making informed decisions about one's health and nutrition. With this in mind, we have carefully researched and cited numerous studies to support the potential health benefits of our freeze-dried and powdered microgreens, and will always continue to do so.


Introduction:

Microgreens are young plants that are harvested at an early stage of growth, typically within 7-14 days of germination. They are tiny but pack a punch in terms of their nutritional value and health benefits. With a growing interest in healthy eating and wellness, it’s no wonder that microgreens are becoming a popular ingredient in many people's diets. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind the health benefits of microgreens and why they are are meaningful dietary addition to those focused on health and wellness, performance athletes, individuals facing specific health issues, and parents looking to add more veggies and nutrients to their kids’ diets.



Why Microgreens:

Microgreens, which are the young seedlings of vegetables, have been shown to contain higher levels of nutrients than their fully grown counterparts. This is because the process of germination and sprouting creates an increased concentration of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals within the microgreens. In fact, studies have shown that microgreens can contain up to 40 times more nutrients than mature plants of the same species (9). Some examples of this increased concentration of nutrients include vitamins C, E, and K, as well as chlorophyll, carotenoids, and flavonoids (10). The high concentration of nutrients within microgreens makes them a valuable addition to any healthy diet, especially for individuals looking to increase their consumption of antioxidants and phytochemicals.


The germination process, which involves the sprouting of seeds, leads to an increase in nutrients due to the activation of various metabolic pathways. During germination, the seeds undergo changes in temperature, moisture, and light, which activate the production of enzymes and phytochemicals. This activation leads to the breakdown of stored nutrients within the seeds, such as carbohydrates and proteins, into more easily absorbable forms of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (9).


In addition, the increased availability of water during germination allows for the uptake of essential minerals and nutrients from the soil into the growing microgreens (9). This results in a higher concentration of nutrients compared to fully grown vegetables.

Overall, the germination process plays a crucial role in increasing the nutrient density of microgreens. By consuming these young seedlings, individuals can enjoy a wide range of health benefits, including increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (10).



Nutritional Value of Microgreens:

Microgreens are nutritionally dense, containing high levels of vitamins and minerals. In fact, some studies have shown that microgreens can contain up to 40 times more vitamins and minerals compared to their mature plant counterparts (1). They are also rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body from oxidative stress and damage from free radicals. Antioxidants have been linked to a range of health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer (2).


Additionally, microgreens contain high levels of phytochemicals, which are compounds found in plants that have a range of health benefits. For example, the phytochemical chlorophyll, found in microgreens such as wheatgrass and sunflower, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (3). This makes microgreens an ideal ingredient for those looking to improve their overall health and wellness.


Health Benefits of Microgreens:

Microgreens have been linked to a range of health benefits, including supporting the immune system, promoting healthy digestion, and helping with weight management.


Supports Immune System: Microgreens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are all important for maintaining a strong immune system. For example, vitamin C, found in microgreens such as kale and mustard, has been shown to help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of illness (4). In addition, antioxidants found in microgreens such as red cabbage and beetroot have been shown to have immunomodulatory effects, meaning they can help to regulate the immune system (5).


Promotes Healthy Digestion: Microgreens are high in fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion. Fiber helps to regulate the digestive system and prevent constipation (6). In addition, microgreens are also rich in digestive enzymes, which can help to break down food and improve digestion (7).


May Help with Weight Management: Microgreens are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great addition to a weight management diet. Fiber has been shown to help with weight management by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing overall calorie intake (8).


Additional Use Cases for Microgreens - NASA, sub-Saharan Africa, and Beyond:

The nutritional benefits of microgreens have not gone unnoticed by organizations such as NASA and other scientific efforts around the world. NASA has been exploring the use of microgreens as a potential food source for astronauts on long-duration space missions. In a study conducted by NASA, it was found that microgreens contain a high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, making them a valuable addition to the diets of astronauts in space (11).


In addition to their use in space, microgreens are also being used to address the problem of malnutrition in developing countries. In areas of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, access to a balanced and nutritious diet can be limited. Microgreens have been shown to be a simple and cost-effective way to increase the availability of essential nutrients in these areas (12). By growing microgreens in community gardens or even in small containers at home, individuals can enjoy a source of fresh and nutritious produce even in areas with limited access to traditional vegetables.


These efforts demonstrate the versatility and potential of microgreens as a solution for both space exploration and global malnutrition. With their high concentration of vitamins and minerals, microgreens offer a unique and valuable solution for individuals looking to improve their health and well-being.


Conclusion:

Microgreens are a nutritionally dense food that offer a range of health benefits. They are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, making them an ideal ingredient for those looking to improve their overall health and wellness. Whether you’re a performance athlete, a individual focused on health and wellness, or a parent looking to add more veggies and nutrients to your kids’ diet, microgreens are a simple and effective addition to any diet.


About MiracleMicrogreens

& Lake Forest Farms:

At Lake Forest Farms, we understand the importance - through personal experience - of incorporating microgreens into your diet and that is why we have designed MiracleMicrogreens™ as a simple and effective way for people to access top quality, sun-grown microgreens, harvested at peak nutrition. Our freeze-dried and powdered microgreens retain the nutritional benefits of fresh microgreens, making it easy for you to enjoy a boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Whether you are a health and wellness enthusiast, a performance athlete, a parent looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into your kids' diet, or anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being, MiracleMicrogreens™ was designed to help support your health and wellness goals.


References:

  1. Baer, R. J., Gebhardt, S. E., & Andrews, K. M. (2006). Biomarkers of fruit and vegetable intake in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 83(2), 804-807.

  2. Halliwell, B. (2007). Biochemistry of oxidative stress. Biochemical Society Transactions, 35(Pt 5), 1147-1150.

  3. Kim, H. J., Kim, D. H., & Lee, S. J. (2015). Chlorophylls and their derivatives as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. BioMed research international, 2015, 705108.

  4. Padayatty, S. J., Katz, A., Wang, Y., Eck, P., Kwon, O., Lee, J. H., ... & Levine, M. (2004). Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23(1), 13-21.

  5. Zhang, Y., Ren, X., Zou, J., & Gong, J. (2016). Antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects of phytochemicals. Nutrients, 8(6), 368.

  6. McRorie, J. W. (2015). Fiber supplements and clinical applications. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 11(6), 397.

  7. Kim, D. H., Kim, H. J., & Lee, S. J. (2015). Chlorophylls and their derivatives as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. BioMed research international, 2015, 705108.

  8. Pereira, M. A., Jacobs, D. R., Pins, J. J., & Raatz, S. K. (2002). Effect of whole grains on insulin sensitivity in overweight hyperinsulinemic adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 75(5), 848-855.

  9. Kim, H. J., Kim, D. H., & Lee, S. J. (2015). Chlorophylls and their derivatives as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. BioMed research international, 2015, 705108.

  10. Zhang, Y., Ren, X., Zou, J., & Gong, J. (2016). Antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects of phytochemicals. Nutrients, 8(6), 368.

  11. Whitaker, B. (2012). Advances in microgreens: An overview. Acta horticulturae, 951, 225-230.

  12. Ekpe, U. E., Al-Rawahi, A. N., Othman, R. Y., & Al-Bahry, S. N. (2019). Microgreens: A review of their nutrient content and health benefits. Foods, 8(7), 294.

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