What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are tiny edible vegetables that are harvested in the early stages of the growth cycle. Microgreens are small, but a real taste experience. Basically Microgreens are germinated seeds. That is why they are also called Seedlings or Sprouts. 

In addition to the taste, bribing microgreens through their high nutrient density (vitamins, ballasts, iron, minerals and essential oils etc.) to approx. 4-40 times more than fully grown vegetables.

Microgreens in a nutshell...

The germinated seeds and kernels are not only richer in nutrients, but also have less anti-nutrients (lectins, phytic acid). This makes them an important part of a healthy diet. So that the sprouts fresh and storage-sensitive vitamins are not lost, we recommend buying them close to home.

How healthy are seedlings and microgreens really?

Germinated seeds are considered to be particularly nutritious. But are sprouts really as healthy as they say? We are convinced that sprouts are healthy. And this can be read everywhere. But we want to tell you why and how healthy sprouts really are. In addition, they can be easily integrated into our diet. In cold dishes as well as warm dishes, they are part of a healthy diet. Healthy benefits at a glance:

  • More phytonutrients than full-grown vegetables
  • Few calories with a high nutrient density
  • Low content of nitrate
  • Intense taste
  • Full-grown vegetables have more mass and therefore saturate faster. 

But what about the nutrients?

Two recent studies compared adult vegetables with green herbs. Compared to their ripe vegetable counterparts, microgreens contain higher amounts of important phytonutrients (ascorbic acid, β-carotene, α-tocopherol and phylloquinone), minerals (Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn, Se and Mo) and less nitrates. Based on this comparison, one of the studies recommended microgreens for human nutrition, especially for children. Less nitrates than vegetables Nitrate is necessary for the growth of the plants. However, due to intensive agriculture and fertilization, ever larger quantities of it end up in the groundwater, in the soil and in the plant itself. Arugula, radishes and salads in particular store many nitrates in the plant. Microgreens, on the other hand, are less affected than the adult plants. The nitrate itself is not dangerous. Only when it is converted to nitrite can it become harmful to the body. This happens through bacteria in the stomach, in the mouth or in stored food. The converted nitrite can hinder the oxygen transport in the blood and thereby endanger health.

What vitamins are contained in seedlings?

The content of vitamins strongly depends on the type of sprout. One study1 examined 25 microgreens. The vitamin C content of the sprouts was between 20.4 and 147.0 mg per 100 g fresh weight. The vitamin E types α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol were between 4.9 and 87.4 and 3.0 and 39.4 mg / 100 g fresh weight. The study concluded that red cabbage, coriander, amaranth and green daikon radish have the highest concentrations of ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phylloquinone and tocopherols. A red bell pepper has a ratio of 140mg and a lemon has 53mg vitamin C per 100g. It should be said that the paprika holds a top position in the usual vegetables. However, the vitamin C content can drop sharply due to long or incorrect storage. Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, we increasingly find it in vegetable oils. Wheat germ oil is the frontrunner with 185mg per 100g. Green herbs provide less vitamin E than wheat germ oil, but in comparison to other, fully grown vegetables, significantly more: broccoli 1mg / 100g.

Which minerals are contained in sprouts?

The proportions of minerals differ according to the type of microgreens. It mainly contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

How much protein do sprouts have?

The amount of protein increases only minimally from seed to sprout. With microgreens, the protein content increases more clearly due to the longer growth time. The type of protein is much more important than the protein content. Investigations showed that after two to three days of germination, the storage proteins (albumin, globulin, glutein, prolamine) were split into peptides and amino acids. These forms are more bioavailable.

Breakdown of lectins

Legumes in particular have many lectins in their unprocessed state, for example phasins in kidney beans or phaseolamines in chickpeas. These lectins are classified as highly toxic, but lose their toxicity through cooking. The germination process also affects these lectins. The proteins are converted and partially lose their toxicity. Due to the toxicity of the lectins, we recommend briefly heating sprouts from legumes. Other sprouts and green herbs do not have to or should not be heated.

Reduction of phytic acid

Phytic acids are found in many foods, especially grains and legumes. Although they are not unhealthy, they inhibit the absorption of zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and manganese. In tests9, germination reduced the phytate content by 60% after 12 to 72 hours. In millet, phytates were reduced by 87% after four days. By reducing the phytic acid, the bioavailability of minerals can be improved. The experiments showed that the availability of iron from wheat increased from 14% to 37% through germination.

Rich in fiber

The high fiber content is not the only advantage of sprouts, because even grown vegetables are rich in fiber. Only with sufficient fiber can our intestines build a diverse and robust microbiome. This microbiome is a symbiosis of many different microorganisms that are all part of our immune system.

Colourful with an intense taste

The aromas in sprouts and seedlings are more concentrated than in the full-grown plants. For example, broccoli sprouts are much sharper than their adult counterparts. Not only their taste is diverse and intense. The colours between the varieties also differ. The most common colours are whitish, green and purple. The colours are particularly bright as long as the plants are still fresh. If they have been cut in the air for longer, they usually become darker.

What do you use Microgreens for?

As a garnish: Microgreens are ideal as a garnish for almost any dish. The colourful varieties such as beetroot and red mustard add a splash of color to soups, salads, sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

As a salad: Microgreens are the star of the plate! Great as a garnish but even better as a main ingredient in salads. There are an unlimited number of combinations, from varieties and flavours to experiment with.

In sandwiches, burgers and wraps: Microgreens are ideal instead of salad on sandwiches. They are a fantastic addition to vegetarian / pita sandwiches, and can even be used in burgers and wraps.

Any Questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be helpful.