LIVE WELL: Microgreens

For today’s installment of LIVE WELL, I thought I’d venture down the healthy greens byway. I’ve become fairly familiar with the usual suspects like spinach, kale, arugula, etc., but one thing I’ve always wondered about are microgreens. Their physical appearance is quite different than that of their leafy cousins and I’m not even sure what their nutritional value is. So let’s dive in, shall we?

What are microgreens?

Microgreens, not to be confused with sprouts (because they do look similar), are made up of the shoot of several different well-known leafy greens. Think arugula, Swiss chard, beetroot, mustard greens, and several others varieties. They do not contain the root of the plant, making them different than sprouts, and are harvested at the “seedling stage,” which is why they’re so small and delicate in appearance.

Depending on what kinds of vegetable seeds you use to grow your microgreens, they can have all kinds of different flavor profiles. From more sweet tasting options to spicy, there is quite the variety.

What’s the nutritional value?

After doing a bit of research, it turns out microgreens and their nutritional value were pretty elusive until recently. A study done by the USDA in 2014 determined that they actually do pack quite the nutritional punch. After testing 25 varieties of microgreens, it was discovered they contain “considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids—about five times greater—than their mature plant counterparts.” The vitamins found include C, K and E. And carotenoids are naturally-occurring organic pigments that act as antioxidants and can protect against the effects of aging, according to the internet.

So this means eating microgreens can seemingly intensify the health benefits we see from eating everyday greens. Can you say new kitchen staple?!

How to eat them

Microgreens are probably most commonly seen as dainty toppers for fancy dishes (or basically everywhere in LA). After doing this research, though, you can count on me including them in just about every meal possible. I think they’d be great mixed in with salads, bowls or as a garnish on soups and other hot dishes. Safe to say microgreens definitely feel like the next trendy superfood!

Have you ever given them a try? Would love to hear how you incorporate them into your diet!

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

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