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Are Microgreens Healthier?

By Michael Greger M.D.
June 5, 2013
File under: Greens, Healthy Eating, Vegan

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently published a study assessing the nutrition content of 25 commercially available microgreens, seedlings of vegetables and herbs that have gained popularity in upscale markets and restaurants.[1]

Just a few inches tall, these microgreens boast intense flavors and vivid colors, but what about their nutritional content? No one knew until now.

For instance, we’ve known for quite some time that baby spinach leaves have higher levels of phytonutrients than mature spinach leaves.[2] What about really baby spinach that may be just a week or two old?

Microgreens won hands down (leaves down?), possessing significantly higher nutrient densities than mature leaves. For example, red cabbage microgreens have a six-fold higher vitamin C concentration than mature red cabbage and 69 times the mount of vitamin K.

Microgreens are definitively more nutrient dense, however these nutritious young greens are often eaten in small quantities. Even the healthiest garnish isn’t going to make much of a difference to one’s health, and microgreens may cost as much as $30 a pound!

However it can make perfect sense to BYOM – Birth Your Own Microgreens!

You can keep rotating trays of micro salad greens that you can snip off with clean kitchen scissors as you need them. It is a lot like gardening for the impatient. You can enjoy fully-grown microgreens in as little as seven to fourteen days! If that is too long a wait for you, then you might want to consider sprouting?

Dr Greger’s Videos:

You may watch this one-minute video, Antioxidants Sprouting Up to find out what happens to the antioxidant content of seeds, grains and beans when you sprout them.

Sprouting right in your own kitchen is easy and really inexpensive. Homemade sprouts are probably the most nutrition-per-unit-cost you can get for your money.

View the video, Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck, to see where homegrown sprouts have beat out the previous champ, purple cabbage.

Superfood Bargains, The Best Detox and Sulforaphane From Broccoli to Breast are videos that demonstrate how Broccoli sprouts are probably the best choice, overall.

I would recommend against either growing or buying alfalfa sprouts. This is because even when home sprouted there can be fecal bacteria from manure hiding in the nooks and crannies of alfalfa seeds that have been the cause of illness.

For further information, please view this video: Don’t Eat Raw Alfalfa Sprouts.

Michael Greger, M.D., an author and internationally recognized speaker on healthy eating, has produced hundreds of nutrition videos available at Follow Dr. Greger on Twitter


[1] Xiao Z, Lester GE, Luo Y, Wang Q. Assessment of vitamin and carotenoid concentrations of emerging food products: edible microgreens. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 8;60(31):7644-51.


[2] Lester GE, Hallman GJ, Pérez JA. gamma-Irradiation dose: effects on baby-leaf spinach ascorbic acid, carotenoids, folate, alpha-tocopherol, and phylloquinone concentrations. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 28;58(8):4901-6.


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An alternative approach to health, wellness and disease prevention. Marie Oser and her team of bloggers bring you creative natural solutions to issues affecting our health and wellbeing.

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