Microgreens: why small is big when it comes to health benefits

Laël Heasman of Grow Mo’Microgreens explains what microgreens are, why they're so good for you and how best to enjoy them

06 October 2019 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Microgreens are very nutrient dense.
Microgreens are very nutrient dense.
Image: Supplied

What exactly are microgreens?

A microgreen is any green herb or vegetable at the growth stage just after it has sprouted from seed, one to five days old, but before the 'baby green' stage of eight to 21 days.

After five to 10 days' growth, a microgreen has fully developed roots and typically two cotyledon leaves, and first 'true' leaves might just be starting to emerge.

A baby green, on the other hand, has its first true leaves fully developed.

What are the health benefits of microgreens?

The closer you can get to the sprouting, the more nutrient-dense the greens are by weight.

Depending on the variety, and the specific nutrient in question, a microgreen can be anywhere from five to 100 times more nutrient-dense by weight than its adult version.

Broccoli is particularly interesting. It contains sulforaphane, a compound created when the enzyme myrosinase combines with the phytochemical glucoraphanin when chewed or blended. Sulforaphane is the most potent natural stimulator of our human immune system. It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiviral effects.

Broccoli sprouts are the most dense source of the pre-cursor compounds and are high in fibre, vitamin C, as well as vitamin A, calcium and iron.

How do you grow your microgreens?

We grow microgreens in an indoor, controlled-environment urban farm in the heart of Joburg, in a perfect oxygen-rich environment - aeroponics - for the healthiest produce.

No pesticides are used.

What can you do with a punnet of sprouts?

  • Looking for a snack? Grab a handful of sprouts;
  • Add them to your green juice or smoothie;
  • Sprinkle cereal, fruit and yoghurt with some sprouts;
  • Nothing like a sandwich finished off with a helping of sprouts. Add to cheese, meat, tuna, lettuce, tomato, even peanut butter;
  • Add a large handful to salads;
  • Finish off a stir-fry with a sprinkling of sprouts;
  • A drizzle of sprouts make a great garnish for soups - hot or cold; and
  • Munch on sprouts instead of crisps or other less healthy snacks.

For more information and where to get broccoli and other sprouts, visit growmo.co.za