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Microgreens 40 times the nutrients? Myth or Fact?

We've been getting inquiries about microgreens lately from people who've never eaten them before but have heard from friends or online that they are up to 40 times more nutrient dense than the adult plant. It's become a common catch phrase associated with microgreens marketing that you'll probably see online. We know in general through research  and hearsay that microgreens are generally packed with a lot of nutrients but I wanted to investigate is that really true that microgreens are 40 times more nutrient dense?


So naturally what I do when I'm curious about something? I dive into the world of Google Scholar to see what researchers are saying these days. From what I can understand, the conclusion as of today is yes microgreens can have up to 40 times the nutrients but it depends on the variety. Each variety of microgreen can have wildly different levels of nutrients as a microgreen versus an adult plant. For example, research seems to be showing that broccoli microgreens does have significantly higher vitamins and minerals levels than the adult broccoli floret.



Another example is Red Acre cabbage have been observed by researcher to have 40 times the levels of vitamin E than it would as a mature vegetable. One research study that was analyzing nutrient levels of 25 microgreens versus their adult form and found that the highest levels of Vitamin C, vitamin K1 and vitamin E were in red acre cabbage, amaranth and daikon radish microgreens. "In terms of carotenoids, cilantro microgreens showed the highest concentration of lutein/zeaxanthin and violaxanthin and ranked second in β-carotene concentration" (Zhang, 2021). In general, there are clear examples of very high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants being measured in microgreens.


Another interesting consideration is not only if microgreens or adult vegetables have 40 times the nutrients, but also that the vegetable can have varying levels of different nutrients depending on whether you eat it as a microgreen or adult vegetable. For example, if you eat kale as a microgreen, you are likely getting the highest levels possible of minerals (Compared to if you were to eat kale as a baby green or adult plant). However, the adult kale plant may have had the lowest mineral level, but had highest level of calcium and magnesium. 


So the short answer is yes! Microgreens can have up to 40 times the nutrients compared to the vegetable in their adult form but it depends on the variety. So we always like to say the more variety in your diet, the better!



Sources

Waterland, Nicole L., Moon Youyoun, Tou, Janet C., Pena-Yewtukhiw, Park, Suejin. Mineral Content Differs among Microgreen, Baby Leaf and Adult Stages in Three Cultivars of Kale. HortScience 52(4):566-571. 2017.

Weber, Carolyn F. Broccoli Microgreens: A Mineral-Rich Crop That Can Diversify Food Systems. Frontiers Nutr. Vol.4. Sec. Plant Nutrition. 2017

Zhang, Yanqi, Xiao, Zhenlei, Ager, Emily, Kong, Lingyan, Tan, Libo.

Nutritional quality and health benefits of microgreens, a crop of modern agriculture. Journal of Future Foods. Vol 1 Issue 1, September 2021. pg 58-66.


Note* This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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