Taste of Health Francesca Ballicu | 5 years ago

Meet the Leafy Greens You Have to Eat to Believe

Mighty Microgreens: Tiny. Tasty. Bursting with Benefits.

By Kate Brun, owner of Concord, N.C.-based Lucky Leaf Gardens, who has grown microgreens commercially since 2010.  No longer just a trend, microgreens continue to grow in popularity because of their status as true powerhouses of the superfood circuit. Grown for about a week, microgreens are essentially tiny vegetables that barely have their first set of leaves. There are several types – red cabbage, broccoli, even popcorn shoots – and they’re all as good for you as they are flavorful. Even though these amazing little plants have been around for decades, more and more people are starting to put microgreens on their plates because they do more than just satisfy one’s palate.

Packed with Flavorful Nutrients

Chefs have used microgreens for years but they’ve become increasingly popular because of their proven health benefits. The United States Department of Agriculture in 2014 released several reports on the nutritional analysis of microgreens and researchers found that some varieties contain significantly more nutrients than their adult counterparts. “Microgreens are little nutritional powerhouses, having four to six times the amount of certain nutrients – like vitamins A, C, E and K – compared to the adult version of the plant,” says Alicia Fogarty, a registered dietitian with Carolinas HealthCare System. “Like other fruits and vegetables, they begin to lose their nutritional value after harvest, so the fresher the better.”

Decorate Your Diet

Microgreens are a great addition to the other veggies you eat. Each variety carries its own unique flavor, color, shape – and they are all easily digestible because they lack the fiber and calories of mature vegetables. But it’s their zesty taste that’s sure to win you over. “You can sprinkle them on top of soup or a salad, you can put them on sandwiches, or in smoothies, to enhance flavor and nutritional content – but don’t cook them, as microgreens are best eaten raw,” says Fogarty.

Tiny but Potent

Lucky Leaf Gardens grows more than 40 varieties of microgreens. Some types can help reduce inflammation, prevent cardiovascular disease, fight cancer and boost your immune system. About an ounce of micro red cabbage – enough to fill the palm of your hand – delivers about the same amount of nutrients as a head of mature red cabbage, according to USDA research. About the author Kate Brun, the owner of Concord-based Lucky Leaf Gardens, has grown microgreens commercially since 2010. Lucky Leaf Gardens also hosts regular workshops, cooking classes and tastings for people who want to learn about microgreens and other ways to live and eat healthier. Brun’s microgreens also are sold at local grocery stores throughout the Charlotte area. Learn more: luckyleafgardens.com. Packed with flavor, these tiny vegetables have grown into a scientifically proven superfood. Do you wish you had a community to inspire you and support the choices you make to improve your family’s nutrition habits? Now you do. Join the conversation, or start your own, using #TasteOfHealth