Microgreens : Eat Your Vitamins

July 10, 2014  |  Blog

When I started this healing journey my body was in oxidative stress from pharmaceutical drugs.

It was too inflamed to absorb anti-oxidant supplements but I could absorb anti-oxidants in their whole-food forms.  So I decided to eat my vitamins.

I live in Byron Bay which is a magical place. It is renowned in aboriginal culture as a healing place. There is an unwritten rule that if you live here, after you have healed, that you help others in their journey.

So when I asked the local healers, how to increase my anti-oxidant intake, they told me to eat microgreens! Now I am paying it forward to you.

In restaurants, microgreens are used as a garnish but they are actually nutritional super-foods. This is not just nutritional folklore but scientifically proven.

A study of 25 different micro-greens compared the level of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Lutein, and Beta-carotene, to that of its mature counterparts.

The results? Assistant Professor Qin Wang, PhD, at the University of Maryland in College Park, concluded

The micro-greens were four- to 40-fold more concentrated with nutrients than their mature counterparts.

The reason for this dense nutrition is only natural.

Microgreens are young seedlings of edible greens and herbs that are harvest at the “coteleydon” growth stage.

At this stage the plant has developed leaves, but not its roots and branch structures, so has concentrated nutrients for a full sized plant.

Also unlike sprouts, that are grown in water, and extract their nutrition only from the seed, microgreens are nutritionally superior, as they extract nutrients from the seed, soil and sun.

The issue is not only their high vitamin content but the superior absorption in their whole-food form.

A few words of warning before you rush out and try micro-herbs.

  • Flavour: The flavour is concentrated so do taste before using and take this into consideration.
  • Nutrition: The nutrition is concentrated so start small and build to your tolerance.
  • Tolerance: If you do not tolerate the whole-food then it is unlikely you will tolerate this “superfood” alternative.
  • Quality: Know your supplier and the soil, seed, and growing conditions including their use of pesticides.
  • Freshness: These are living plants that deteriorate so should be consumed within around 3 – 5 days.

Herbal Tea

To benefit from their nutrients in any quantity, microgreens need to be seen as an ingredient. Here are some of my favourite ways to use micro-herbs:

  • Herb Teas: Lemon balm or mint microgreen as a fresh tea. Lemon balm is such an ancient restorative herb and boosts glutathione levels.
  • Green Salads: Replace some or all the lettuce in a green salad with a mixture of microgreens.
  • Other Vegetables and Salads: Replace up to 1/3rd of any vegetable  with its microgreen counterpart. I made Deborah Madison’s wilted red cabbage recipe, for example, not only with cabbage but with an addition of red cabbage, mint, parsley and dill microgreens.
  • Soups: Add microgreens immediately prior to serving. In an asian style soup red radish microgreens can give a peppery hit, and the lemon balm microgreens a citrus hit, that are often problematic flavours on a low histamine diet.
  • Smoothies: Pea sprouts make a wonderful addition to a green smoothie
  • Pestos: Use greek basil microgreens to make a pesto. Pair with some hemp seeds (if outside Australia) to boost nutrition even more. Deborah Madison Wilted Red Cabbage

Image: via www.finecooking.com

The variations of microgreens are plentiful. The microgreens I use are sourced from a local supplier. Pocket Herbs have a vast array of produce including greek basil, green basil, purple basil, thai basil, red cabbage, celery, chard, chives, chervil, coriander, dill, greek cress, lemon balm, mache, mint, mezzuna, mustard cress, orach, flat parsley, curly parsley, pea sprouts, red radish, red garnet, red mustard, rocket, salad burnett, green shiso, red shiso, sorrel, tatsoi, upland cress, and watercress microgreens.

Microgreens have been an important part of my medicine bag. By increasing my anti-oxidants levels, the oxidative stress and inflammation in my body has reduced, allowing my food intolerances to reverse. I still react to very high histamine foods (vinegar is my main trigger) but I can now easily tolerate a much broader range of foods including lemons, limes, eggs, and avocados.

Additional Reading:
Assessment of Vitamin and Carotenoid Concentrations of Emerging Food Products: Edible Microgreens by Zhenlei Xiao,† Gene E. Lester,*,‡ Yaguang Luo,‡ and Qin Wang*,†

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