Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland conducted a study to determine the level of nutrients in microgreens, specifically compared to more mature vegetables. Microgreens are tiny versions of vegetables, herbs, and other plants and are about one to two inches long with the stem and leaves still attached. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
As reported by NPR, researchers looked for large doses of vitamins and other phytochemicals, such as vitamin C, E, and beta carotene. Gene Lester, a researcher with the USDA, said the findings “totally knocked me over.”
The team found that all 25 varieties of microgreens had four to 40 times more nutrients than their matured counterparts. Lester said the findings give us a new insight into plants, “because these are little tiny seeds barely exposed to much light at all. And yet those compounds [nutrients] are there ready to go.”
Diets In Review’s resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, wasn’t surprised by the results of the study. “The findings make sense because the young plant is rapidly accumulating nutrients during its period of rapid growth, and it is also still releasing nutrients stored in the seed,” she said. “I’ll bet microgreens are high in protein and very digestible, too.”
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