What are Sprouts and Microgreens?
We all know that vegetables are excellent for us, and if you’re like most people, you probably need to eat more. This is because vegetables carry in them a number of nutrients that are difficult to get in large quantities elsewhere — things like antioxidants, which may help protect against cancer and chronic disease.
Vegetables come in all flavors, colors, shapes and sizes. Red chilis, purple onions, green spinach and yellow bell peppers are just the tip of the iceberg. If you know a bit more, you might have learned that leafy dark green vegetables are really good for you. You might have learned that you want to “eat a rainbow” of multi-colored vegetables to get a proper nutritional balance.
Oddly enough, one simple way to ensure you get enough nutrients in your diet may not be to eat larger vegetables, it may be to eat smaller ones.
There are two categories of vegetable that are especially good for you that should be talked about more: sprouts and microgreens.
So what are sprouts and microgreens?
Sprouts are newly germinated seeds. Because seeds carry inside them everything a new plant needs to get started, they’re packed with the good stuff. Sprouts are extremely high in vitamins, antioxidants, helpful minerals and much more.
Microgreens are very similar. They’re plants that have grown their first two to four leaves — technically, this is the “cotyledon” stage of plant growth. Like sprouts, they are filled with nutrients that are great for our bodies and continuing good health, such as chlorophyll and fiber. In some cases, they’re even an excellent source of protein.
These young plants are brimming with the substances they need to grow up — and that we need to stay healthy and fit. One of their interesting properties is that the nutrients in sprouts and microgreens are especially bioavailable, meaning that our bodies digest them easier and get them to our cells more quickly and thoroughly.
Sprouts and microgreens can be from almost any type of vegetable or herb you’d eat in the ripe, adult stage. They can also come from plants where we normally eat seeds — like sesame sprouts — or beans — like adzuki microgreens.
So, how should you make them a regular part of your diet?
Use your imagination! Sprouts and microgreens often have a taste that is quite different from their adult version. Some are great for making salads, like earthy-tasting beet greens. Some taste great on a sandwich, like crunchy alfalfa sprouts. Some, like the peppery-tasting rocket (also known as arugula,) make an excellent garnish to meat or fish. And have you ever considered black soy bean sprouts as a lovely addition to an avocado smoothie?
At AquaGrowGreens, we can help you make them a regular part of your diet. Our line of easy and affordable personal hydroponic kits make growing sprouts and microgreens a snap. Plus, we carry an ever-expanding line of seeds, beans and legumes. They’re perfect for sprouting and growing a garden on your desk or in your kitchen. Intrigued? At AquaGrowGreens.com we help you make green things happen!
In future articles, we’ll explore in depth more of the science behind microgreens and sprouts — how they grow, just why they’re so good for you, the best ways to cultivate them — and how to use them, with recipes and tips galore. But for now, we want you to know that these super-veggies exist, and that you should give them a try if you haven’t already.
Article Written by Owen Salisbury