Microgreens - composition, benefits and harms

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Microgreens - composition, benefits and harms
Microgreens - composition, benefits and harms
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What is microgreen, composition and calorie content. Useful properties of microplants and possible contraindications for eating. Recipes for dishes with microgreens, cultivation features.

Microgreen or microgreen (from the English "micro" - "micro", "green" - "green") is a generalized name for traditional greenery or collected in a specific phase of leaf germination. In simple terms, these are shoots of classic herbs, individual vegetables and spices. Early harvesting began to be practiced in the United States, but the novelty quickly spread throughout the world. It is now possible to buy microgreens for a healthy dish in many large grocery stores; most health experts speak about its benefits. The great popularity of the product prompts many skeptics to think about marketing gimmicks, which is not entirely true, because the benefits of using microgreen are enormous. But in order to get the maximum amount of nutrients from food, you need to know what are the features of microplants and dishes based on them.

The composition and calorie content of microgreens

What microgreens look like

In the photo microgreens

For the first time about such a specific product as microgreen or microgreens, they started talking in the 80s of the last century. It first appeared as a decorative element in high-end restaurants in San Francisco, USA. By the 90s, the popularity of microplants increased due to research and scientific justification of the benefits of the product. And by the 2000s, the wave of popularity of microplants swept over Europe.

In essence, the same name denotes the shoots of various plants - basil, arugula, parsley and even cereals, cabbage, chickpea. Such a generalization was carried out for a reason, because regardless of the type of plant, they were collected during the period of development of the first leaves, when the young sprout still stores the maximum supply of nutrients.

If you observe the development of microgreens at home, then an attentive gardener will notice the germination of the seed already 5 days after planting the seeds. Until the first leaves appear, this is still just a shoot, and not an edible plant. Already on the 12th day, when the height of the sprout will reach 5-10 cm, and young leaves appear on the stem, one can judge the quality of the microplant.

It is during this period, when the greens are actively developing, and the leaves are in the cotyledon phase, the supply of nutrients in the product is incredibly concentrated, and the benefits of microgreens are even greater than from an adult plant.

Young sprouts contain:

  • Enzymes… They are complex protein molecules. Their sufficient amount in the human body contributes to the normalization of metabolism, assimilation of food. It is noteworthy that in the microgreen there are in some cases 100 times more such active substances than in an adult plant of the same species.
  • Antioxidants… Designed to slow down oxidative processes in cells, and this, in turn, for a person helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, normalizes the activity of the nervous system, and maintains the condition of the skin. Consistency is essential to get the most out of your antioxidant intake. Since all types of microgreens contain such molecules, you can get yourself a fresh dose of antioxidants even in winter.
  • Chlorophyll… For the plant, it plays the role of "green blood", absorbing solar energy, the plant recycles water and carbon dioxide. Human consumption of chlorophyll in sufficient quantities also has a beneficial effect on overall health.Experts note the normalization of blood pressure and oxygen enrichment of people who systematically consume fresh plant foods, especially in regions with few sunny days a year.
  • Vitamins and minerals… Nutrients of plant origin are completely absorbed by the body, in this case there is no need to talk about the dangers of microgreens. Home-grown or store-bought sprouts keep you healthy even during the most stressful times.

The quantitative composition of microgreens, as well as the caloric content of the product, depends on the individual plant species and the conditions for its cultivation. But since most often the product is grown and added to the dish as a collection, the indicators are usually averaged.

The calorie content of microgreens per 100 g is 31 kcal or 129 kJ. The product contains:

  • Proteins - 2, 6 g;
  • Fats (or rather traces of fats) - 0.1 g;
  • Carbohydrates - 5 g;
  • Dietary fiber - 3 g;
  • Water - 91 g.

The composition of microgreens fluctuates if you eat pure varieties, for example, the calorie content of parsley - 36 kcal, and arugula - 25 kcal, while the ratio of proteins and carbohydrates ranges from 1: 2 to 1: 4, depending on the type of plant. However, to achieve the maximum benefit from microgreen consumption, it is still recommended to combine several plants in one serving.

Active scientific research on the benefits and harms of microgreens was conducted in 2010 and 2012 in America. According to published data, the largest amount of nutrients is contained in the plant on the 7th day after germination. For example, seven-day microspinach has 11 times more calcium than milk, 30 times more vitamin B, 7 times more vitamin C than an orange, and 5 times more iron than an adult spinach plant.

Next is the composition of broccoli microgreens.

Vitamins per 100 g:

  • Vitamin A, RE - 150 mcg;
  • Alpha Carotene - 15 mcg;
  • Beta Carotene - 0.675 mg;
  • Beta Cryptoxanthin - 1 mcg;
  • Lutein + Zeaxanthin - 1525 mcg;
  • Vitamin B1, thiamine - 0.065 mg;
  • Vitamin B2, riboflavin - 0.119 mg;
  • Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid - 0.535 mg;
  • Vitamin B6, pyridoxine - 0.159 mg;
  • Vitamin B9, folate - 71 mcg;
  • Vitamin C, ascorbic acid - 93.2 mg;
  • Vitamin E, alpha tocopherol, TE - 1.35 mg;
  • Vitamin K, phylloquinone - 101.4 mcg;
  • Vitamin PP, NE - 0.638 mg.

Macronutrients per 100 g:

  • Potassium, K - 325 mg;
  • Calcium, Ca - 48 mg;
  • Magnesium, Mg - 25 mg;
  • Sodium, Na - 27 mg;
  • Phosphorus, P - 66 mg.

Microelements per 100 g:

  • Iron, Fe - 0.88 mg;
  • Manganese, Mn - 0.229 mg;
  • Copper, Cu - 45 μg;
  • Selenium, Se - 3 μg;
  • Zinc, Zn - 0.4 mg.

Digestible carbohydrates are represented by mono- and disaccharides in the amount of 1.47 g per 100 g.

Essential amino acids per 100 g:

  • Arginine - 0.145 g;
  • Valine - 0.128 g;
  • Histidine - 0.05 g;
  • Isoleucine - 0.109 g;
  • Leucine - 0.131 g;
  • Lysine - 0.141 g;
  • Methionine - 0.034 g;
  • Threonine - 0.091 g;
  • Tryptophan - 0.029 g;
  • Phenylalanine - 0.084 g.

Replaceable amino acids per 100 g:

  • Alanine - 0.118 g;
  • Aspartic acid - 0.213 g;
  • Glycine - 0.095 g;
  • Glutamic acid - 0.375 g;
  • Proline - 0.114 g;
  • Serine - 0.1 g;
  • Tyrosine - 0.063 g;
  • Cysteine ​​- 0.02 g.

Saturated fatty acids per 100 g:

  • Palmitic - 0.047 g;
  • Stearic acid - 0.007 g.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are represented by oleic (omega-9) - 0.024 g.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids per 100 g:

  • Linoleic acid - 0.038 g;
  • Linolenic - 0.129 g;
  • Omega-3 - 0.129 g;
  • Omega-6 - 0.038 g.

Important! The high content of active substances in microgreen does not make it the basis for your diet. If you want to be healthy and full of energy, then the diet must be balanced. The benefits and harms of microgreens are assessed in combination with other food products, the regularity of food intake and various eating habits.

Useful properties of microgreens

Microgreens in hands

In short, how microgreens are useful, then miraculous properties appear at three different levels:

  1. Prevention of a number of diseases;
  2. Weight normalization;
  3. Activation and maintenance of physical and mental health.

Modern research shows that the seedling contains a large number of nutrients. Vitamins of group K, E, potassium, phosphorus, iodine and other minerals play an active role in maintaining reproductive functions. Carotenoids help stimulate the immune system, and such a complex compound as sulforaphane reduces the risk of developing breast, lung, and intestinal cancer. All these elements are present in the microgreen.

Normalization of weight when introduced into the diet of microplants is ensured by an increase in the amount of enzymes in food. But also an important role is played by the general change in the eating habits of a person who turned his attention to salads with microgreens, and not fast food. Improving the quality of consumed foods, in turn, affects the general health and even mood of a person.

Until now, active research is underway on the benefits of microgreens, as well as the search for new areas of application. Researchers recommend the use of microsprouts for people living in metropolitan areas, in regions with low sunny days. Programs are being developed to introduce the product into the diet of astronauts.

Both the leaves and the stems of the plant are suitable for food, the nutritional value of which is the same at this stage of growth.

Contraindications and harm to microgreens

Microgreen allergy

There is practically no harm from microgreens. The product may only be contraindicated in people with specific allergic reactions. So, in parsley and spinach, their sprouts contain a concentrated amount of flavonoids and essential oils, which in sensitive people can cause a specific skin rash. In critical situations, an allergy sufferer has laryngeal edema and suffocation. Not such obvious symptoms of individual intolerance to the product are nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after ingestion of the allergen.

It should be noted that such cases of individual intolerance to microgreen are recorded extremely rarely. Otherwise, there are no contraindications for eating fresh herbs.

Note! Each specific variety of microgreens contains its own combination of nutrients. Based on the existing "problem" in the body, select your plant variety for food. However, it must be understood that nutritional correction is only an addition to the main therapeutic techniques, if any.

Features of growing microgreens

Growing microgreens

Microgreens can be purchased at almost any supermarket, but they are also easy to grow on your own. From a novice gardener, it only takes a little time to get ready. At the same time, lovers of healthy food do not even have to tinker with soil, fertilizers or complex agricultural technologies.

At home, microgreens are easiest to grow from purchased seeds in special containers, but you can make a container yourself. For growing microgreens at home, it is best to purchase special seeds. The point is not that there are separate types of microgreens (as we noted, a microplant is a full-fledged plant, but collected at early stages), the whole secret lies in the seed processing technology. Grains, which are planned for planting in agricultural soil, undergo special chemical treatment to protect against specialized diseases. In the early stages of germination, chemicals can remain in the soil and get into the sprouts, and therefore into food. But specialized seeds for microgreens do not undergo such processing, which means that you will get the maximum benefit from the plant without chemicals.

To get a serving of fresh nutrients, you need to soak the purchased seeds in clean, cold water. Soaking should last no more than 4 hours. Then put the seeds on a fine sieve or cheesecloth, and pour water into a regular container. Lower the sieve into the container so that the surface with the seeds touches the liquid. As the seeds germinate, the water supply needs to be replenished.

The best place for a home garden is a well-lit, humid place, such as a windowsill. Expect the first shoots within 5 days, and on the seventh day you can taste the dish with microgreens.

Important! Microgreens and germinated seeds should not be confused. In the first case, we are talking about a really grown plant, albeit in its early stages, and in the second, about swollen seeds.It is also necessary to remember that, as a rule, only mature leaves are eaten in an adult plant, and microgreens are useful because they store nutrients not only in young leaves, but also in the stems.

Microgreen Recipes

Microgreen salad

The first microgreen dishes served in high-end American restaurants in the early 1980s contained microgreen only as a decorative element. Today, the product is actively used as part of a complex culinary composition of salads, soups, omelets and even sandwiches.

Both leaves and stems are suitable for cooking, however, before starting gastronomic experiments, it is recommended to taste the taste of pure greens. The fact is that in young sprouts, the taste is slightly different from the taste of an adult plant, and this, in turn, can affect the entire dish as a whole.

Simple and popular recipes with microgreens include muesli, fitness salads, soup and vegetable smoothies:

  1. Muesli for breakfast with microgreen… To prepare one serving, you need to steam three tablespoons of oatmeal. When the porridge has cooled slightly, add one grated apple, three chopped dates, nuts and honey to taste. And the culmination of the dish will be half a tablespoon of the microgreen mix. The sprouts add an original freshness to the dish, highlighting the sweetness of the apple and dates.
  2. Health Cocktail Salad… For three servings, take one unsweetened apple, carrot and 200 g of peeled and already boiled shrimp. Olive oil and micro-redis are used as a dressing. Chop the shrimps on a fine grater, and grate the carrots and apple for the salad on a fine grater. Immediately after processing the components, the dish must be seasoned so that the apple does not have time to "turn black". If you want to experiment with different varieties of microgreens, first season and mix all the ingredients together, and then add another variety of plants to one highlighted portion. Not all types of greens are harmoniously combined with the sweet and sour taste of apples.
  3. Fitness salad with apple and pepper. Such a salad is prepared very simply, but at the same time it contains the maximum combination of nutrients. On torn lettuce leaves (25 g), spread in random order a diced unsweetened apple, one bell pepper and a tomato. Cover the vegetable and fruit mass with cottage cheese (2 tablespoons) and sprinkle generously with microgreens to taste (1 tablespoon). The amount of ingredients is indicated per serving. It is necessary to serve and eat such a salad with microgreens immediately after its preparation.
  4. Lenten okroshka… Place one and a half cups of sprouted sunflower seeds in the blender bowl, send salt and black pepper there to taste, add the juice of one lemon. Beat the mass in a blender until mushy. We dilute such a dressing with water so that the liquid resembles kefir in consistency. Cut into cubes 200 g of radish and 3 cucumbers, add finely chopped microgreens to taste (dill, parsley) to the vegetables. Pour the sprouted sunflower dressing over the vegetables and add water to make a cold soup. This microgreen recipe perfectly illustrates how to adapt traditional cuisine to modern culinary trends.
  5. Vegetable cocktail for dinner… In a blender, finely beat a cucumber (1 pc.), Microgreens of any kind (1 tablespoon) and vegetable milk (1 glass). Despite its simplicity, the dish is very nutritious.
  6. Berry smoothie… To prepare one serving of a healthy dessert in a blender, it is enough to beat one sweet apple, 100 g of your favorite berries, 0.5 tablespoon of microgreens and 100 ml of vegetable milk. Optionally, you can add 1-2 slices of ginger and a teaspoon of natural honey.

Recipes with microgreens are very simple and do not require lengthy heat treatment of food. This condition is important for the preservation of all nutrients of the plant.

It is recommended to cut off a bunch of vegetation immediately before refueling the dish, but also microgreen can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator without losing its useful qualities. For storing cut greens in the refrigerator, use a resealable plastic container.

What is microgreens - watch the video:

Microgreens are a product that is unique in its benefits. Young plants purchased in a store or grown on their windowsill contain a whole range of enzymes, antioxidants and vitamins. Decorating a dish with young leaves looks very unusual, but it is also incredibly useful. If you involve children in growing plants, then you can interest young gardeners in healthy and wholesome food. Dishes with microgreens are very tasty and healthy, but at the same time they do not require lengthy preparation. All the more surprising is the fact that such a simple storehouse of useful substances is only gaining popularity in the world.

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