Microgreens Health Benefits – Are Microgreens Really Healthier?

Microgreens Health Benefits: Microgreens have grown in popularity in the upscale market over the last decade. They are known to pack a nutrient punch as well as flavor to enhance dishes, whether used as plate dressing or as secondary ingredients.

One of the benefits of Microgreens is that they are often healthier than their fully grown counterparts pound for pound. In fact, numerous studies have proven the statement to be correct. Microgreens not only add flavor, but due to their small size, they provide a greater health benefit than the same amount of regular greens.

Microgreens, on the other hand, are not considered and should not be confused with sprouts, as I explained here.

In general, they grow and harvest at different stages after germination, with sprouts harvested much earlier than microgreens. Alternatively, sprouts are the younger sibling of microgreens.

How many different types of microgreens are there? I’ve created a list of microgreens of 87 different types here. This article will explain why microgreens are said to be so healthy.

Microgreens Growth Stage

During the sprouting process, the seed cotyledon is very important. It will eventually develop into embryonic leaves (seed leaves). As a result, many studies have found that cotyledon leaves have a higher nutritional density.

The enzymatic reaction begins when it comes into contact with water. Soon after, the cotyledon provides nutrients (in the form of starch) to kickstart the germination process.

Sprouts are typically harvested in 3-5 days when the only energy source is the cotyledon. Furthermore, sprouts are typically grown using the hydroponics method, which prevents them from absorbing minerals from the soil.

Here’s a comparison of soil vs. hydroponic growing.

Whereas microgreens (harvested 7 – 14 days) have plenty of time to absorb nutrients from the light (photosynthesis) and soil, allowing them to accumulate a healthy amount of phytonutrients such as carotenoids and -tocopherol (Vitamin E).

  • Carotenoids – Lower the risk of cancer and eye disease.

And we harvest them just before they reach the next stage (baby greens) with everything ready (maximum nutrition). That is why microgreen is considered a functional food.

Lighting is extremely important. Read our article on the best microgreen lighting.

But, why it has to be in between 7-14 days?

Most microgreens are mature at this point. Some can be harvested as soon as the seventh day, while others can take up to 12 days. In one study of buckwheat microgreens, for example, the highest concentration of beneficial phenols was found on day 6th and gradually decreased as it grew.

Microgreens Health Benefits and Microgreens Nutrition Facts

When compared to USDA National Nutrient Databases, microgreens had a higher level of nutrients (up to 69 times) than their mature counterpart. Red cabbage microgreens, for example, have 40x more vitamin E, 6x more vitamin C, and 69x more vitamin K than mature red cabbage.

  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to control cellular activity. It also aids in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vitamin C is essential for tissue growth and repair. It affects the immune system, nervous system, and memory/learning in the brain.
  • Vitamin K is required for blood clotting and other bodily functions.

Other than cabbage, microgreens like cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish had a higher nutritional concentration overall than the other 25 common microgreens on the market. For example, red cabbage microgreens contain three times more Vitamin C than cilantro microgreens, while cilantro microgreens contain twice as much Vitamin E as red cabbage microgreens.

Furthermore, the Vitamin C content of these 25 popular microgreens ranges from 20.4 to 147mg per 100g. Some of these, like red cabbage, have more than the Kiwi (92.7mg) or Orange (53.2mg)! Data from the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Other nutrients, such as Vitamin K and E, demonstrated a similar pattern.

Broccoli & Wasabi Microgreens Benefits / Nutrients

According to a recent study, broccoli microgreens contain a high concentration of minerals, including iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, and other minerals that are essential for bone development, nerve impulse transmission, and hormone regulation.

Wasabi microgreens had the highest potassium content, with 387 mg per 100 g, surpassing the banana’s 358mg! Examine the common symptoms of potassium deficiency.

As for lettuce microgreen nutrients

It has been discovered that lettuce microgreens contain 9x more minerals than mature lettuce.

Also for lettuce, 7-day-old lettuce microgreens had the highest concentration of phenolic compounds and antioxidants levels compared to the other growth stages, implying a significant role in cancer prevention.

Amaranth Microgreen Nutrients

However, not all nutrients are abundant at the start. Vitamin C and β-Carotene concentrations in amaranth microgreens, for example, were found to be higher in the later mature stage. Nonetheless, a significantly high level of neoxanthin was detected in the amaranth microgreen stage.

  • β-Carotene – A precursor to the formation of Vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A is essential for good vision, among other things.
  • Neoxanthin – Aids in the prevention of prostate cancer growth. It is also a byproduct of the synthesis of abscisic acid, a compound that later aids in the stimulation of many biological processes such as stem cell, insulin release, and platelet generation.

Tatsoi and Mustard Microgreen Nutrients

A similar negative result was reported on mustard and tatsoi microgreens, where both appeared to have significantly higher mineral element and metabolite content in the baby-leaf (21 days) and mature stage (31 – 40 days), in comparison to the microgreens (7 days). That is, these two microgreens are “less healthy” than the others mentioned above.

Cinnamic acid is found in Red Cabbage Microgreen.

According to one study, microgreens of red cabbage, purple kohlrabi, red and purple mustards, and mizuna contain more cinnamic acids than their mature counterparts, and cinnamic acid is beneficial in the prevention and management of diabetes.

Lower lipid and cholesterol levels

Interestingly, researchers discovered a significant reduction in lipid and cholesterol levels in rats after feeding them red cabbage microgreens is one of a crucial benefits of microgreens. This suggested that red cabbage microgreens could help with weight loss and heart disease management.

A group of Taiwanese researchers had proposed a similar result. The study found that feeding hamsters 8-day-old buckwheat microgreens had a greater effect on lowering blood cholesterol levels than feeding them seed meals.

A study found a higher antioxidant activity, flavonoids, carotenoids, and -tocopherol (a type of vitamin E) across many cultivars of buckwheat microgreens for nutritional content in-seed versus in-microgreen.

Flavonoids have an anti-inflammatory effect and lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

What are Microgreens Health Risks & Who should not eat Microgreens?

For patients who have kidney-related diseases such as kidney stone (we discussed here!) and chronic kidney disease, it’s advised to avoid dietary with high potassium and Vitamin C foods.

Many microgreens have the same amount of potassium as, if not more than, their mature counterpart. Wasabi, rapini, and watercress microgreens, for example, were found to have more than 350 mg of potassium per 100g. It’s the same amount as in an equal volume of banana!

In contrast, for high Vitamin C microgreens, avoid garnet amaranth (131.6 mg/100g) and red cabbage (147 mg/100g). In patients with chronic kidney disease, a daily dose of 60 mg is recommended.

Similarly, those on the warfarin diet are advised to avoid foods high in Vitamin K. Microgreens like garnet amaranth (4-fold), green basil (8-fold), and red cabbage (69-fold) were found to have higher vitamin-k levels than their mature counterparts.


Microgreens are now commonly used in many restaurant dishes. People are incorporating microgreens into their daily diets due to their high nutritional value, such as juicing, salads, and smoothies.

A microgreen is an excellent choice for health-conscious individuals who want to limit their calorie intake. Here’s why:

Are microgreens better for you? Without a doubt Microgreens are Healthy! I couldn’t find much literature data at this point. As a result, I will periodically update this page.

How to Sell Microgreens? – Pricing Microgreens

Where to Sell Microgreens? Restaurants, Farmers Markets or Online