Food and Drink

Microgreens – Major Health Benefits? Study Leaves Chemists Undecided



A new microgreen study from the University of Maryland-College Park shows that Microgreens have great health benefits. The study was done using 60 young mice given a variety of foods and nutrients.

Microgreens are tender, young, plants grown from the seeds of certain herb, vegetable, and grain crops. They are generally clipped at the stem and eaten fresh within two weeks of growth.

A large number of chefs have praised the texture, taste, color, and appearance of microgreens in the past. Adding them to many dishes, especially soups and salads. They also possess more nutrients than their full-grown plant relatives, studies have found.

There has even been a rumor that red cabbage microgreens have the ability to protect against diseases like cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.

However, that rumor was dismissed by Thomas Wang, a chemist from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and his co-authors in the Journal Of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, December 2016 issue.

“Although microgreens, such as those from red cabbage, have been reported to possess more nutrients [than mature plants] and are perceived to be ‘healthier,’ no known study has been conducted to evaluate whether consumption reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors.”

To learn more about the potential health benefits of microgreens, Wang and colleagues with ARS in Beltsville, Maryland, and the University of Maryland – College Park conducted their study.

They fed each mouse one of six diets: low-fat, high-fat, and with or without mature or microgreen red cabbage. Both types of cabbage were freeze-dried and fed in amounts equivalent to 200 grams (about 1 cup) of vegetables per person per day.

The results of the tests were rather inconclusive, according to Wang.

“Although microgreens have more polyphenols and glucosinolates, we did not demonstrate that these phytonutrients are the active compounds that led to the health benefits observed in mice. How these microgreen components actually benefit the health of humans remains to be determined.”

If the study proves to be true, it could mean that microgreens would become a stable of many health-interested individuals in the United States, including many of the 10% or 22.8 million individuals that follow a more vegetarian-inclined diet.

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