The Gut Health Benefits of Microgreens

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Our mission is to show you how to have a balanced and healthy gut microbiome. After all, gut health is the key to overall health. One of the best foods for gut health is microgreens. The gut health benefits of microgreens are vast, and you should definitely include them in your diet!

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are just very young vegetables. They’re tiny vegetable seedlings that only grow for about 7-21 days before being cut. They are very colorful and have a dense concentration of nutrients. We tried some really great microgreens from a local farm recently and that’s what is pictured here.

Types of Microgreens

The flavor of microgreens vary by type of vegetable. The flavor is a bit more concentrated than the full grown version. The families of microgreens are the same as the full grown vegetables. My favorite family of microgreens is the Brassicaceae family aka the cruciferous vegetables.

Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach

Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic and onion

Apiaceae family: Celery, carrot, and dill

Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio

Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula

Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash

The Health Benefits of Microgreens

Microgreens can contain over 100 times the amount of health promoting phytochemicals in comparison to the mature versions of the vegetables. They’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals. So microgreens can be beneficial in the prevention of cancer, Alzheimers, diabetes and heart disease.

Cancer: Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols in foods can lower the risk of various types of cancer, especially colon cancer. Since microgreens are rich in antioxidant polyphenols they can aid in the prevention of cancer. Of course, microgreens are the most beneficial if consumed with an overall healthy diet.

Diabetes: Certain types of stress can prevent your body from properly metabolizing sugars. The antioxidants found in microgreens may reduce stress hormones helping to regulate cellular sugar uptake. 

Alzheimers: Antioxidant polyphenol rich foods have been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Heart Disease: Regular consumption of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables can improve lipids and lower blood pressure. This means an overall reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.

The Gut Health Benefits of Microgreens

Microgreens naturally contain health promoting compounds, but once the microgreens you eat reach your gut microbiome things get even healthier!

Microbes in the gut microbiome utilize a plethora of enzymes to convert the compounds in the foods you eat into antioxidants and other health promoting compounds. When you provide your gut microbiome with great starting materials like fruits, cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables and whole grains the microbes can create even more health promoting compounds.

For instance, microorganisms in a healthy gut microbiome can utilize an enzyme called myrosinase to transform compounds in microgreens into bioavailable phytonutrients! One way they do this is by using myrosinase to convert the glucoraphanin in microgreens into the powerful antioxidant sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane is a phenolic phytochemical with A LOT of antioxidant properties. Once it’s made bioavailable through microbial action in the gut, sulforaphane can help prevent cancer, encourage fat loss, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce inflammation.

a close up shot of gut healthy microgreens

How To Eat Microgreens

You can eat microgreens with any dish! Add them to salads, sandwiches, ramen, and smoothies. We love throwing a handful of broccoli sprouts into our smoothies. Just remember: to reap the full health benefits of microgreens stick to a plant based diet rich in fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, fermented vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

References:

Sulforaphane Bioavailability from Glucoraphanin-Rich Broccoli: Control by Active Endogenous Myrosinase

Isothiocyanate from Broccoli, Sulforaphane, and Its Properties.

Dietary polyphenols for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease–future research and development.

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Leave a Comment

4 comments

Andrea January 2, 2021 - 5:23 pm

I wish I could eat veggies, grains…I cannot digest them. I have MS, SIBO and IBS-C. I used to be vegan until I could not digest soy, alot of veggies, grains, etc. then I had to incorporate cultured dairy into my diet and I started to heal. I hear so many opposing views on what to eat for your gut…I have to listen to my own body and do what I believe it tells me to do…it will always let me know one way or another.
I have just bought some micro greens and going to see how I do with them, I may need to cook them a little, hoping not.

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley January 4, 2021 - 7:58 am

Given your conditions, you should follow dietary advice and recommendations from your doctor. I suggest consulting a registered dietician before introducing new foods to your diet.

Reply
Mary February 21, 2022 - 9:56 am

I would love to know how you recommend cleaning seeds before sprouting. I made myself very sick from home grown broccoli sprouts. I have read it’s possible to wash the seeds with a bleach solution but I’m not a fan of bleach.

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley February 23, 2022 - 8:03 am

I rinse the seeds at least five times, then sprout them in a sprouting jar with rinsing twice a day.

Reply