Microgreens are considered a natural superfood. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances. But the consumption of sprouts and sprouts also carries risks.
Seedlings, sprouts, microgreens – the tiny plants convince with their high concentration of vital substances and are therefore considered very healthy. But be careful: When growing, you have to observe a few critical hygienic requirements.
What Are Microgreens?
The term microgreens refer to young, edible herb and vegetable plants that are eaten just a few days after they germinate and are valued above all for their pleasing aroma and health benefits. The definition of microgreens lies in their stage of development: if the seed of a plant has only just opened and a slight shoot tip can be seen, this is the seedling. This can be eaten in its entirety. If the seedling already has a green stalk and a small leaf, it is called a sprout. The root is then usually no longer edible. If the sprouts are allowed to continue growing until they have many small green leaves, they are called microgreens.
Microgreens grow from the seeds of:
- grain, e.g. B. Seedlings from wheat, rye, oats and barley
- legumes, e.g. B. mung bean, soybean and adzuki bean
- cruciferous vegetables, e.g. B. broccoli, radish and mustard
- oilseeds, e.g. B. Flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- types of clover, e.g. B. Alfalfa and Fenugreek 2
Why Are Microgreens So Healthy?
The tiny plants contain everything they need to grow into large, healthy plants. This is precisely what makes microgreens so beneficial for humans. Their concentration of vital substances is many times higher than the full-grown plant’s same amount. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. The content of vitamins C, B1, B2, niacin, biotin, carotene and vitamin E, and the minerals magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and calcium are intensified by the germination process. 3 The fat and protein composition of the seedlings also changes during the breakdown and conversion processes of the plant. For example, in high-fat seeds, the levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and amino acids increase.
Broccoli Sprouts As Hope In cancer Therapy
In a study by the Heidelberg University Hospital, microgreens, more precisely broccoli sprouts, were examined for their health benefits in cancer therapy. Broccoli sprouts contain around 30 to 40 times more mustard oils than the adult broccoli plant. This protects the offspring from its natural predators. Of particular importance is the mustard oil sulforaphane. This has been shown to weaken cancer growth and attack tumor stem cells. The effectiveness of broccoli sprouts against the particularly aggressive tumor stem cells of pancreatic cancer has already been shown in laboratory studies.
Microgreens are not only healthy. They can also be pulled out quickly to save space. The easiest way to do this is with a sprout glass.
- Step: Rinse the seed in cold water in a sieve, remove stones and dirt.
- Effort: Soak the seeds in three times their volume of water. The soaking time is around twelve to 24 hours, depending on the variety.
- Step: Discard soaking water, rinse seeds and discard non-swollen seeds.
- Step: Rinse seeds with clear water once or twice a day. Store in an airy place. Avoid direct sunlight and cold. The germination time varies depending on the type of seed.
Risks Of Growing microgreens
Despite their health benefits, fresh sprouts and sprouts also pose microbiological risks. So even the seeds, which as an agricultural product have a natural germ flora and are therefore not sterile, have a specific germ load. To keep the pollution as low as possible, the seeds are washed after harvesting, and the germs are reduced in a unique process.
The sprouts need light, oxygen, heat, and moisture to germinate optimally. Unfortunately, this is also the ideal environment for unwanted pathogens and spoilage organisms. Therefore, the German Society for Nutrition recommends blanching the microgreens again immediately before consumption to reduce the bacterial count. This is particularly important for people with a weakened immune system, children and pregnant women.
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