New study alert! ACS Food Science & Technology published a study in May, 2023 about the health and environmental benefits of microgreens — specifically red cabbage, broccoli, and kale. Because these are three of the four microgreens in the Daily Elements blend, we thought “why not dissect the study for our readers?!”
Microgreens are nothing new. Farmers began harvesting microgreens in the 1980s, and their popularity has only grown since thanks to their unrivaled nutritional value, subtle flavor, and sustainable farming practices. Now, researchers are diving deeper into just how life changing microgreens can be, and we’re here for it.
More Vitamins, More Minerals, More Health Benefits
In today’s world, especially western countries, people are becoming more drug conscious and embracing the notion that food can be medicine. In fact, harnessing the power of microgreens can be critical to improving the health of our nation — researchers and health-conscious consumers alike turn to microgreens for their antioxidant, anticancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
“Microgreens are a rich source of different vitamins (A, C, E, and K), minerals (K, Ca, Fe, Zn, P, S, Mg, Mn, Cu, and Na) and health-promoting compounds,” details the study. In fact, red cabbage microgreens contain 40-times more vitamin C than its mature counterpart.
In addition to vitamins, microgreens are also a valuable source of chlorophyll and carotenoids, two pigments on earth that are critical in preventing cancer, eye disease, diabetes, and other lifelong health disorders. In a testament to the strength of microgreens, broccoli microgreens contain 16 times more chlorophyll than its adult counterpart, while red cabbage microgreens have 2.4 times the calcium, 3 times the magnesium, and 2.5 times the iron.
Each of these phytonutrients have been tied to reductions in oxidative stress-related diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular-related diseases, in addition to helping to regulate the gut microbiome.
The research published in ACS Food Science & Technology shows that microgreens have been studied to inhibit insulin resistance and reduce/regulate type 2 diabetes. “The hypoglycemic property of broccoli [microgreen] juice was reflected by improving body weight and glucose homeostasis, blood lipid status, antioxidant indexes, and inflammatory factors. Along with these improvements, the composition of the gut microbiota and propionic acid production in the intestinal content, insulin resistance, and pathological changes were also reversed.” This information is a major revelation considering diabetes currently affects 536.6 million adults worldwide, and is estimated to reach 783.2 million in just 12 years.
The health benefits of microgreens are undeniable. And as more research is published, the effects are only becoming more significant.
A Greener Earth
Microgreens aren’t just good for your health, they're good for the planet too. Growing populations, climate change, and harvest shortages are leading to instability worldwide. Research in ACS Food Science & Technology explains that “finding nutrient-rich food sources, which can be grown quickly and locally, can contribute to feeding our world while combating malnutrition and other health risks.”
Microgreens are rich in essential nutrients, have a short, year round growing cycle (between 7 and 21 days from seeding), and require few resources to grow, making them the perfect response to climate change and ongoing urbanization. This study isn’t the first to publish this news — NASA, health professionals, and nutrition researchers, and health conscious consumers are embracing microgreens. By 2025, the market for microgreens globally is expected to grow 7.7% to $17 million.
Potential Downsides of Microgreens
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to harvesting microgreens at scale to solve for climate and food shortage challenges. Due to their substantial water content, microgreens are highly susceptible to damage from microorganisms — resulting in a much shorter shelf life than mature vegetables.
Certain methods are highly effective at extending shelf life and preserving nutrient integrity. Daily Elements microgreens are gently freeze-dried to remove water content, which is just one of many that can make microgreens a feasible option for nutritional and environmental benefits.
Overall, the research published in ACS Food Science & Technology proves that this is only the beginning of the microgreen mania — and we’re here to make them as accessible and sustainable as possible.