Microgreens: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and How to Grow Them

Medically Reviewed on 7/7/2022
Microgreens: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and How to Grow Them
Learn about the health benefits and nutritional value of microgreens

Microgreens are baby vegetable greens that are smaller than their mature counterparts but often contain higher amounts of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Because of their many health benefits, microgreens are considered superfoods that are highly nutritious. Learn about the health benefits and nutritional value of microgreens.

What are the health benefits of microgreens?

Eating a diet rich in microgreens and other vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as:

  • Heart disease: Polyphenols in microgreens are associated with a lower risk of heart disease due to their ability to reduce cellular inflammation and lower low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes: Studies have shown that antioxidants in microgreens can increase insulin sensitivity and sugar metabolization by up to 44%.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: Microgreens are high soluble fiber, which promotes gut health and can help lower levels of pro-inflammatory intestinal hormones.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Foods high in antioxidants may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease by improving cognitive health.
  • Cancer: Due to their high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants, eating microgreens may help lower your risk of some types of cancer.

What is the nutritional value of microgreens?

Similar to other vegetables, different microgreens have different nutritional values. There are a wide variety of microgreens, such as kale, basil, broccoli, spinach, mustard, Swiss chard, and more. Most of these types of microgreens contain varying amounts of antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, manganese, and selenium.

Table: Nutrients in 100 grams of sunflower and basil microgreens
Nutrient Value
Calories 28
Protein 2.2 grams
Carbohydrates 4.4 grams
Fiber 2.2 grams
Calcium 88 mg
Iron 15.9 mg
Magnesium 66 mg
Phosphorus 66 mg
Potassium 298 mg
Sodium 11 mg
Zinc 0.7 mg
Vitamin C 6.6 mg
Vitamin A 79.6 µg
Folate 66 µg


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Which microgreens are the most nutritious?

According to a study that compared the nutrient content of 25 different microgreens, those that had the highest levels of four distinct vitamins and carotenoids included:

  • Red cabbage
  • Green daikon radish
  • Cilantro
  • Garnet amaranth

However, each microgreen has different benefits. For example, red cabbage microgreens have high levels of vitamin C but low levels of vitamin E. Green daikon radish microgreens have higher levels of vitamin E but lower levels of carotenoids. Overall, it is best to include a variety of microgreens in your diet to maximize their many health benefits.

8 steps for growing your own microgreens

Microgreens are easy to grow year-round in a kitchen or balcony garden. Here are 8 steps to growing your own microgreens at home:

  • Because microgreens are eaten as sprouts, use untreated, good-quality seeds and soil.
  • Pick a shallow container with a broad top and drainage holes. Since you don't want the roots to grow too deeply, the container doesn't need to be very deep (2-4 inches work best). 
  • Fill your container with soil, being careful not to over-compress it
  • Water the soil 10-12 hours before planting the seeds, spreading them evenly and thickly across the surface.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or a lid and dark cloth to let them germinate for 2-3 days.
  • Keep an eye on your microgreens, only watering if you think the soil is dry. Water from the sides of the container and avoid wetting the leaves because this could cause fungus problems.
  • Expose the microgreen seeds to direct sunshine after they have germinated. Only water them when the soil feels dry to the touch. 
  • In 7-10 days, most microgreens will be ready to harvest. Snip them with a sharp knife or a pair of gardening shears after they are 2-3 inches long, about a ½-inch above the surface of the soil.

How to include microgreens in your diet

Microgreens add flavor and texture to a wide variety of diseases. you can try using them in the following ways:

  • Use as a salad base or side dish
  • Add to tacos, burgers, and sandwiches in place of lettuce
  • Use as a topping for pizza, flatbreads, or soups
  • Add to juices or smoothies to make them more nutrient-dense
  • Add to egg dishes such as omelets
  • Stir-fry in a little oil with salt, pepper, and lemon juice

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Medically Reviewed on 7/7/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Microgreens Pack A Nutritional Punch: https://www.franciscanhealth.org/community/blog/microgreens-nutritional-punch

What to Know About Microgreens: https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-microgreens#091e9c5e821691e3-2-5