Juicing microgreens? Count yourself among the few, the creative, and the very clever juicers who are taking advantage of these underrated greens.
Because everyone’s juicing kale and spinach but most people aren’t juicing microgreens. And this is seriously unfortunate considering these baby greens are among the best leafy greens to juice. In fact, they’re the perfect beginner greens, thanks to the fact that they’re very tasty (full of flavor without any bitterness) and super rich in vitamins and minerals.
Why Juice Microgreens?
At their simplest, microgreens are basically seedlings of various herbs, vegetables and other plants. They were only used as visual and flavor accents in upscale restaurants and similar posh dining establishments until people caught on to the plethora of health benefits they offer.
The most common microgreens you can get your hands on these days are spinach, garnet amaranth, cilantro, red cabbage, arugula, beet, basil, green daikon radish and kale. They are usually harvested after germinating for just a couple of weeks and growing for at least 2 inches in height.
On average, microgreens are 4 to 40 times healthier than their mature counterparts. A recent USDA study found that most microgreens have significantly higher nutrient densities than their mature counterparts. For example? Red cabbage microgreens had 6x the vitamin C content and 69x the vitamin K content of mature red cabbage.
Why is this?
The theory is that young greens need ample nutrients to grow. Since microgreens are harvested just after germination, they’re very concentrated with all these nutrients while their flavor and texture is “softer” than their mature counterparts. Even better? These baby greens have lower levels of “anti-nutrients” like oxalic acid than their full-grown counterparts.
Oh, and to clear up any confusion around sprouts and microgreens – they are not the same thing. Unlike sprouts, microgreens are grown in soil instead of water-based environments. This gives them a rather big advantage when it comes to concerns about contamination.
7 Benefits of Juicing Microgreens
Want more, specific reason to juice microgreens every day? Let’s dive in…
Seriously rich in nutrients
Much of microgreens’ health benefits come from the fact that young greens need all the nutrients they can get to grow. And when these young greens are harvested just after germination, they contain these nutrients in concentrated form.
Microgreens are harvested anywhere between 7 to 14 days after being planted – it’s like farming for the impatient – and contain four- to 40-fold more nutrients than their fully-grown counterparts.
Of course, the nutrition profile and health benefits vary for each type of microgreen. Researchers found that red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish have the highest concentrations of ascorbic acids, carotenoids, phylloquinone, and tocopherols, respectively.
And microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts.
And they all come packing tons of other health benefits…
Boosts the immune system
Microgreens are just teeming with vitamin C and vitamin A, essential nutrients that are needed by the body to make cells more resilient against various illnesses. They also play key roles in keeping the eyes and skin in excellent shape.
Protects against cancer
There are very high amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene in microgreens that are found to help inhibit the growth and development of cancer cells. One recent study showed that red cabbage microgreens actually contained even more naturally occurring polyphenols and glycosylates than full-grown red cabbage, which is great news since these are the very same nutrients that can lower cholesterol and help prevent degenerative diseases like cancer.
Keeps the heart strong and healthy
Microgreens are loaded with phytochemicals that are found to maintain normal heartbeat patterns as well as help get rid of plaque particles that may have built up along the walls of the arteries and veins. If not taken care of properly, these plaque particles can cause blockages that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Aids weight loss
An interesting study found that microgreens reduced weight gain and levels of liver cholesterol in mice that were fed high-fat diets, helping to lower LDL – “bad” cholesterol” as well as liver triglyceride levels.
More nutrients, less anti-nutrients
If you love the benefits of green juicing but are concerned about getting too much anti-nutrients like oxalic acid in your diet, you’ll want to juice microgreens.
As you may already know, many dark, leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach and chard (as well as other veggies like broccoli) contain tons of beneficial compounds but they also contain a not-so-beneficical compound called oxalic acid. You may already about this anti-nutrient for its role in potentially causing kidney stones. But that’s not all it does – oxalic acid also latches onto minerals like iron and calcium in your digestive tract and prevents them from being absorbed by the body.
To be fair, you would need to consume several pounds of oxalate-rich veggies to get sick from oxalic acid, but if you’re concerned about not getting enough essential minerals or at risk of kidney stones – why risk it when you can consume nutrient-rich, anti-nutrient-less microgreens?
Easy to grow
The only drawback to microgreens is that these baby greens are also expensive – they can commonly cost around $30 to $40 per pound! The good news is that microgreens are also among some of the easiest leafy greens to grow.
You don’t need a full-on garden – if you have some windowsills, you can start growing your very own microgreens to use, fresh and crisp, in your green juices, smoothies and salads!
Also, it’s best to consume microgreens as soon as possible since they start losing their flavor and color as soon as they are harvested, which is why it makes a lot of sense to grow them in your kitchen 🙂
3 Microgreen Juice Recipes
Ready to start juicing these nutritious greens? You don’t even need any special recipes, to be honest – just take any green juice recipes and substitute the microgreens for kale, spinach, chard, etc. But in case you want some ideas, here are some delicious microgreen juice recipes to get you started!
Hint of Mint
Here’s a simple digestion-boosting, nutrition-packed juice recipe that’s perfect for breakfast:
- 2 green apples
- 1 celery stalks
- 1 cup microgreens
- 1/2 lemon (peeled)
- small handful of mint
It’s low in calories and huge on benefits.
Microgreens and Melon Green Juice
Microgreens are the perfect beginner green and tasty enough to begin with but when you’re in the mood for a burst of flavors, this is the juice recipe to go to:
- 1 cucumber
- 2 grapefruit
- ¼ cantaloupe (also good as juice)
- 1 cup microgreens
- handful of fresh basil
This is a lovely concoction of delicious yet low-sugar fruits and water-y, mineral-rich veggies!
Tropical Greens Digestive Juice
Here’s a great green juice to sip on when your digestive system could use a helping hand:
- 1/2 of a pineapple
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup microgreens
- 1 pear
- 1 lime (peeled)
Pineapple is chock full of bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps you digest proteins and pear is rich in soluble fiber, which absorbs water and softens stool, helping to push you past any bouts of constipation.