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Are Microgreens Healthier?

USDA researchers recently published a study assessing the nutrition content of 25 commercially available microgreens, seedlings of vegetables and herbs that have gained popularity in upscale markets and restaurants. Just a few inches tall, they boast intense flavors and vivid colors, but what about their nutritional content? No one knew until now.

We’ve known that baby spinach leaves, for example, have higher levels of phytonutrients than mature spinach leaves, but what about really baby spinach–just a week or two old?

Microgreens won hands down (leaves down?), possessing significantly higher nutrient densities than mature leaves. For example, red cabbage microgreens have a 6-fold higher vitamin C concentration than mature red cabbage and 69 times the vitamin K.

Microgreens are definitively more nutrient dense, but are often eaten in small quantities. Even the healthiest garnish isn’t going to make much of a difference to one’s health, and microgreens may go for $30 a pound! But BYOM—birth your own! You can have rotating trays of salad that you can snip off with scissors. It’s like gardening for the impatient—fully-grown in just 7 to 14 days! If that’s too long, what about sprouting? See my video pick above to see what happens to the antioxidant content of seeds, grains, and beans when you sprout them.

Homemade sprouts are probably the most nutrition-per-unit-cost we can get for our money. See Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck, where they beat out the previous champ, purple cabbage (Superfood Bargains).Broccoli sprouts are probably the best—see for example The Best Detox and Sulforaphane From Broccoli to Breast. I would recommend against alfalfa sprouts (even when home sprouted) as fecal bacteria from manure can hide in the seed’s nooks and crannies and cause illness: Don’t Eat Raw Alfalfa Sprouts.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: ilovemypit / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


+ add your own
12:13AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

babies taste better much sweeter

5:36PM PST on Jan 14, 2013

More densely nutrient packed!

7:27AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

They are better, but still have toxins from the air, mixture, and water in which they are grown

Human Impact

10:41AM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Sure wish I had my old "sprouter" of the 70s. I used it all the time, but guess in one of many moves, I lost it. I could sprout about 4 different things at one time. It was great. Before that, I sprouted in a mason jar turned on it's side.

12:58PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

Thanks for the good information

8:32PM PST on Dec 25, 2012

By the way, I buy my Broccoli Sprouts, freeze dried, organic from Dynamic Neutriceuticals. They sell it usually in bulk, but will also sell it retail if requested to do so. I am not advertising or them, but they do have the best quality product on the market. If you are more concerned with cost, Z naturals is the place to go or Forest Rx.

8:58AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

good to know

11:49AM PST on Dec 24, 2012

Microgreens forever.

8:40PM PST on Dec 23, 2012


5:49PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Amazing information to have. I appreciate your video on growing broccoli sprouts. Seems easy. Thank you!

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