Beyond being packed with super amounts of flavor, microgreens are full of tons of nutrition. But what’s more than some of the standard vitamins and minerals, microgreens are polyphenol powerhouses!
Have you heard that red wine is good for you? Or dark chocolate? Red wine and chocolate are often touted for their amazing health benefits. These benefits are from their polyphenol content. Microgreens are strong contenders with red wine and chocolate for their polyphenol content. And they have lower calories than these counterparts!
What is a polyphenol?
A polyphenol is an organic compound found abundantly in plants. In the past decade, there has been growing research and interest in the nutrition benefits of polyphenols. This research demonstrates consumption of polyphenols may play a fundamental role in overall health, specifically in chronic disease and metabolic disorders.
Studies show that different polyphenols are strong antioxidants. An antioxidant is a molecule that works to neutralize harmful free radicals. Free radicals in the body cause damage in our cells and excess free radicals increase risk of chronic disease like heart disease and cancer.
Studies also show polyphenols to have strong anti-inflammatory potential for both chronic inflammation (immune system) as well as acute inflammation (asthma or arthritis).
Essentially, free radicals and inflammation increase the risk of many different chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, arthritis, different types of cardiovascular disease and even cancer. In fact, polyphenols have demonstrated to decrease cancer risk and even help to reduce tumor growth, size, and speed. Polyphenols have also been associated with a better weight management.
What does all this mean? Eating more polyphenols in your diet can help boost your health in many different ways.
Microgreens and polyphenols
Hopefully by now you are convinced that consistent consumption of polyphenols in your diet is advantageous. There are many different types of polyphenols that have been identified through scientific research. They are generally categorized into different groups and each appears to yield different impacts on health. This is why eating a whole plant can derive so much benefit: you get many different types of polyphenols! The amount and type of polyphenol depends on the type of food as well as how it’s prepared, stored, and grown.
What is important here is that microgreens are packed with tons of different types of polyphenols. The very nature of this small package is that it is bursting with polyphenols. Many microgreens, specifically pea, wasabi, and watercress all exhibit a greater variety of polyphenols than their mature counterparts. And research shows that radish microgreens not only have one of the highest amounts of polyphenols of all types of microgreens, they reveal a huge variety – which means huge health benefits! Basil microgreens, too, are also particularly robust with a large variety of polyphenols.
Essentially, regular consumption of many plants can yield consumption of polyphenolic compounds. But eating foods higher in polyphenols yields more health benefits! And microgreens continue to demonstrate their health benefits – from increased vitamins and minerals to increased polyphenols, there is a whole lot of nutritional bang to these little packages!
Looking to add more polyphenols to your diet? Take a look at our collection of microgreens recipes.
Michele Lefebvre is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and holds a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the State University College of Oneonta and a master’s degree in management from Cornell University’s esteemed School of Hospitality Administration. Michele is a technical expert on nutrition labels and ingredient statements and teaches nutrition courses for Purdue University Northwest.
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