Our farm produces food! - for nutrition, flavour, and fun. We want a diet that means we can do without supplements - confident that we are getting everything we need from varied fresh produce.
A food-science driven supply chain has stripped our food of so much goodness when it concentrates on shelf-life, uniformity, and sugar content.
We love to deliver a whole, raw, food - a real food that you can munch on - from shoots that suit being snacked on at a desk or in the car, or juiced, or used as a salad or veg side. As well as a food that can be offered by the leaf to frame and contribute to fine food in a restaurant. The nutrient density, ease, and flexibility that microgreens offer help make them an easy way of upping your bioavailable nutrient intake.
Microgreens' huge nutrient profile make them especially valuable in vegan, vegetarian, or reduced-meat diets; and in a way that celebrates plant based diets.
A ‘five-a-day’ target can be difficult to get through especially for the very young, old, or unwell. Sometimes getting veg on the plate at a family meal or veg that is 'fun enough' to grab at can be tricky too. Microgreens are fast, and easy, and a great, simple way, to get your daily dose.
Easy, flexible ways to pack in great nutrition
When animals find their way to your garden to nip off the growing tips of your precious plants - they are sensing from a long way off the most nutrient dense gatherings available.
This is much the same as the microgreen - the first growth of a seed, packed with its nutrients in a form that your body can readily use - 'bioavailable'. You will find, as you eat them, that your body says 'yes' to them!
They can be great brain food, blood sugar-regulating, clean desk-snacks for the focused desk worker, great car snacks for regular drivers, easy lunch box filler that kids love. As well as amazing ingredients for excellent chefs.
Vitamins, and loads more than just loads of vitamins!
Human nutrition is complex - our bodies are full of complex compounds that interact with each other.
Nutrition also goes beyonds these compounds and statistics. For example, research shows that thankfulness triggers the parasympathetic system and leads to improved digestion. Food does, and should, interact with these processes and is one reason why we do not thrive on a diet of supplements or compounds. At best, food should be beautiful, flavourful, grown and prepared with care, and enjoyed with other people - talked about - taken time over. These things are all part of real food.
Microgreens do also show extraordinary vitamin and mineral statistics when analysed, and are also bioactive - these minerals come in a form, and a biology, that engages with our gut and digestive system in complex and important ways that provide health.
For me, as persuasive as the basic statistics, is the instinct that I have for munching on these greens - allowing myself to hunt out and enjoy these shoots to do me good!
Here is a little more detail pulled from the literature -
Pea shoots can have seven times the vitamin C of blueberries.
Broccoli (also Kale and cabbage)- is noted for its glucosinolate content - a group of compounds that 'mop-up' metabolic poisons including carcinogens. Sulphoraphane forms from glucosinolates and are powerful antioxidants They are thought to stimulate production of, or raise activity of, enzymes which detoxify potentially cancer-risk pathways. They also have good vit. C and A content.
Glucosinolates are also found in cabbages and mustards. They are studied for their role in preventing cancer and dementia and regulating inflammation and stress responses.
Red cabbage in one study was found to have 147mg/100g vit C, impressive when recommended daily allowances range from 65-90mg/day. Its also a great source of beta-carotene.
Sunflower shoots have loads of vit E, which plays a role in reducing blood pressure. They have reported use in regulating blood sugar levels and are used by diabetics. They contain oils that suppress bad cholesterol production.
Amaranth has lots of manganese, important for the nervous system. Its also great for magnesium - which is often under supplied and taken in supplements, as well as phosphorous and iron.
Coriander and carrot have loads of beta carotene and are good for the skin and eyes.
Bitter foods aid digestion and are frequently nutrient dense - like the beets, kale, and spicy ones like rocket. Bitterness can be associated with triggering bile production of the liver, leading to greater absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K.
These interactive effects are one thing that make the science of nutrition quite complex, but good principles, like including diversity in our eating, fruit, veg, and microgreens! Are great guiding ideas to eat by!