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The Health Benefits of Leafy Greens & Microgreens: A Concise Guide



Greens have a great reputation for being an exceptionally healthy food. Both Leafy & Microgreens are among the healthiest foods you could eat. Nutritionists agree that the health benefits are substantial. In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that calculated nutrient density for almost 50 fruits and vegetables, 17 of the top 20 were leafy greens. Research shows that a diet that contains plenty of leafy greens is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, macular degeneration, and type 2 diabetes.


You can now reap the benefits of Leafy Greens and Microgreens year round by growing them in your home in the ELEMENT. Enjoy them fresh, organic and grown to perfection using our automated climate control system that allows you to continuously harvest as it maintains non-stop optimized environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, watering, lighting and airflow. Eat a variety of types: most greens have a healthy nutritional profile, but each kind also has its individual superpowers. Let's go through them and break down their advantages.




Leafy Greens


Kale

Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet due to its many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For example, one cup (67 grams) of raw kale packs 684% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 206% of the DV for vitamin A and 134% of the DV for vitamin C. It also contains antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene, which reduce the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress. To benefit most from all that kale has to offer, it’s best consumed raw since cooking can reduce its nutrient profile.


Arugula

Arugula is rich in vitamin K, which helps to prevent osteoporosis and inflammatory disease. Like other cruciferous veggies (i.e., broccoli and brussels sprouts), it has glucosinolates, which may protect against certain cancers.


Red or Green Leaf

Both are rich in vitamins A and K; green leaf is higher in vitamin C. Red leaf lettuce gets its color from the flavonoid antioxidant anthocyanin, which may help to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.


Collards

This cooking green is rich in calcium, fiber, folate, and the antioxidant carotenoids beta carotene and lutein. Sautéing in olive oil, garlic, and a little smoked salt adds flavor and keeps it healthier than the traditional ham hock or bacon preparation.


Butter

This family of mild-flavored head lettuce with soft, loose leaves doesn’t have quite the nutrient profile of certain darker greens, but 2 cups supplies 85 percent of your daily vitamin K need, along with some iron and vitamin A.


Iceberg

Though it ranks toward the bottom of the greens list nutritionally, it still provides some potassium, vitamin C, and folate.


Spinach

This green supplies a hefty dose of vitamin K, potassium, and folate. If you eat it cooked, it will also supply iron and calcium. The oxalic acid it contains reduces absorption of these minerals from raw spinach, but cooking breaks down oxalic acid.


Swiss Chard

A cooked cup of this strongly flavored green gives you all the vitamin K that you need per day, plus vitamins A and C and antioxidant carotenoids and flavonoids. Toss into egg dishes or soups, or sauté with garlic and top with sesame seeds or lemon juice.


Romaine

Beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, and folate are its standout nutrients. It’s best in salads or on sandwiches that need crunch, and can also stand up to a quick grilling.



Micro Greens


Microgreens, tiny versions of leafy vegetables and herbs, have been described as healthier than full sized greens. So, do Microgreens really contain more nutrients? Do they have other benefits? And are they worth the extra price? Microgreens are grown in a similar way to regular vegetables and other plants but they are harvested when the plant is no taller than 5cm, which takes about 1-3 weeks from when the seeds are sown, making them ideal for indoor growing.


They have an intense aromatic flavour and concentrated nutrient content. They come in a variety of colours and textures and can be grown from many different types of seeds. The most popular varieties are produced using seeds from the following plant families :


Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula

Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio

Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel and celery

Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek

Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach

Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash


Cereals such as rice, oats, wheat, corn and barley, as well as legumes like chickpeas, beans and lentils, are also sometimes grown into Microgreens. They can vary in taste, which can range from neutral to spicy, slightly sour or even bitter, depending on the variety. Generally speaking, their flavour is considered strong and concentrated.



Health Benefits

Microgreens are packed with nutrients. They often contain larger amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than their more mature counterparts. While their nutrient contents vary slightly, most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. Microgreens are also a great source of beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants. What’s more, their nutrient content is concentrated, which means that they often contain higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels than the same quantity of mature greens.


Research comparing Microgreens to more mature greens reports that nutrient levels in Microgreens can be up to nine times higher than those found in mature greens. They deliver a concentrated dose of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. As a result, they may reduce the risk of certain diseases. More than 32,800 news items have been published about Microgreens as of Feb 2020. As well as their supposed health benefits, articles suggest they can encourage children to grow and eat more vegetables. Also, they can be grown in small spaces, making them ideal for indoor home growing.



Microgreens for an Elevated Lifestyle


Growing can definitely have a place in our homes. There is evidence that growing vegetables particularly in schools can help encourage children to eat more vegetables and have a more varied diet. From a culinary perspective, many of the Microgreens are herbs, and the leafy vegetable varieties can have different flavours when small. These may be sweeter or more peppery and can add new flavours to lift recipes not just visually but with respect to taste too. It could even potentially have a health side effect as the flavours from these small plants could reduce the desire to add additional seasoning, having an indirect health benefit.


Given that they're easy to grow at home, they're an especially cost-effective way to boost nutrient intake without having to purchase large quantities of vegetables. The ELEMENT comes with adjustable Vertical Farming racks so you can grow in a multi-tier setup that's perfect for Microgreens and for having a diverse

collection of plants inside your smart grow system. In conclusion, both Leafy Greens and Microgreens have individual strengths. With the availability of modern smart appliances that allow you to grow in the comfort of your home, take advantage of an elevated lifestyle by growing your own indoors without worrying about pesticides or harfmul bacteria, a real concern attached to buying greens from the grocery store.

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