Microgreens are healthy, tasty foods that we usually consider as additions to any good salad. And along with their numerous health benefits, they’re also fun and quick to grow.
At the same time though, there are some potential drawbacks to them, particularly for some seniors or those who are immunocompromised.
Read on to see what the big deal is about microgreens, and what seniors need to know in order to enjoy them safely.
Microgreens Are Sprouts, Right?
Microgreens are not sprouts… anymore. They are basically what sprouts turn into.
Sprouts don’t have leaves yet, while microgreens have their first true leaves.
This also means that if not grown properly, both the soil and the plant have a little more time to develop mold (whereas sprouts are plucked before there's much time for that first layer of light, dusty mold to appear).
Home Microgreens provides all the instruction you need to grow healthy microgreens at home.
Because sprouts and microgreens aren't moved around very much however, the soil doesn't usually get a chance to aerate (though Gildshire points out that the opposite can be true of houseplants –– something to bear in mind!).
Unlike sprouts, which are generally eaten whole –– leaves, stems, and roots –– microgreens are harvested by being cut right above the root, so what you see in the store or farmer’s market consists of just the stems and leaves.
Essentially, the part that’s eaten was not in contact with the soil at the time of harvest.
Can Microgreens Make Me Sick?
As with any food, microgreens can make you sick if they weren’t grown, harvested, or stored properly. The aforementioned mold issue can arise, as can problems with anti-pest substances and other chemicals.
It's also important to note that seniors may have weakened immune systems or specific sensitivities that may make it especially risky to consume microgreens raw.
These are things seniors can discuss in check-ups with their primary doctors.
Furthermore, KelseyCare Advantage points out that of the many seniors with Medicare Advantage plans, some will have access to extensive networks of doctors beyond primary care providers.
So, if there’s a need to see an immunologist or specialist, the visit may well be covered.
So, I Should Avoid Microgreens, Right?
Just as we rinse chicken and cook it to an internal temperature of 165º F in order to make sure it’s safe to eat, we can make sure our microgreens won't make us sick!.
Keep in mind that most store bought fruits and veggies can come into contact with harmful germs, chemicals such as fungicides, and insect repellent –– so microgreens aren't unique in this respect.
Growing microgreens at home eliminates the worry of how they were grown.
Washing your microgreens under clean, running water as the CDC recommends is the best way to clean them. It is also a good idea to cook them completely in order to kill off any harmful bacteria or fungi that washing might miss.
How Can I Prepare Microgreens?
First of all, there is a wide variety of microgreens to choose from: amaranth, mustard greens, and Swiss chard are just some popular options, all with distinct flavors you can mix and match with other ingredients.
Common recipes include stir-frying with a bit of olive oil and other vegetables; boiling; roasting along with other ingredients; and even using on a salad (as long as you’re absolutely sure they’re clean!).
They also work as a simple addition to any meal –– just sprinkle some on top and enjoy!
What Are the Benefits of Microgreens?
According to Women’s Health Magazine, there are a ton of health benefits to these simple mini-veggies.
Microgreens can help reduce your risk of heart disease, fight certain types of cancer, and give your immune system that extra boost to help you fight off infection –– all valuable benefits to seniors.
Like most fresh fruits and vegetables, they are also an excellent source of fiber, which benefits your digestive system.
We hope that this clears up any confusion you have had about microgreens. And for more information about microgreens and how to grow, harvest, and cook with them, please look at the other articles on this website.
Home Microgreens Store
All the supplies and microgreen seeds you need to grow beautiful and nutritious microgreens at home!
Our prices are as competitive as the larger seed sellers. We also have our own soil, microgreen kits, and trays!