In recent years, microgreens have become a commonplace garnish on all kinds of dishes due to their diminutive size and big flavor. But their value goes far beyond just being tasty. Microgreens can contain up to 40 times as many nutrients as their larger counterparts, making them powerful sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here we’ll discuss why microgreens have a positive impact on heart health, and which microgreens are the best to eat for a healthy heart.
Why Is Heart Health So Important?
Your heart works incredibly hard to keep you alive around the clock, with no breaks. So you’ll want to do whatever you can to keep it in good working condition as you age. Besides simply keeping you alive, maintaining good heart health as you age will help you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that poor heart health increases the risk of both depression and dementia, making it easy to see why keeping a close eye on your cardiovascular health is a good idea.
According to the American Heart Association, an American dies of heart disease every 37 seconds. Additionally, heart disease is the top cause of death in the U.S., responsible for one in four fatalities. But heart disease is preventable through habits like regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Why You Should Eat Microgreens
Studies have shown that sticking to a mostly plant-based diet is an effective method of maintaining heart health. You can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease simply by eating less meat and more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Microgreens can make a delicious and nutrient-packed addition to a mostly plant-based diet, as they have properties that promote heart health.
In a recent scientific study, rats were fed red cabbage microgreens in addition to an extremely high-fat diet. While a diet so high in fat normally would have caused the rat’s heart issues, the addition of the microgreens reduced weight gain by 17 percent. The rats also saw a 34 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol.
Why Are Microgreens Good For a Healthy Heart?
Microgreens contain high levels of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that’s associated with lowering your risk of heart disease. Studies indicate that consuming microgreens can help lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. Certain types of microgreens are also great sources of substances like sulforaphane, which helps to alleviate chronic inflammation and helps protect against cardiovascular disease, and healthy unsaturated fats.
Because microgreens are far more nutritionally dense than their larger green cousins, you get much more bang for your buck when eating microgreens. By adding them into smoothies, incorporating them into a salad, or sprinkling them on top of a creamy soup as a garnish, you can easily incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into your diet.
What Are the Best Microgreens for My Heart Health?
If you’re really looking to maximize your nutritional benefits, there are a couple of types of microgreens that are especially good for heart health.
Broccoli microgreens contain more sulforaphane than almost any other food out there. While it’s also found in veggies like cauliflower and cabbage, it’s particularly concentrated in broccoli sprouts. Beyond having a positive impact on chronic inflammation, sulforaphane helps protect humans against numerous types of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Basil microgreens, also known as micro basil, are a particularly rich source of polyphenols. Polyphenols possess powerful antioxidant properties, meaning they help purge the body of free radicals before they accumulate in toxic quantities. They reduce chronic inflammation, which is a primary contributor to heart disease. Polyphenols can also be found in mature vegetables; however, they’re particularly potent and diverse within microgreens.
Chia seeds have become particularly popular in recent years as a healthy food loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, the same healthy fat found in salmon. But chia seeds can also be used to sprout chia microgreens which contain the same omega-3 fatty acids. (Remember Chia Pets? Those were basically mini microgreen growing kits!) Chia greens are quick to grow and have a delicious tangy flavor that makes a good inclusion in sandwiches and salads. More importantly, they contain loads of omega-3 fatty acids, which are greatly beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Another type of microgreens that are great to eat for heart health is sunflower shoots. Sprouted from sunflower seeds, these crunchy sprouted greens are good sources of folate, selenium, vitamins C and E, and B complex vitamins. They’re also a great source of essential amino acids, which are highly beneficial for the human heart.
Best Ways to Prepare Microgreens For Heart Health
One of the best things about microgreens is how easy they are to incorporate into your diet. Microgreens can easily be tossed into a salad or included in a sandwich or wrap to add a little green freshness. They can also be juiced, such as in the case of wheatgrass shots, or put in smoothies to add a little extra flavor and nutrition. Microgreens are also very popular as garnishes in high-end restaurants because they look pretty atop dishes like omelets and soup. Essentially, the ways to use microgreens are limited only by your own imagination.
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart With Microgreens
While adding microgreens to your diet is a great step toward a healthier heart, it’s not enough just on its own. In addition to eating microgreens and other healthy plant-based foods, make sure you’re getting enough exercise. Doctors and health experts generally recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise four times a week in order to maintain heart health.
While microgreens, like their cousin’s sprouts, can potentially cause food poisoning if they’re not properly harvested or handled, in general, they are safe to consume and present no complications for people with existing heart conditions.
Overall, microgreens are an easy and safe way to get an extra nutritional boost that’s good for your heart. By consuming microgreens, particularly the ones we’ve mentioned here, you can take an easy step toward a healthier heart.