Microgreens: A simple and effective solution for major nutritional problems in our urban life.

A review of trends in economic growth, health and nutrition indicates that the country is undergoing rapid socioeconomic, demographic, nutritional and health transitions. It is evidently seen that undernutrition continues to be persistently high in India and remains a challenge. Some of the major nutritional challenges in India include high levels of adult malnutrition (affecting one-third of the country's adult population), high levels of malnutrition (affecting almost every second child), high levels of maternal malnutrition (leading to low birth weight).

The main concern in India's scenario is about the essential nutrients lost in the process of cooking a dish. Here's where microgreens can help fill up the nutritional void in our daily diet. Microgreens have been increasingly gaining popularity within the wellness community as well as the culinary world in recent years as a superfood. The typical way anyone can improve their health would be by using microgreens in smoothies or just by simply tossing them over salads and main course.

Nutrition facts about microgreens:
• Microgreen cotyledon leaves have higher nutrition densities than their mature counterparts.
• Young edible seedlings are an abundant source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
• Some microgreens appear to contain even more beta-carotene than carrots.
• Microgreens are a good source of vitamin E.
• They contain vitamin K that plays an important role in maintaining strong and healthy bones.

Are they really healthy?
• They help reduce the risk of heart disease
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and the good news is that plant-based foods like microgreens have positive effects on blood pressure as fibre and vitamin K has the potential to lower blood pressure.

• They help boost your immune system
Any fresh and chemical residue-free vegetable has the potential to be anti-inflammatory and can potentially improve your immunity power. Given the Covid-19 crisis, adding microgreens to your daily nutrition can benefit everyone in promoting their immune system.

• They help improve eyesight
Research from Frontiers in Plant Science confirms the lutein content in microgreens can help your eyes absorb excess light intensity—which many office workers agree can lead to headaches and migraines.

• They reduce constipation and help avoid digestive ailments
As part of an overall healthy diet, microgreens might help speed things up in the bathroom. The high prebiotic fibre content in microgreens can help nourish the friendly probiotic organisms in your gut.

• They might help lower cholesterol
Leafy microgreens can lower cholesterol and assist in weight loss when consuming an otherwise fatty diet

As such, microgreens are a great addition to your daily diet, thanks to their nutritional values. But knowing how the microgreens will benefit you will help you make informed decisions. Broccoli is one of the favourites of microgreen growers. It contains 550 percent of the daily nutrients collected in Vitamins A, B, C and K as well as iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Basil is another good example of microgreens which are antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory properties. Kale, radish, sunflower shoots, pea shoots and wheatgrass are also excellent microgreens.

It is obvious that the benefits of microgreens are multipronged. They are indeed excellent solutions to battle the lack of daily nutritional requirements in your urban routine. They may be called “micro”, but their impact is on a macro scale!

Variety of Microgreens
The most popular varieties are produced using seeds from the following plant families: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula belong to the Brassicaceae family. Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio belong to the Asteraceae family. Dill, carrot, fennel and celery belong to the Apiaceae family. Garlic, onion, leek belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach belong to the Amaranthaceae family. Melon, cucumber and squash belong to the Cucurbitaceae family.

Why should we use hydroponic systems to grow microgreens?
Microgreens require less effort to grow as they don't require much equipment or time. They can be grown year-round, both indoors or outdoors.

1) Less water
Water can be reused in any hydroponics systems, meaning they require about 20 times less water than growing in soil.

2) They can grow anywhere and anytime
A hydroponic setup can be built in a basement, a garage, or even inside of a shipping container

3) More control
Growing microgreens hydroponically means we have complete control over how much of each kind of nutrient your plants are getting. We can adjust fertilizer balances for each individual microgreen crop that we grow.

4) No composting, no mess
There is no need to worry about tracking soil all through your house or accidentally spilling a tray of dirt on your carpet, also you don't need a place to dispose of all your used soil, so hydroponic systems are great for growing for instance in apartments.

5) Some microgreens grow better hydroponically
Some microgreens like wheatgrass, kale, and kohlrabi prefer to grow hydroponically and will produce better yields than if they were grown in soil.

Sanket Jiwane