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Study says microgreens are the new nutritional powerhouse

By Carrie Murphy for

Baby spinach and baby lettuce are de rigeur in every grocery store, but a new study says that even younger greens might give us more nutritional benefits.

Enter microgreens. These tiny leaves that are less than 14 days old can provide people with lots and lots of nutrients, possibly even more than baby or full-size varieties of leafy greens.

The study, conducted by USDA researcher Gene Lester at the University of Maryland College Park, looked at 25 different varieties of very young greens, aka microgreens. The results, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, are pretty amazing. Researchers found that microgreens generally had four to six times the amounts of vitamins as fully mature greens of the same plant. That means tiny little baby leaves, which have barely been exposed to sunlight, can potentially provide people with large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene.

And people are already growing microgreens. Brendan Davison grows microgreens in East Hampton, N.Y., and sells them to restaurants in the area. He says:

“I deliver the greens in the tray that they’re grown in, so I’m bringing the farm to the kitchen. The chefs can cut what they want with scissors right onto the plate, so they’re live and fresh.”

Keep reading for more on these power-packed plants…

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