The Science behind Microgreens as an Exciting New Food for the 21st Century

J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Nov 7;66(44):11519-11530. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03096. Epub 2018 Oct 29.


Chronic diseases are a major health problem in the United States. Accumulated data suggest that consumption of vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Dietary guidelines for 2015-2020 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend 1-4 cups of vegetables per day for males and 1-3 cups of vegetables per day for females, depending on their age. However, the average intake of vegetables is below the recommended levels. Microgreens are young vegetable greens. Although they are small, microgreens have delicate textures, distinctive flavors, and various nutrients. In general, microgreens contain greater amounts of nutrients and health-promoting micronutrients than their mature counterparts. Because microgreens are rich in nutrients, smaller amounts may provide similar nutritional effects compared to larger quantities of mature vegetables. However, literature on microgreens remains limited. In this Review, we discuss chemical compositions, growing conditions, and biological efficacies of microgreens. We seek to stimulate interest in further study of microgreens as a promising dietary component for potential use in diet-based disease prevention.

Keywords: diet-based disease prevention; dietary guidelines; health-promoting; microgreens; micronutrients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / analysis*
  • Micronutrients / metabolism
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritive Value
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Vegetables / growth & development
  • Vegetables / metabolism


  • Micronutrients