Microgreens as a Functional Component of the Human Diet


Chronic diseases are becoming increasingly widespread in Europe and represent one of the main causes of mortality and morbidity. Chronic conditions such as heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which a few decades ago were primarily a problem for the elderly population, now strongly affect middle-aged and young people. This reflects largely the cumulative effect of more challenging living or working conditions and greater exposure to various risk factors. In the European Union (EU), life expectancy has significantly increased in recent years, but aging is often accompanied by at least two chronic disabilities.

The health benefits of many mature plants are well-known, but the persistence of their cultivation on agricultural land through soil chemization can raise various concerns. In this context, agricultural innovations that can reduce the impact of external influences are welcome. Currently, microplants are cultivated using hydroponic techniques, which are the most popular. We speculate that as evidence of their biological impact accumulates, these plants could become a new interesting food source for improving human health.


Microplants have become increasingly popular in recent years, and this popularity is growing due to increased global public awareness of healthy eating. Microplants are young and immature plants located between the germination and green leaf stages of their development. Di Gioia mentions that not all delicate young leaves are considered microplants. They are about 1 to 3 centimeters tall and are harvested, on average, between 7 and 14 to 21 days after planting (depending on the species).

Scientific data suggests that microplants are richer in polyphenols, glucosinolates, vitamins, minerals, or carotenoids. Also, saturated or unsaturated fatty acids are more abundant compared to adult plants. For radish microplants, a high content of glucosinolates has been found, which are crucial in preventing cancer in humans. Also, broccoli microplants show strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, or anti-obesity properties compared to adult plants.

Health Benefits

As we have already emphasized in previous sections, microplants are becoming recognized as a new source of physiologically active substances, and their popularity is skyrocketing due to a variety of nutritional and chemical factors.

Current research has gradually expanded, while the pilot study confirmed efficacy in reducing blood sugar, weight control, and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Anti-Cancer Potential of Microplants

Malignant tumors are the second leading cause of death globally, and there is a forecast for an increase in incidence in the coming years. Therefore, there is an urgent requirement for cost-effective cancer prevention by increasing the intake of bioactive phytochemicals from plants. Microplants, with a variety of polyphenols, vitamins, carotenoids, and minerals, are considered promising in cancer prevention and have the regulated capacity to affect specific metabolic processes and mechanisms in cancer cells.

Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Microplants

Generally, inflammation plays a critical role in the progression of several diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. It is believed that larger amounts of phytochemicals, which are predominant in microplants, regulate the immune system and prevent the aforementioned health issues and diseases.

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