Sharlene G. Ionescu from A&S Microgreens shares how microgreens aided in recovery from a severe heart virus.
February is “Heart Month,” which is an excellent reminder that cardiovascular health is essential. Personally, February is an occasion to celebrate my rehabilitation from a severe heart virus that I contracted in 2018. Without burdening you with the medical jargon, let’s just say that I was left with a heart that was only pumping at 30% capacity. I could hardly breathe, and I was also weak. After an extended stay at the hospital, all I could do was rest and hope for a full recovery.
I knew that good nutrition is crucial for a healthy life, and I needed a boost of nutrients. In other words, I needed superfood, and microgreens are a superfood. They are small in size but packed with intense flavours, vivid colours and tender textures. They are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs, generally harvested at 7-14 days after germination. Microgreens are not sprouts: they are older than sprouts but younger than “baby greens.”
I was impressed with the health benefits of microgreens. Did you know that microgreens provide extra perks for boosting heart health? That’s because they are nutrient-dense, contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, no sodium, and no fat or other additives. Depending on the variety, those tiny plants are 4 to 40 times more nutritious than the mature plants.
For example, the micro radishes, micro cabbages, and micro amaranth have high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E. In contrast, micro cilantro offers an abundance of carotenoids and a high concentration of lutein. Microgreens have a great source of antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which can lower heart disease risk.
I tasted microgreens in the past but mostly as a simple salad garnish. As part of a new healthy lifestyle, microgreens made an abundant appearance on every plate and at every meal. I make microgreen-only salads, add them to smoothies, juices, soups, sauces, marinades, sandwiches, paninis, tacos; I add them to all my favourite dishes.
A year into my convalescence, my heart health improved at a much better rate than the cardiologist anticipated. Unfortunately, I caught pneumonia, which set my heart functions back a little, but I believe that eating microgreens played a significant role in my recovery. At the time, I was growing a couple of microgreen varieties like broccoli, radish and cabbage and liked it a lot.
Today I feel a lot stronger. This virus to my heart forced me to make several lifestyle changes. One of them was to change career and I am now a partner-grower at a microgreen urban farm here in the Cowichan Valley. Microgreens are so good and tasty that I grow 45 varieties and offer 65 different microgreen products commercially. I love having a wide selection available!
If you are focusing on a healthier lifestyle, consider adding microgreens to your diet. They are a better choice for healthy eating, and they are available in many varieties. Choose a mighty brassica, a microgreen shoot or some specialty micro herbs. Better yet, be adventurous and create a mix by combining a miniature version of your favourite vegetables and herbs. Microgreens are an easy and convenient way to eat your vitamins. Remember, a little goes a long way. Go ahead, and like me stay healthy and spread the word!