Microgreens are baby plants that have high nutrient content and aromatic flavor. Most microgreens are edible depending on the type of plant it is growing from. These baby plants are plucked off before they can become full-grown versions. One such highly nutritional plant is sunflower microgreens.
Sunflower microgreens are grown by planting sunflower seeds and growing them until they turn into baby plants. These microgreens have immense health benefits, and you can eat them as snacks as well. You can add them to several dishes, which changes the nutritional value and the taste of the dish.
You can include sunflower microgreens in your food if you want to follow a healthy diet. The article covers more about sunflower microgreens and how they will benefit you. It also focuses on the growing process of the microgreen and how you can store them for later use. The article also mentions some of the dishes where you could add these microgreens to make it healthier and add more flavor.
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Health Benefits Of Sunflower Microgreens
Now that you know what sunflower microgreens are let us look into the health benefits these sprouts provide.
- Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein. They are known for providing the essential amino acids required by a body to help enzymatic functions and repair muscle tissue.
- These seeds help in building neurological, muscular, and skeletal systems.
- Sunflower microgreens kids gut bacteria very healthy and activate the cells of your immune system. This improves your body’s ability to prevent the entry of diseases.
- Sunflower sprouts have high zinc quantity which helps in boosting fertility.
- These sunflower seeds are packed with several vitamins such as A, B complex, D, and E. It is also the source of several minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, copper, and magnesium.
- The sunflower seeds contain a high quantity of solid, an essential vitamin B required by pregnant women. Besides Folate, it is also a source of essential fats, iron, and calcium which is also required during pregnancy.
- Your body might have accumulated deposits in the arterial walls which you can eliminate with lecithin. Lecithin also helps in Breaking Down fatty acids into a water-soluble component that you can digest easily. This a key element present in sunflower seeds.
- Your body could also benefit from chlorophyll found in sunflower microgreens growing in your indoor garden. This chlorophyll helps revitalize tissue, deodorize your body, enhance blood supply, calming inflammation, and activate enzymes.
- Ayurveda uses sunflower microgreens growing in good amounts to clear chest congestion. The sunflower sprouts are known to have the capacity to clear your lungs. They are used as expectorants and to reduce infections in your respiratory system.
- Since these microgreens have high nutrient levels and low calories, they are ideal for most weight loss programs.
Nutritional Value Of Sunflower Microgreens
Sunflower microgreens are a great source of vitamins and minerals that benefit your body in many ways. This section will look into the individual minerals and vitamins that you will find in these microgreens.
1. Essential Vitamins Found In Sunflower Seeds
You will find several vitamins such as vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, and vitamin A in the sunflower microgreen.
Vitamin A belongs to the retina group and plays a crucial role in vision, immune function, cellular communication, and reproduction. When retinol enters your body, it changes to retinoic acid, a hormone growth element for epithelial cells, including blood vessels and skin.
By consuming these sprouts, you get about 2% of the daily vitamin allowance in your body.
Vitamin B Complex
As already mentioned, you will find a high source of vitamin B, especially Folate, in these sprouts. Folate is essential for pregnant women since it helps eradicate any congenital disabilities related to the baby’s spine and brain development.
Vitamin B also ensures that pregnant women have proper blood circulation. Additionally, you will also find certain extra nutrients surcharge essential facts, calcium, and iron which helps women during pregnancy.
By consuming these microgreens, you will get up to 8% or even more of the daily vitamin B allowance in your body.
Vitamin D helps in regulating the level of phosphorus and calcium in your body. This is essential for building strong bones and healthy muscles along with controlling the blood pressure level.
With a good level of vitamin D in your body, you will be protected against many diseases or conditions such as immune system disorders, infections, and several types of cancers such as skin cancer.
Vitamin E is one of the primary antioxidants in your body, and this is abundantly available in Sunflower microgreens. You can get about 50% of the daily allowance of this vitamin from the microgreens.
The sunflower microgreen helps in protecting cellular and Molecular components in your body. Furthermore, it helps in reducing and utilizing free radicals. This vitamin has anti-inflammatory that reduces diseases and conditions resulting from inflammation, such as asthma or arthritis.
Coupled with Vitamin C and Selenium, vitamin E can help in lowering blood pressure, preventing heart diseases, and increase arterial elasticity.
It helps in preventing oxygenating cholesterol. Since cholesterol is caused when blood vessels are oxidized, consuming sunflower microgreen can prevent blocked arteries and reduce stroke and heart attack risk.
There are small traces of vitamin K in Sunflower microgreens, and consuming this would give you 0.9% of the daily allowance of this vitamin in your body.
Vitamin K is essential for strengthening teeth and bones, preventing osteoporosis, and improving cardiovascular health.
2. Essential Minerals Found In Oil Sunflower Seeds
You will find some key minerals such as Selenium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium in these micro greens.
Selenium is useful for increasing apoptosis, decreasing cancer cell proliferation, and repairing the DNA in damaged cells.
You get 7% of the daily Selenium allowance from these sunflowers seed.
The growing sunflower microgreens seed have 15% of the daily Phosphorus allowance that a body will receive. This mineral is essential for promoting healthy bones and other body functions.
Potassium is an essential mineral required by your body for muscle contraction, regulating fluid balance, and nerve signaling.
You can get a 5% or more daily potassium allowance from the microgreens seed.
Sunflowers seed can provide 2% calcium to your body in one serving. Calcium is great for maintaining healthy and strong bones and provides necessary nutrition to your heart, muscles, and nerves.
You will find high iron levels, almost 8% of your daily requirement, in these sunflowers seed. Iron helps enhance hemoglobin function, which is an essential protein needed to transport oxygen to your blood.
It also has other functions, such as maintaining your nails, skin, hair, and healthy cells.
Manganese present in the sunflowers seed can provide up to 22% of your daily needs. This mineral works as an antioxidant and plays a very important role in maintaining and developing your bones.
It also activates a high amount of enzymes in your metabolism system, regulation of blood sugar, and reduces inflammation.
Zinc is essential for aiding metabolism, repairing bones faster, signaling and cell function. The level of zinc in males can impact their testosterone levels and sperm.
You can grow sunflower microgreens to get about 6% of the daily zinc needs required by a person.
Copper is another nutrient that is highly present in these greens. It provides around 22% of daily requirements to a person’s body. Copper helps in reducing free radical production in your body and enhances cellular respiration.
Cellular respiration is a process using which your cells can convert the fuel into necessary energy and nutrients. These greens also help in tissue biosynthesis and neurotransmitter function.
About 15% magnesium of your daily requirements is derived from sunflower microgreens. This mineral helps in maintaining your cardiovascular system, immune system, and nervous system. It is also essential for enhancing the strength and health of your bones and energy production.
Magnesium is very important for balancing the excess level of calcium in your body. It prevents excess calcium from activating the Nerve cells, which then relaxes your nerves. Therefore it acts as a channel blocker for calcium.
How To Grow Sunflower Microgreens
Sunflower microgreens do not require any extensive techniques for growing. They can be grown in recycled berry or vegetable containers that you get from the supermarket. You can also use a milk carton by cutting it in half. The idea is to take a container that is waterproof and can be reused.
Below are some step-by-step tips that you need to follow to grow sunflower microgreens.
1. Choose The Soil
The type of soil you choose to grow sunflower microgreens will depend mostly on your budget and where you want to grow the microgreens. If you are on a low budget, you can choose your garden soil and grow microgreens in it. However, if you have a good budget, it is better not to choose garden soil. This is mainly because garden soil is filled with organic life.
The soil may have eggs of creepy crawlies, microbes, bacteria, and fungus spores, making your home their home. Using this soil for indoor growth would be a very risky idea. In such a situation, it is better to choose the organic seedling mix or potting mix.
2. Choose The Right Quantity
Choosing the right microgreen sunflower seeds quantity depending on the container size is very crucial. Though the measurement will depend completely on you, there are some standard measurements for the oil sunflower microgreens that you could follow.
For 25 sq. in soil, you can use about a quarter cup of microgreen seeds, while for 100 sq. in, you could use about one or one and a half cups of sunflower microgreen seeds. You will need to use two to three cups of seeds for growing sunflower microgreens seeds in 200 sq. in space.
You also need to very cautious when you are choosing sunflower microgreen seeds. You can also opt for black oil sunflower seeds. Black oil sunflower seeds are very high in nutrients, and the seedlings grow faster.
3. Soak The Seeds
For other microgreen seeds, you will not have to soak the seeds before planting them. However, since the shell of sunflower seeds is quite hard, soaking them would help in better growth of the sunflower plants. The shell for sunflower greens would become softer, and this would enhance the sprout and seedlings.
Soak the sunflower seeds for 12 hours in cold water for the best results. After this, drain the water from the sunflower seeds and rinse the sunflower microgreen seeds properly. Soak them again for 8 to 12 hours more. After it has soaked for approximately 24 hours, you can see the seeds start to sprout.
4. Sowing The Seeds
After your seeds have been soaked for 24 hours, you will need to sow them in the soil. Use a planter tray for growing sunflower microgreens and put potting soil of about one inch. Too much soil level is not required since the growing sunflower microgreens will take one week or even less. There won’t be any development of long roots, which will need more soil nutrients.
You should spread the seeds evenly on the whole soil surface. Get the soil and seeds moist using a spray bottle with a mist setting. Do not use too much water and avoid covering seeds with the soil. Just press them lightly so that they are in close contact with the soil. Put something else like a tray or towel on the seeds to prevent sunlight exposure.
Microgreens do not require sunlight for growing. These seeds will grow much better if they are placed in the dark. You only need to open the cover to moisten the soil and seeds every day. Make sure that the soil and seeds are not soaking wet and just slightly damp. If they are too wet, then the seeds will rot before becoming full-grown plants.
Keep them covered for about 4 to 5 days, and then you can remove the cover and expose them to the light. When you remove the cover, the microgreens will be slightly pale yellow. However, after being exposed to the sun, they will change to deep green. This is because they will now photosynthesize sunlight for turning into chlorophyll.
Keep your sunflower microgreens exposed to sunlight for 8 hours or more for about 10 to 14 days. During this time, you can properly water the microgreens one or two times every day. Once they are fully grown, you will be able to harvest them.
You can also use the seeds to add flavor to your food and as bird seed.
When the shells of the microgreens start falling from the leaves, you will know that it is time to harvest. Their height will be around 4 inches, and you can then cut off the microgreens from the soil. For this, you can take sharp scissors or a knife and cut the stems leaves some area above the soil.
Make sure that you use something sharp since the cut needs to be clean. If the cat is not clean, then the stems will get bruised or damaged. Another way to avoid taking the microgreens out is by pulling them by hand. This will also damage them extensively.
The development stage of each microgreen might be different. Some may still be in the growing process, while others can grow true leaves. There will also be certain immature ones that you can leave for longer in the soil.
The early stems could also grow another batch of microgreens but not at all times.
After harvesting the microgreens, you need to wash away the dirt very carefully. However, you need to be very cautious while cleaning them since too much pressure could damage them. Be very gentle with the microgreens while you are cleaning the dirt.
After cleaning them, place them between paper towels and use a plastic bag to seal them. Keep them in the fridge like this for about five days. It is also wise to eat the microgreens quickly after harvesting them.
How Can You Eat Sunflower Microgreens?
Apart from having a high nutritional value, sunflower microgreens are very tasty. You can use them like other sprouts such as alfalfa, baby lettuce, and arugula. Both the stem and leaves of the microgreens are very delicious. You can consume the microgreens either cooked or raw.
In case you want to eat the microgreens cooked, you will need to add them after the dish has been removed from the heat. Mix them at last so that their crispy and crunchy texture is maintained. You can use the sunflower microgreens on variable dishes such as omelets, scrambled eggs, salads, soups, wraps, and sandwiches.
If you want to punch in extra nutrition in your juice or smoothie, then you can add these microgreens. They will also provide a slightly nutty texture and flavor to your smoothie. There are varieties of other recipes that you can use for these sunflower microgreens. You can also blend them into rice or mashed potatoes apart from soups, salad, or sandwiches.
Sunflower microgreens are used in varieties of food items like salads, soups, and rice. Add texture, taste, and high nutritional value to the food. That is why if you grow sunflower microgreens indoors, it would be very beneficial for you.
Since your body requires high levels of minerals and vitamins to function properly, sunflower microgreens will be the perfect source to provide you the same. These seeds are also used as bird food. You can use high-quality seedlings at any grocery store.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.