A lot of people have been including quinoa microgreens in their regular diet as they have found out how nutritious these green foods are. In fact, quinoa microgreens have become superb substitutions for other carb-based foods such as rice and corn as they are far more nutritious and a lot healthier than the usual carbs. But what exactly are quinoa microgreens and how do you grow them?
Quinoa microgreens are the microgreen versions of the plant that grow out of quinoa seeds. They contain the same nutritional profile as quinoa but have the added vitamins and minerals that come from the greens of the microgreens. And they are quite easy to grow as you grow them similarly to other microgreens.
When it comes to health, you can never go wrong with quinoa microgreens as they come with the same benefits as the superfood quinoa but with more vitamins and minerals. But let us try to get to know more about quinoa microgreens and how you can grow them so that you can take advantage of these superfoods by growing them in the comforts of your own home.
What are quinoa microgreens?
You have probably heard about quinoa, right? These are some of the most popular superfoods on the planet as even the United Nations declared 2013 as the year of quinoa. In that sense quinoa is actually one of the most popular foods that people add to their diet for a more complete nutritional profile.
On top of that, quinoa actually tastes so good and may even be tastier than rice and other carb-heavy foods. That’s why quinoa is quickly becoming one of the best “grains” to substitute for the common grains that we eat such as rice.
In case you wondered why we said “grains”, it’s because quinoa isn’t a grain at all. Instead, quinoa is actually a seed that comes from the Chenopodium quinoa plant. So, even if it does look like grain and tastes and feels like most grains, quinoa is not a grain and is a seed. And because quinoa is a seed, it means that it can be planted and grown to become a plant.
So, because quinoa is a seed that can grow into a plant, it only follows that you can also grow microgreens out of it, and that is what quinoa microgreens are. Basically, quinoa microgreens are the microgreen plants that grow from the quinoa seed.
Seeds for growing quinoa microgreens
Microgreens are usually mistaken as sprouts but they are actually a bit older than sprouts but not exactly old enough to be called old full-grown plants. Quinoa sprouts are the ones where the germinated seeds start to form stems whereas the quinoa microgreens actually have green leaves that have already started to grow.
The reason why you have to wait until the quinoa sprouts have begun growing their leaves is that microgreens are the most nutritious and tastiest stage of the plant’s life cycle as quinoa tends to be at its best when it has reached the microgreen stage.
In that sense, quinoa microgreens are technically just as healthy and as nutritious as the quinoa seeds themselves but have the added health benefits that come with the greens. And because plants tend to lose a lot of their nutritional benefits as they grow to become more mature, quinoa microgreens are also healthier than the fully grown quinoa plant.
Speaking of how healthy and nutritious quinoa microgreens are, let us look at the nutrition of these plants and the benefits that come with adding them to your regular diet.
Quinoa microgreens nutrition
Quinoa, as mentioned, is often lauded as one of the best superfoods in the world because of how complete of a food source it is. This grain, which is actually a seed, contains all of the essential amino acids while also providing a good dose of whole-grain carbs and healthy protein without the gluten that comes with most carb sources. Here is the basic nutrition profile of the quinoa seed according to Healthline:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 4.4 grams
- Carbs: 21.3 grams
- Sugar: 0.9 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 1.9 grams
As you can see, quinoa is rich in a lot of different macronutrients but is relatively lower in calories compared to other grains. And the best part is that, compared to rice and other whole-grain foods, it is far more superior in terms of its protein and fiber content and is actually very low on fat and sugar. This makes quinoa a superfood on top of all of the other vitamins and minerals that come with it.
Here are the vitamins and minerals that you can find in quinoa according to Healthline:
If quinoa is already healthy, quinoa microgreens are just as healthy as they come with all of the nutritional benefits that quinoa seeds have but have additional benefits that come from the vitamins and minerals from the microgreens’ green portion, which are the leaves.
Quinoa sprouts among mung bean and radish sprouts
Here are the many nutritional benefits that you can get when you eat quinoa microgreens:
Gluten-free and relatively low in sugar
Quinoa microgreens are gluten-free and relatively lower in terms of sugar content compared to other types of food that can be good sources of carbs. And most of the carbs that make up quinoa microgreens are starches. On top of that, quinoa microgreens are also relatively high in fiber, which can help improve your digestion.
Rich in protein
It is during the microgreen stage that quinoa is at its best in terms of its protein profile as it becomes an even more complete source of vegan protein. Quinoa microgreens contain all of the essential amino acids that our muscles need. This makes them a good addition to a vegan diet or to any fitness enthusiast’s regular diet as the protein helps muscle growth while the amino acids aid in muscle repair. The amino acids found in quinoa microgreens also help improve your hair and skin.
Low in fat
Another good reason why quinoa microgreens are good for weight loss is that they are low in fat. What more is there to say about this benefit? And the best part is that quinoa fat is mainly composed of palmitic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid, which are comparatively healthier fats compared to animal fats.
Great for your bones
Quinoa microgreens are rich in magnesium, which is great for your overall bone health while also aiding in your metabolism. Having enough magnesium allows your bones to stay strong while helping you stave off the early symptoms of osteoporosis.
Aids in your overall heart health
One of the minerals that you can find in quinoa microgreens that are missing in quinoa seeds is potassium, which can only be found in abundance in leafy foods. Potassium is great at aiding your overall heart health because it helps lower your blood pressure while decreasing your chances of retaining water as well.
Good at helping you prevent diseases
In general, thanks to the amazing profile of vitamins and minerals found in quinoa microgreens as well as its complete macronutrient profile, it can be helpful at preventing diseases caused by a poor diet and a deficiency in some of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at its peak. That’s why quinoa has always been regarded as one of the top superfoods in the world.
Microgreens do add special taste and appearance to any kind of food
How to grow quinoa microgreens?
Now that you know how beneficial quinoa microgreens are, here is how you can grow your own batch at home:
- Remember that you need live quinoa seeds because the processed version of quinoa seeds won’t sprout. You don’t have to soak them. Just sow them on the soil
- Make sure that you only use a small and shallow tray with about an inch of soil. You can use any kind of growing tray with holes at the bottom, but you can make your own tray as well so long as you make sure that there are holes at the bottom for the water to escape through.
- Sprinkle a lot of the seeds on the tray but don’t let them bunch up too much because this can cause molds to grow. However, make sure that you also don’t provide the seeds with a ton of space. Don’t cover the sprouted seeds with soil.
4. Mist seeds quite heavily (soil has to remain moist) on a daily basis or as needed. And make sure you have a covered tray with some lid on the top or with the tray without holes, to keep the moisture in the tray. Keep them under a tray for as long as they grow up to 2-3 cm (0.78 -1.18’’) and then uncover the upper tray and expose them to the light source. Then start watering them from the bottom.
5. Once the leaves reach about 5 cm (2 inches) in height, it is now time to harvest your very own quinoa microgreens. This will be at around 14 days of growth. Make sure that you harvest them by cutting off the stem together with the leaves and not by uprooting the entire plant with the roots. Also, harvest the quinoa microgreens as soon as possible because the stress of not being able to get a lot of nutrients may cause the plant to die out soon.
Want to learn more?
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