Sunflower microgreens make a great addition to salad or sandwiches. Their sweet and nutty flavor can add taste and nutrition to any cuisine.
Microgreens are tender plants that are harvested before they have fully grown. If you are looking for a healthy alternative to spinach or lettuce in your salad, sunflower microgreens are the way to go. To add taste and texture to your next meal, sprinkle some on top.
What are sunflower microgreens?
Sunflower microgreens are microscopic plants that germinate from sunflower seeds. They are grown in soil (or a soilless growing media) and harvested when they reach a height of 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm).
They contain a concentrated amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals during this early stage of development. Thus, despite their diminutive size, they deliver a powerful nutritional punch.
Sunflower microgreens are also known as sunflower shoots. While you can buy these at grocery stores or farmers’ markets, growing your own is considerably more cost-effective.
Sunflower shoots are a popular microgreen because of their mild, sweet, nutty flavor and complete nutritional content. What could be better than farm-fresh greens that you can harvest whenever you want?
Nutritional value of sunflower microgreens
Sunflower microgreens provide a substantial amount of your daily dietary requirements as well as essential nutrients. A study titled “Oilseed crop sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a source of food: Nutritional and health benefits” was published in Food and Science Nutrition in 2020. According to this study, vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, and folate, are abundant in these small greens.
Sunflower microgreens are abundant in iron and protein. They also include lipids that are good for the brain, including omega-3s and omega-6s. Further, sunflower microgreens provide 27 calories per 100 grams.
Let’s look at why you should consume sunflower microgreens in the first place.
Health benefits of sunflower microgreens
Let’s look at how sunflower microgreens can improve your overall health —
- Help with weight loss
Sunflower microgreens can be an excellent addition to a weight-loss diet for those seeking nutrient-dense food with few calories and fat.
- Make your skin healthy and hair shiny
Sunflower microgreens are high in vitamin A and omega fatty acids, which help get beautiful skin from the inside out. Riboflavin is necessary for a healthy brain and the growth of glossy hair.
- Strengthen your bones and teeth
Sunflower microgreens include vitamin K, which may aid in the development of healthy bone structures and the prevention of hip fractures. Vitamin K helps to activate proteins that are necessary for proper blood coagulation. Calcium and manganese are the other minerals that add to the strength of bones.
- Boosts brain and cognitive functions
Vitamin E is abundant in sunflower microgreens. Vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study in Harvard Health. Vitamin E protects cells, and vitamin A prevents cell damage.
- Protects your heart
Along with vitamin C and selenium, vitamin E decreases blood pressure, protects arteries from injury, and reduces the risk of heart disease. Copper aids in the metabolization of iron and the formation of new red blood cells.
- Supports health of pregnant mothers
Sunflower microgreens are high in folate and B vitamins, which aid in the formation of new cells and promote healthy brain and spine development when consumed early in pregnancy.
- Boosts overall immune system
Sunflower microgreens are high in vitamin C. This vitamin is necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system and collagen production.
- Beneficial for thyroid health
Selenium works as a potent antioxidant that regulates thyroid functions. Sunflower microgreens are rich in selenium. Selenium aids in the stabilization or neutralization of chemicals that can harm cells.
- Acts as a digestive aid
The dietary fibre found in these microgreens helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Sunflower microgreens are more gentle on your digestive system than sunflower seeds.
Sunflower microgreens: How to use them
Sunflower microgreens will brighten up your culinary masterpieces. Now that you’ve grown your batch of sunny greens, here are some suggestions for using them:
- As a salad dressing
While these greens are labeled “micro,” sunflower microgreens are bigger than other varieties of microgreens. This adds weight and substance to them, which can be a plus for salads. Pea shoots go nicely with their mild, nutty flavor. Make a salad with sunflower and pea shoots as the base and a dressing of your choice on top.
- In sandwiches, wraps, tacos and frankies
Sunflower microgreens can be substituted for leafy greens in all culinary dishes to add texture and flavor, including wraps, sandwiches, and Frankies.
- Topping for avocado toast
With a dash of sunflower microgreens, top your avocado toast with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- To make a smoothie
Combine some fruits (strawberries, bananas, or whatever you have on hand), some healthy fats from seeds (chia or flax seeds), and, if preferred, some water or milk. Blend until smooth.
- Sauté briefly
If you want your greens cooked, softly sauté sunflower microgreens with a drizzle of olive oil on your stovetop for a minute or two. Toss with eggs on a plate. Microgreens pair well with omelets, frittatas, scrambled eggs, and other cooked egg dishes.
- For garnishing
For extra flavor, sprinkle sunflower microgreens over soups, stews, and other prepared meals.
- Munch as a snack
As a healthy, crunchy snack, you can eat sunflower microgreens in their natural form.
Sunflower microgreens can be a delicious and nutritious topping for salads, soups, sandwiches, and pizza. They are high in minerals and vitamins and have a delectable nutty flavor and beautiful crunchy texture. These microgreens appear to have a higher concentration of nutrients than their bigger counterparts.
But the best part about microgreens is that they can be produced quickly and inexpensively in the comfort of your home. Sunflower microgreens provide a superb taste and a plethora of health benefits. They are a wise choice if you are seeking highly nutritious greens to top up your meal.
Adeleke, B. S., & Babalola, O. O. (2020). Oilseed crop sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ) as a source of food: Nutritional and health benefits. Food Science & Nutrition, fsn3.1783. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.1783
Guo, S., Ge, Y., & Na Jom, K. (2017). A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common sunflower seed and sprouts (Helianthus annuus L.). Chemistry Central Journal, 11(1), 95. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13065-017-0328-7
In the journals: High-dose vitamin E may slow Alzheimer’s decline. (2014, March 1). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/high-dose-vitamin-e-may-slow-alzheimers-decline
Juraschek, S. P., Guallar, E., Appel, L. J., & Miller, E. R., 3rd. (2012). Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(5), 1079–1088. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.027995
Laclaustra, M., Navas-Acien, A., Stranges, S., Ordovas, J. M., & Guallar, E. (2009). Serum selenium concentrations and hypertension in the US Population. Circulation. Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 2(4), 369–376. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.108.831552
Rele, A. S., & Mohile, R. B. (2003). Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal of Cosmetic Science, 54(2), 175–192. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12715094/
Schurgers, L. J., Shearer, M. J., Soute, B. A. M., Elmadfa, I., Harvey, J., Wagner, K.-H., Tomasch, R., & Vermeer, C. (2002). Novel effects of diets enriched with corn oil or with an olive oil/sunflower oil mixture on vitamin K metabolism and vitamin K-dependent proteins in young men. The Journal of Lipid Research, 43(6), 878–884. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0022-2275(20)30461-2
Shahunja, K. M., Sévin, D. C., Kendall, L., Ahmed, T., Hossain, M. I., Mahfuz, M., Zhu, X., Singh, K., Singh, S., Crowther, J. M., Gibson, R. A., & Darmstadt, G. L. (2021). Effect of topical applications of sunflower seed oil on systemic fatty acid levels in under-two children under rehabilitation for severe acute malnutrition in Bangladesh: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal, 20(1), 51. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-021-00707-3
Tinggi, U. (2008). Selenium: its role as an antioxidant in human health. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 13(2), 102–108. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12199-007-0019-4
Using Olive or sunflower oil prevents heart disease from fried foods. (2012, February 7). Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/using-olive-or-sunflower-oil-prevents-heart-disease-from-fried-foods-97173-1.htm
Vijayakumar, M., Vasudevan, D. M., Sundaram, K. R., Krishnan, S., Vaidyanathan, K., Nandakumar, S., Chandrasekhar, R., & Mathew, N. (2016). A randomized study of coconut oil versus sunflower oil on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with stable coronary heart disease. Indian Heart Journal, 68(4), 498–506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ihj.2015.10.384
Ware, M., RDN, & L.D. (2019, November 7). Microgreens: Health benefits and growing tips. Medicalnewstoday.Com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316075
Zoidis, E., Seremelis, I., Kontopoulos, N., & Danezis, G. P. (2018). Selenium-dependent antioxidant enzymes: Actions and properties of selenoproteins. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 7(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox7050066