A study led by ARS plant physiologist Gene Lester, published in the 2012 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,evaluated nutrient levels found in 25 different varieties of vegetable microgreens. The team found that nutrient concentrations varied significantly by variety. “Among the 25 microgreens tested, red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish had the highest concentrations of vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K, and vitamin E, respectively,” the USDA notes.
What was consistent across varieties was the ability of microgreens to concentrate nutrients compared to the levels found in the same mature plants. In red cabbage, for example, researchers found microgreens contained a 6-fold higher concentration of Vitamin C and 69 times as much vitamin K as the mature vegetable.
In general, microgreens contained considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids—about five times greater—than their mature plant counterparts, an indication that microgreens may be worth the trouble of delivering them fresh during their short lives,” reports the USDA AgResearch Magazine.
Naturally the next question becomes: which plant nutrients impact cancer cells, and which microgreen varieties contain the highest concentrations of those impactful nutrients? Thankfully research teams have been all over those inquiries as well.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.) have long been tied to cancer prevention. Studies have shown intake of these vegetables can lead to reduced risk of primary bladder cancer, among others. One study that followed bladder cancer survivors over an eight-year period found that consuming a single serving or more of raw broccoli per month was associated with half the cancer mortality rate!
Window Garden’s salad mix contains all crucifers—an excellent choice for those hoping to reap the cancer-fighting benefits of microgreens.
But what is it about crucifers that allows them to yield such amazing results?
Numerous studies have found the plant phytonutrient sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, appears to positively target breast cancer stem cells and inhibit protein synthesis in human prostate cancer cells. Essentially, the sulforaphane “targets downstream elements of the pathway” that allow for cancer growth, effectively disrupting the growth pathway.
Watch M.D. Michael Greger’s video, starting at 1:20 to see the dramatic impact of sulforaphane on the growth of breast cancer cells. The great news from this study is the concentrations of sulforaphane shown in the study can be replicated by consuming between ¼ cup and 1¼ cups of broccoli sprouts per day—an absolutely achievable amount with a sandwich, salad, or smoothie.