Boost Immunity with Microgreens in COVID-19 pandemic
situation| DIHAR-DRDO | India
About the organization:
DIHAR(Defence Institute of High Altitude Research), Leh-Ladakh, India is one
of the Defence Research &Development Organization (DRDO)dedicated for
evolving novel inputs to support the Indian soldiers in nutritional and health
security locallyfor maintaining theiroperational efficiency in harsh-remote-cold-
Global battle is going on against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). There are
few key measuresfor hygiene standards like frequently washing hands, wearing
face mask, social distancingand improvingthe immune system which is an
utmostrequirementat the time to fight against the virus.
Improvement of Immunity:
WHO suggests that eating balance diet, getting good sleep and exercising are
key component for overall health and well-ness.Now more than ever with the
COVID-19 outbreak situation, we need to find out ways to boost our immunity
which is helpful for combating in case of corona virus infection. A strong
immune system is the result of diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Making sure you are eating a diet high in immune-boosting nutrients isone way
you can take an active role in maintaining your well-being.
Microgreens: A diet supplement can help in protecting against
Vital nutrients i.e. vitamins A, B, C, D & E, and minerals like iron, selenium
and zinc have essential role in the regulation of immune system. For instance,
vitamin C prevents infection and helps in post-infection recovery. Vitamin B6 is
essential for the formation of RBC’s and in maintenance of lymphatic system.
Similarly, selenium deficiency negatively affects the immune system cells
during its growth stages. Intake of these nutrients is very necessary to maintain
good health. This has become need of the hour of covid-19 situation because the
novel corona virus may affect more the immune-compromised individuals as
compared to healthy ones. Recovery rate could be faster in a healthy individual
with the strong immune system.
Eating naturalcolourful vegetables and fruits is a good way to ensure that you
are getting key nutrients in your diet which can lead to a healthy microbiome in
gut resulting strong immune system that can help fight off infection faster on
the flip side. Studies show that the microgreens are richer in vitamins, minerals
and antioxidants as compared to their counterparts which can easily grow in
very short span of time at home.Small amount of microgreens in your diet can
provide the same nutrition as compared to mature vegetables thus make it super
Our studies stated that Ladakhregion`s indigenous crops like
Atriplex,Fagopyrum, Lapidiummicrogreens are loaded with beta carotene
whichgets converted to vitamin A and it strengthen the healthy immune
system to deal with toxins and foreign substances.
Carotenoids are abundantly present in cilantro microgreens, showed the
highest concentration of lutein. Such fat-soluble antioxidants can protect
cellular membranes by scavenging free radicals.
Red cabbage micro-greens contain over 40 times the vitamin E content
than mature greens.
Radish microgreens have more F, Mg, K, Ca, total phosphorous, vitamin
B9 and Omega 3 fatty acid concentration than the mature radish
Good concentration of vitamin C is perceived in cabbage, broccoli,
fenugreek and radish microgreens, Vitamin C isvery effective antioxidant
against influenza type of infections. It's involved in many body functions,
including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system,
wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin B9/folate is highest in atriplex, broccoli and in fenugreek
microgreens. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates)
into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy.
Cruciferous (cabbage family) microgreens are loaded with secondary
metabolites e.g. polyphenols compounds like glucosinolates (sulphur
containing) which isanti-cancerous anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and
Zinc is recorded high in fagopyrum, atriplex and in broccoli. It helps
improve the immune system for fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Rich dietary fibre is present in microgreens improve appetite, digestion
and reduces gastrointestinal problems.
Microgreens are high quality functional fresh food having health
promoting benefits due to rich vital phytonutrients, negligible fat and zero
cholesterol. Thus adding freshly harvested microgreens to your daily diet
will make you feel healthier, fitter and more energetic.
DIHAR is consistently working on facet of augmentation of fresh and nutritious
food availability to the troops deployed in the border regions and remote
location of country. This institute has developed ‘Microgreens Technology for
Soldiers’ Health’ to combat their nutritional requisite and physical efficacy
especially when availability of fresh food daily is the biggest challenge at such
geographical inaccessible locations due to harsh climatic conditions.
Maintaining consistent good health and strong immune system of soldiers is
really a challenging part of the job thus we developed a technology for
microgreens production for them to obtain year round fresh food supplement to
fulfil their daily need of vital phyto-nutrients.
Besides their health benefits, microgreens are comparatively easier and
affordable to grow and maintain than their fully grown counterparts. With just a
generous amount of sunlight, growing media and water, it can be grown
inplastic trays/any suitable pot at home. The germination duration is also quite
short as just in 10-12 days, the organic plants are ready to harvest.Unlike most
of the other vegetables, microgreens can be grown throughout the year as
depicted in the production cycle.
Covid-19 has created massive amounts of anxiety in the people worldwide,
which can have dire consequences in terms of mental stress and psychological
health issues. Antioxidants and other nutrient present in microgreens can have a
calming and soothing effect to help relieve these conditions. In the same time,
keeping own selfengaged in growing and intake of microgreens at home can
help in reducing mental stress and monotonous state of mind during lockdown
and quarantine time. Simultaneously our studies on microgreens is clearly
indicating their values as greens food for good health system and improving
In conclusion, microgreens may not have direct effect on curbing the virus but
these could help indirectly by protecting the major organs due to their
antioxidant potential and strengthen one’s immune system and develop a first
line defence system against the virus. At a time when going out is not a wise
choice, staying indoors brings stress, dullness and anxiety in many people. In
this pandemic situation, WHO suggests to do activities that one enjoys.
Growing microgreens can be engaging and brings certain calmness of the mind.
Dr Narendra Singh, Scientist `F`
Ms. Seema Rani, PhD Research Scholar
DrAditika, Research Associate
Ms. Anjali Ghai, PhD Research Scholar
DIHAR-DRDO, Leh- Ladakh