Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, a member of the brassica group. Other veggies in this family include cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Many people think they dislike Brussels sprouts, partially because they look like miniature cabbages.
Not only are they full of flavor, they are packed with nutrients as well. Learn more about this versatile vegetable and give them another try.
Brussels Sprouts Facts & Nutrition
These little vegetables became popular in Brussels, Belgium, which is where they get their name. They grow in clusters on a large single stalk. Brussels sprouts have been eaten regularly in Belgium since the 13th century, although it’s possible they go way back to Ancient Rome.
Brussels sprouts grew well in areas with cool climates, such as the Netherlands. Eventually these crops spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe. Today, Brussels sprouts are enjoyed across Europe and North America. Several thousands of acres are planted in coastal areas of California, the US state that produces the highest yield of Brussels sprouts due to its coastal fog and cool temperatures year around.
High in antioxidants, Brussels sprouts are anti-inflammatory, and rich with vitamins A, C and K. They also contain folate, manganese, potassium, thiamin, fiber, omega-3s and iron.
Brussels Sprouts Benefits
The many health benefits of these veggies and their ease of acquiring and preparing should put them at the top of a grocery shopping list. Bring more Brussels sprouts into the diet to boost health in these ways:
• Sulfur compounds in Brussels sprouts cleanse the liver as they loosen old toxins and poisons in the cells. The sulfur bonds to the toxins and stays with them as they are flushed from the body.
• Lowers risk of cancer as they protect against free radical damage, or oxidative stress, and DNA-mutation.
• Strengthens bones. The high vitamin K content keeps the skeletal structure healthy and helps to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis or bone fractures due to loss of bone mineral density. Vitamin K also helps with blood clotting, bone calcification and turning off inflammation in the body.
• Boosts the immune system. Vitamin C acts as a protective antioxidant in the body, reducing inflammation and cell damage which results in protection against bacteria, viruses, toxins and other harmful invaders that can cause diseases.
• Reduces risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. Vitamins C and K, antioxidants and omega-3s in Brussels sprouts work together to keep arteries clean from plague buildup, to lower cholesterol levels, to fight high blood pressure, to increase blood flow and to maintain healthy, strong blood vessels. These benefits reduce the chance of heart attack and other cardiovascular complications.
• Restores digestive health. Glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts protect the sensitive lining of the digestive tract and stomach, reducing the chances of developing leaky gut syndrome or other digestive disorders. Sulfurs help to detoxify the digestive system while a high fiber content keeps it running smoothly.
• Protects eye and skin health. Vitamin C fights UV light damage that can lead to skin cancer and aging, while vitamin A offers protection against damage to the skin as well as the eyes. Consuming Brussels sprouts helps to slow aging, boost the skin’s immunity, and fosters new cell growth.
• Improves brain health. Brussels sprouts’ powerful antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and other nutrients stop oxidative stress and inflammation that are capable of damaging brain cells.
• Balances blood sugar and fights diabetes. Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels. This compound increases insulin sensitivity and prevents pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes. It also helps reduce complications for those with existing diabetes by managing blood glucose and preventing further oxidative stress and inflammation.
Ways to Enjoy Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed raw in salads and slaws or run through a juicer with other veggies and fruits. They can also be lightly sautéed, steamed or roasted. Cooking Brussels sprouts lightly brings out a sweeter flavor while retaining crunch and nutrients.
This vegetable pairs well with other veggies such as onions, carrots, and garlic. There are many excellent recipes that can be found on Pinterest.
Try these Garlic Brussels Sprouts as a side dish or pair with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes for a healthy and satisfying main dish. Just try them. Again. And reap amazing benefits.