Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea) are cruciferous vegetables originally cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century. These small, cabbage-like buds belong to the same family of vegetables as broccoli and kale, both of which are vegetables known for their multitude of health benefits. Brussels sprouts are no different. A single serving has very few calories yet contains enough vitamin C and vitamin K to meet the recommended daily allowance. Specifically, one cup of Brussels sprouts will provide up to 125 percent of vitamin C and 195 percent of vitamin K needed for a day.
Vitamin K plays important roles in blood clotting and maintaining bone health, while the antioxidant vitamin C supports the immune system and assists in the formation of collagen. Though the most plentiful vitamins in Brussels sprouts, these are far from being the only nutrients present in these vegetables. Other nutrients include:
As a cruciferous vegetable (so named because their plant blossoms resembles crucifixes), Brussels sprouts are rich in glucosinalates, a sulfur-containing phytochemical that has been said to stimulate cancer cell death and help eliminate potential carcinogens. A number of studies have been conducted on the cancer-inhibiting capabilities of glucosinalates, including one study by researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute that found cruciferous vegetables in general to be helpful in cancer prevention. In addition to decreasing the risks of cancers like lung or colon cancer, Brussels sprouts can also assist against such ailments as:
An abundance of vitamins and minerals in Brussels sprouts makes them excellent vegetables to add to most any diet. Making them a part of one’s meals can give the following body systems and organs a much-welcome boost:
The smaller the Brussels sprouts, the more tender, sweeter and less fibrous they are, making these the ideal ones to use in cooking. Roasting Brussels sprouts is the best way to preserve their green color and nutritional content, while also concentrating the nutty sweetness of the vegetables. Steaming Brussels sprouts is another viable option, as this method also helps retain the majority of their beneficial nutrients. A simple and easy way to eat Brussels sprouts is to fill them with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and minced garlic and then roast them in the oven.
Note that overcooking Brussels sprouts will strip them of their nutritional value and bring out the bitter flavor and sulfuric smell commonly associated with this vegetable.
As a provider of vitamin K, Brussels sprouts are key in ensuring bone health and mitigating the risk of bone fractures.
This vitamin not only modifies bone matrix proteins, but it also reduces the amount of calcium excreted during urination and facilitates better calcium absorption.
Moreover, Brussels sprouts contain a fair amount of calcium, making them one of the best vegetables for greater bone health overall.
Apart from glucosinolates, Brussels sprouts also contain isothiocyanates, another antioxidant that’s said to prevent cancer.
Brussels sprouts are generally healthy vegetables, however, they are not recommended for individuals with thyroid dysfunction because of the goitrogens, which may trigger swelling of the thyroid gland.
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