The Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage Patch Kings
Seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil, Brussels sprouts are a favorite holiday side dish. But there are many reasons why these little leafy greens should appear on your plate more than a mere twice-a-year. Like broccoli and cauliflower ― their close cousins in the cruciferous family ― Brussels sprouts not only provide essential nutrients to our bodies, they boast a slew of health benefits.
This venerated vegetable named after the capital of Belgium was enjoyed in that country as early as the thirteenth century, but no one knows its exact origins. Brussels sprouts are a member of the disease-fighting cabbage family, and like nearly every other vegetable, they are low in fat and calories. But they are also quite high in protein, so pair them with whole grains and get the full spectrum of essential amino acids that the body requires. Eating more Brussels sprouts will also promote a healthier immune system, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. They are also exceptionally rich in vitamin C, an anti-cancer agent. Recent studies have proven Brussels sprouts’ ability to even improve the stability of the DNA inside our white blood cells.
- high in vitamin C
- high in dietary fiber
- improves DNA stability in white blood cells
- low in fat and calories
- promotes a healthier immune system
One cup of Brussels sprouts contains four grams of dietary fiber, which does wonders for your digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar. Including foods with plenty of dietary fiber in your diet will also check overeating, which is why we recommend these cute cabbages to anyone who looking to feel fuller
Brussels sprouts are available year round. Look for rigid and vivid green sprouts, ideally still attached to their stalk. Most importantly, find buds that are all about the same or similar size or cut them up into quarters to ensure that they cook evenly. One of the easiest ways to prepare Brussels sprouts is to steam them, cutting a line or a cross at their center to aid with the penetration of heat. Overcooking them will result in a significant loss of their anti-cancer compounds, as well as a sulfuric smell and unpleasantly strong flavor.
by Daniel McIntyre
Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(Updated: 10/23/12 SC)