health benefits of brussels sprouts

Availability and storage

Brussels sprouts are green leafy vegetables native of ancient Rome. As you might have guessed, they were originally grown in Brussels and hence this name. Now it is cultivated in many parts of the world. It is a seasonal vegetable available from October to March.

Brussels sprouts resemble miniature cabbages. They are generally green in colour and 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter. It is cultivated along coastal areas where the temperature ranges from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once harvested you can refrigerate them for about 3 to 5 weeks.

Nutrition information

Brussels sprouts contain very good amount of vitamin C and vitamin K and moderate amounts of vitamin B (including vitamin B6 and folic acid)

It also contains essential minerals and a small amount of dietary fiber. Brussels sprouts contain sulfur compounds which are potentially offensive and activate the enzymes in the body. The compounds in Brussels sprout have the ability to break the toxins in the body and eventually remove them.

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100 grams Of Brussels sprouts contains 8.95 grams of carbohydrates 3.38 grams of fat 169% of the required daily amount of vitamin K, 102% RDA of vitamin C, 17% RDA of vitamin B6, 15% folate besides small quantities of beta-carotene, thiamine, niacin, choline vitamin E. With so much of vitamins and minerals it add only 43 calories of energy.

It contains minerals, particularly 389 mg of potassium, 69 mg of phosphorous, 42 mg of calcium and 25 mg of sodium besides smaller quantities of iron, magnesium and zinc.

Health benefits of Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts used as normal vegetable like broccoli or kale, with the inherent not so pleasant smell, is a highly preferred vegetable. This is because it contains excellent properties giving remarkable health benefits.

Cardiovascular system

A powerful compound known as isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates triggers anti-inflammatory functions of the cardiovascular system. It reverses blood damage and prevents occurrence of heart attacks.

Lowers cholesterol

Brussels sprouts contain 15% of recommended daily amount of dietary fiber which helps the liver in producing more bile acids. This enhances digestion of fat thereby reducing the cholesterol levels.

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Anti-inflammatory

Brussels sprouts contain 430 mg of omega 3 fatty acids in about one and a half cup. Omega 3 fatty acid fights inflammation. Vitamin K abundantly available in Brussels sprouts also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Folic acid

Just half a cup of Brussels sprouts contain 47 micrograms of folate which is 12% of RDA of folic acid. Folate in vitamin B is capable of preventing defects in child birth by aiding the formation of neural tube. Folate not only helps maintain DNA but also reduces the risk of heart diseases.

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Vitamin C

Brussels sprouts contain 102% of RDA of vitamin C which aids proper development of the body and to keep the immune system strong. In addition, vitamin C is vital to maintain healthy bones, teeth, gums and skin.

Prevention of cancer

Glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts act as anti-oxidants and prevents various types of cancers like breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancer. Researchers claim that Brussels sprouts are more useful in preventing cancer than broccoli. De-toxification has to be on a daily basis and including Brussels sprout in one’s diet is a definite way to prevent cancer. The risk factor known as chronic oxidative stress for many of the cancers is removed by using Brussels sprout daily.

Eye care

Vitamin A, carotenoids, zeaxanthin and lutein found in Brussels sprouts filter the light passing through the retina. It prevents the harmful ultraviolet rays from passing through. Brussels sprouts are good for children and adults alike to ensure healthy eye sight.

Obesity

The anti-inflammatory agent, glucosinolate available in Brussels sprouts, acts at the genetic level. It thus cures the chronic inflammation consequentially preventing obesity.

Please note that chronic inflammation is one which silently damages the tissues in the body. The ill effects are known only after the disease sets in.

Since Brussels sprouts checks chronic inflammation it is an excellent diet and a preventive medicine for people of all ages.

How to consume

You can eat Brussels sprouts by steaming or boiling, like broccoli or kale but not raw. You can also consume it as a side dish fried in olive oil. You can season cooked Brussels sprouts with salt, pepper and butter. Before cooking remove any yellow leaves on Brussels sprouts and use only the green sprouts.

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Side effects of Brussels sprouts

Here is the good and bad news to those who do not like Brussels sprouts. The bad news is that, moderate quantities of brussels sprouts are very good for you and you don;t have a reason to say ‘no’.

And here is the good news. Too much of these sprouts can cause bloating and flatulence. Since they have large quantities of vitamin K, they promote blood clotting. Hence those who are currently taking medications for blood thinning should consume these vegetables little quantities.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.