Brussels sprouts belong to the Brassicaceae family, same as mustard greens, kale and cauliflower. They may look like tiny cabbages, but their nutritional value is really high.
Brussels sprouts offer tons of fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fats, vitamin K, vitamin C and other great nutrients. According to research, this veggie can help you treat and prevent constipation, heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer.
We give you ten great reasons to eat Brussels sprouts more often.
1. Great nutritional value
Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K is important for your bones and blood clotting. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that improves the absorption of iron and also optimizes your immune response and tissue repair.
Fiber improves gut health and bowel movement. The “tiny cabbages” contain traces of potassium, thiamine, phosphorus, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium.
2. Easy to add to a diet
You can eat them as side dish or entrée. How to cook them? You can bake, sauté, roast, or boil them. Cut off the ends of your Brussels sprouts, and season with salt and black pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil and roast them.
Simple as that. You can add this veggie to your pasta dishes or frittata. Stir-fry? No problem!
3. Vitamin C
A 78-gram serving of this cruciferous vegetable provides 81 percent of your daily requirements for vitamin C. Your body needs this vitamin to repair and grow tissues.
It’s an excellent antioxidant that takes part in the production of collagen and other proteins. Vitamin C is important for your immune response, too.
A review based on 11,000 participants found that vitamin C reduces the severity of common cold and reduces its duration by 8 percent in adults.
Vitamin C improves the absorption of nonheme iron. It’s the iron from plant foods. Unlike iron from animal sources, your body is unable to absorb non-heme iron on its own.
Take 100mg of vitamin C with your meals to improve the absorption of iron by 67 percent. Eat two servings of Brussels sprouts several times a week to get the right amount of vitamin C.
Chronic inflammation triggers the development of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Researchers have found that Brussels sprouts contain a compound that reduces inflammation.
Another study found that this vegetable reduces inflammatory markers in blood. Antioxidants in Brussels sprouts neutralize free radicals and prevent inflammation.
Kaempferol is the primary antioxidant in Brussels sprouts, and it gives this vegetable its incredible power.
5. ALA Omega-3 fatty acids
Those who don’t eat seafood or fish don’t get enough omega-3 fats. Plant foods contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fats that is used less efficiently in the body when compared to omega-3 fats from seafood and fish.
The body can only change ALA to other active omega-3 fats in limited amounts. In other words, you will need more ALA fats to meet your daily needs, than if you are taking your omega-3 fats from fish.
Brussels sprouts are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fats. A 78-gram serving has 135 mg of ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood triglycerides, insulin resistance, and inflammation, and also slow cognitive decline.
Eat a few servings of Brussels sprouts to meet your daily needs of omega-3 fats. This serving provides 8.5 percent of the daily needs for men and 12 percent for women.
6. Blood sugar
Brussels sprouts regulate blood sugar, and may lower your risk of diabetes. Fiber in this veggie has the power to normalize your blood sugar.
Fiber moves slowly in the guts, and it’s undigested, meaning it slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood. Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that affects insulin and blood sugar.
A study based on 12 participants showed that alpha-lipoic acid improves the function of insulin and regulates sugar. Diabetics were given alpha-lipoic acid supplements before experiencing high insulin sensitivity.
7. Vitamin K
A 78-gram serving of Brussels sprouts provides 137 percent of the daily vitamin K needs. Vitamin K has an important role in coagulation and also promotes bone growth.
This vitamin prevents osteoporosis, and its supplements strengthen bones and lower the risk of bone fracture in postmenopausal women.
Caution: If you take blood-thinners, lower your intake of vitamin K.
A 78-gram serving of Brussels sprout offers 2 grams of fiber, and that’s up to eight percent of your daily requirements for fiber.
Fiber relieves constipation, improves stool consistency and eases passing. It’s also important for your digestive health as it feeds good bacteria.
High fiber intake regulates blood sugar and lowers the risk of heart conditions. Men need 38 grams of fiber and women need 28 grams per day. Combine your Brussels sprouts with other veggies, fruits and whole grains.
Antioxidants in Brussels sprouts prevent some types of cancer. A 2008 study found that this veggie protects against carcinogens and prevents oxidative damage to cells.
Another similar study showed that Brussels sprouts increases the amount of detox enzymes by 15-30 percent. This may help in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.
Antioxidants in this vegetable neutralize free radicals. These compounds lead to cancer and other serious health conditions. Of course, these claims need to be supported by other studies.
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress by 28 percent. Kaempferol is the primary antioxidant, and it provides a lot of health benefits. Test-tube studies have shown that this antioxidant inhibits cancer growth, boosts heart health and reduces inflammation.
Combine your Brussels sprouts with healthy veggies, and enjoy your nutritious meal.
Brussels sprouts are the most delicious and nutritious vegetable for some people. They are so versatile, and you can combine them with a lot of healthy foods.
Carcinogens are everywhere around us, and Brussels sprouts offer the protection you need. Eat them more often.
There are so many delicious recipes, but try to keep it simple. Season to taste and roast. No fancy ingredients or prepping. Enjoy your delicious meal!