Brussels sprouts is a cultivated Brassica in which the marketable parts of the plant are the swollen axillary buds known as “sprouts” or “buttons.” It is part of the family of cruciferous vegetables and generally classified as Brassica oleracea (Brassicaceae family, previously called the Cruciferae). The origin of this plant remains obscure and has been ascribed to both savoy cabbage and various forms of kale. Brussels sprouts are considerably high in antioxidants; their capacity contains significant amounts of vitamins C, K and E and β-carotene. The variability in the phytochemical constituents of these sprouts was associated with genetic factors, although storage and processing also affect vitamins E and C, tocopherols, and carotenoids. Brussels sprouts provide adequate protein and just 88 grams (1 cup) of raw Brussels sprouts meets the American National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) recommended daily requirements for vitamin C and vitamin K.
Improve Bone Health
Consuming Brussels sprouts provides a significant amount of vitamin K to the body.
A 2017 study relates a low vitamin K intake to a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K is necessary for healthful bone formation and mineralisation; some experts have also suggested that vitamin k may help prevent or treat osteoporosis. Brussels sprouts are also a great source of calcium; calcium is essential for growth (note: Individuals taking blood-thinners such as warfarin, should maintain the amount of vitamin K they consume each day due to its important role in blood clotting). People with low vitamin K levels may be more likely to experience problems with bone formation. Getting enough vitamin K from the diet is important to keep bones healthy.
Brussels sprouts contain fibre and the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). In a study reported in 2019, supplementation with this antioxidant compound demonstrated an ability to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in people with diabetes. Many green vegetables contain ALA. Research also suggests that taking ALA supplements may lead to a decrease in nerve damage for people who have diabetes.
However, many studies use intravenous (IV) ALA or high dose supplements. It is unclear whether consuming the substance in smaller doses as part of the diet would provide the same benefits.
Numerous studies have also shown that compounds found in cruciferous vegetables might have powerful cancer-fighting properties. Cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, contain sulphur-containing compounds that provide their bitter taste. During consumption and digestion, these compounds break down into other active compounds (which may help prevent the type of cell damage that leads to cancer) that may prevent cancer from developing in some organs in studies.
Brussels sprouts also contain a high amount of chlorophyll, the green pigment that occurs in plants. A research study on pancreatic cancer cells suggested that chlorophyll may serve as an antioxidant, acting against some of the compounds responsible for the development of pancreatic cancer.
Brussels sprouts contain plenty of vitamin C. Getting enough dietary vitamin C may help people preserve eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts.
Important for Skin Health and Appearance
Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin c. Having enough vitamin c as part of the diet can help protect skin cells against sun damage and pollution.
Vitamin C can also combat free radical damage and is necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to support skin strength and elasticity. This can reduce wrinkles and improve the overall skin texture.
Brussels sprouts are also a good source of provitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which is crucial for healthy skin.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s FoodData Central database, 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts (around 150g) contains:
● 56.2 calories
● 0.78 g of fat
● 11.08 g of carbohydrate
● 3.98 g of protein
- Add a handful of cooked brussels sprouts to any salad, soup, stew or as part of the vegetables of your meal.
- Mix cooked Brussels sprouts with nuts (sliced almonds or walnuts) and dried fruit (currants, raisins, or diced apricots).
- Season cooked Brussels sprouts:
- Drizzle with olive or sesame oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Sprinkle a finely grated tangy cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino
- Drizzle with a combination of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup.
- Garnish with basic, chives, parsley, or thyme.
Brussels sprouts, contain sulphur-containing compounds that provide their bitter taste. Overcooking the vegetable, particularly by boiling, will intensify any bitter flavours and unpleasant odours.
Purchase Brussels sprouts that are bright green with tightly compacted leaves. Yellow or wilted leaves are signs of aging and deterioration. Longer storage may cause discoloration, black spots on the leaves, wilting, and decay. Older Brussels sprouts also tend to produce stronger odours.