I’ll admit it – when I was a kid, I hated Brussels sprouts. By hated, I really mean that I never even tried them. Everyone else always talked about how much they hated them, so I figured it was safe to assume that I did, too! But as an adult, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation not only because they are delicious, but also because of the nutritional value they hold. When your Mom told you that Brussels sprouts are good for you, she wasn’t kidding!
Brussels sprouts support the body’s functions of detoxing, fighting inflammation and promoting antioxidants. These are three major systems that help prevent cancer.
Without further ado, let’s kick off our ode to Brussels sprouts!
Brussels sprouts contain sulfur and glucosinolates, both of which are key components in helping the body detox. Glucosinolates are active enzymes in our bodies that detoxify cancer-causing compounds. To effectively detox, our bodies require a sufficient amount of sulfur. It’s hypothesized that Brussels sprouts are so effective at this process that they can prevent changes to our DNA that would be prompted by environmental toxins.
Brussels sprouts help reduce chronic inflammation caused by a lack of exercise, poor diet, medications and insufficient sleep. During digestion, these little green balls of nutrients get broken down into a molecule call I3C.
I3C helps prevent inflammation before it even starts. Vitamin K and Omega 3 Fatty Acids are also found in Brussels sprouts, both of which are good anti-inflammatory components.
Brussels sprouts contain a veritable army of oxidation-fighting vitamins and minerals. Vitamins C and A, manganese, isorhamnetin, quercitin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid are all oxidation fighters. Sustained, long-term levels of oxidation have been linked to cancer, which means reducing inflammation is key to fighting it off.
The Vitamin C in Brussels sprouts support a healthy cardiovascular system by repairing damage to blood vessels. They also help lower cholesterol by increasing the body’s usage of cholesterol during digestion. Brussels sprouts are also a great source of fiber, which helps to scrub arteries clean of plaque buildup that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
As we mentioned above, Brussels sprouts are full of fiber. In addition to being a boon to cardiovascular support, this also makes them great for the digestive system. You can get up to half of your daily recommended intake of fiber from just 200 calories of sprouts. It’s also thought that Brussels sprouts reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in our stomachs.
How to Add Them to Your Meal
For optimal health benefits, you should aim to eat two cups cruciferous vegetables (like Brussels sprouts) four to five times per week. This may sound like a lot, but it’s easy to incorporate Brussels sprouts into your meals if you use them as an ingredient in other dishes.
Bacon makes everything taste better, and so it is true with Brussels sprouts. Try this recipe for Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon and golden raisins. The result is a sweet and savory dish the whole family will enjoy.
You might also consider chopped Brussels sprouts as a topping for other dishes such as baked potatoes or pizza. Or roast them with other vegetable and toss them in a pasta concoction. If you really don’t like the taste, hide them in a spicy dish like Spicy Asian Chicken with Brussels Sprouts.
Now that you know all the wonderful health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts, you’ll want to eat them every day! Okay, maybe not every day, but definitely more often than you have been. Think outside the side-dish box and you’re bound to come up with some creative ways to incorporate them into your meals.