Who can resist the cute, miniature cabbage-like, cruciferous vegetables called Brussels Sprouts? Well, for many, it might be the taste and/or unpleasant memories of being required to eat Brussels sprouts as a child — who can forget that, right? Unfortunately many parents have given up any hope in getting their children to eat these healthy veggies and have decided the fight is just not worth it. The health benefits of Brussels sprouts are many and it is one vegetable that probably should be revisited in many households. By the way, be sure to check out the Brussels Sprouts Recipe at the end of this article – most likely it will become a fav at your house.
As far as the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, it’s interesting to note that PubMed (health research database at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.) provides close to 100 studies that focus on Brussels sprouts. And over half of these studies talk about the health benefits of Brussels sprouts in relationship to cancer. Brussels sprouts provide special nutrient support for three important body systems that are closely connected with not only cancer development, but also cancer prevention. These three systems are the body’s (1) detoxification system, (2) antioxidant system, and (3) inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. When chronic imbalances occur in any of these systems, the risk of cancer may definitely increase. However, more importantly, when imbalances occur in all three systems, the risk of cancer significantly increases. Brussels sprouts is associated with the prevention of the following types of cancer: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
What You May Not Know About Brussels Sprouts
- Brussels sprouts can provide special cholesterol-lowering benefits when the cooking method used is steaming. The fiber-related components do a better job of binding together with bile acids in the digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw Brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much as steamed Brussels sprouts.
- It is believed that Brussels sprouts have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection. A recent study showed improved stability of DNA inside of white blood cells after daily consumption of Brussels sprouts in the amount of 1.25 cups. Interestingly, it’s the ability of certain compounds in Brussels sprouts to block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that researchers believe to be responsible for these DNA-protective benefits.
- For total glucosinolate (sulfur-containing chemicals) content, Brussels sprouts are actually known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Their total glucosinolate content in Brussels sprouts has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. In Germany, Brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But it’s recent research that’s made us realize how especially valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.
- The cancer protection provided by Brussels sprouts is greatly related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
- Brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function. In a recent study, 5 ounces of Brussels sprouts were consumed on a daily basis for 4 consecutive weeks by a small group of healthy adults and not found to have an unwanted impact on their thyroid function. Follow-up studies are needed, but this study puts at least one large stamp of approval on Brussels sprouts as a food that can provide great health benefits without putting the thyroid gland at risk.
- The anti-inflammatory nature of glucosinolates/isothiocyanates as well as other nutrients found in Brussels sprouts has been the basis for new research on inflammation-related health concerns and the potential role of Brussels sprouts in their prevention. Current and most likely promising research is on-going to examine the benefits of Brussels sprouts in relationship to the risk of the following inflammation-related conditions: Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and ulcerative colitis.
Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
- provides DNA protection
- lowers risk of cardiovascular concerns
- steamed Brussels sprouts provides cholesterol-lowering ability
- digestive system support
- contains sulfur D3T
- helps prevent cancer
- good source of Vitamin C
- low fat. 1 cup = 4 grams fiber
- provides detoxification support
- good source of manganese, potassium iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus & molybdenum
- helps the body avoid chronic, excessive inflammation
- good source of Vitamin K
- good source of omega-3 fatty acid ALA
- helps with constipation
- good source of folic acid
- anti-diabetic & anti-microbial properties
- supports healthy eyes and vision
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup, Garlic & Cayenne Recipe
Servings:4 | Always use organic ingredients when available | gluten-free, vegan
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed & halved lengthwise
1 T plusb1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic sliced (to taste)
Himalayan salt (to taste)
1 T pure maple syrup (can add more to taste)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts & garlic slices with olive oil; season with salt. Roast until Brussels sprouts are browned in spots & tender when pierced 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Combine syrup & cayenne pepper in bowl. Drizzle sprouts with maple syrup mixture, stir to coat, & roast one minute. Enjoy!