A member of the cabbage family, brussels sprout are higher in protein than other green vegetables and contain powerful cancer-fighting compounds.
Brussels sprout are surprisingly high in protein for a green vegetable, and just one serving would meet your needs for vitamin C and vitamin K for the day.
The Brussels sprout are a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes the nutritional powerhouses kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens, all of which supply loads of nutrients for a small amount calories. If you are trying to improve your diet, cruciferous vegetables should be at the very top of your grocery list.
Consuming one cup of Brussels sprout will provide 195% of vitamin K, 125% of vitamin C, and 10% or more of vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and manganese needs for the day.
Health benefits of consuming Brussels Sprout
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like Brussels sprout decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Since the 1980s, consuming high amounts of cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprout has been associated with a lower risk of cancer. More recently, researchers have been able to pinpoint that the sulfur-containing compounds (namely sulforaphane) that give cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite are also what give them their cancer-fighting power.
More studies with sulforaphane are testing its ability to delay or impede cancer. Promising results have been seen with multiple types of cancers including melanoma, esophageal, prostate and pancreatic.
Improving Bone Health
Researchers have discovered that sulforaphane has the power to inhibit the harmful enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells. The ability to stop HDAC enzymes could make sulforaphane-containing foods a potentially powerful part of cancer treatment in the future.
Brussels sprout also contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which can block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines generated when grilling meats at a high temperature. If you tend to like your grilled foods charred, make sure to pair them with green vegetables to decrease your risk.
Improving bone health
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption (which just ¾ cup of Brussels sprouts provides) improves bone health by acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.
Brussels sprouts also contribute to your daily need for calcium, providing 37 milligrams in one cup.
Many green vegetables contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid that has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral neuropathy or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.
Of note, most studies have used intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, and it is unsure whether oral supplementation would elicit the same benefits.
Making sure you get your daily requirement of vitamin C has been shown to help keep eyes healthy by providing increased protection against UV light damage.
Eating just one serving of Brussels sprouts per day would ensure you are getting enough of this important nutrient. Another antioxidant in Brussels sprouts, zeaxanthin, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration.
A higher intake of all fruits and vegetables (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (in fresh produce as opposed to supplement form) or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of skin.
You may automatically reach for citrus fruits when you think of vitamin C, but Brussels sprout provide a whopping 75 milligrams per cup, over 100% of your daily need.Vitamin A is also crucial for healthy looking skin, which Brussels sprouts also provide.
Brussels Sprout with Basil and Garlic recipe
Here’s a quick recipe. I had a craving for Brussels sprout, and there was about a pound of fresh ones in the fridge, so I decided to cook them up for lunch.
1 pound fresh Brussels Sprout, ends trimmed, shriveled leaves removed, and halved
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Heat a nonstick skillet sprayed or wiped with oil over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the onions and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the sprouts, cut side down, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and basil, and stir.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the vegetable broth and salt and pepper. Cover immediately, and cook until just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Check one for doneness. Stir in the vinegar and serve topped with almonds.