Brussels sprouts are related to broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale and belong to the cruciferous family. They are named after the Belgian capital, where they were initially grown in the 16th century. They resemble miniature cabbages but don’t be fooled by their tiny size. Each bite has a lot of nourishment. They give a mildly sweet, almost nutty flavor when prepared properly. However, they’re easy to overcook, resulting in a bitter flavor, mushy texture, and a pungent, sulfur-like odor.
As a result, Brussels sprouts have a terrible reputation. These cruciferous veggies are nutritional powerhouses, with a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and also a little plant protein. In this article, we’ll look into some health benefits of Brussel Sprouts.
Nutritional Value of Brussels Sprouts:
The nutritional value of 100 g 0f raw Brussels Sprouts according to USDA [Ref].
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3 g|
|Vitamin C||85 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.309 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.219 mg|
|Vitamin A||754 IU|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.88 mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||177µg|
Antioxidants in Brussels Sprouts:
Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea) are rich in antioxidants. Some of which include:
- Phenolic compounds: Antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid. These have cholesterol-lowering and radical scavenging properties.
- Glucosinolates: These antioxidants exhibit antimicrobial and anticancer properties
- Galactolipids: These include ω3 and ω6 fatty acids. These exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
- Sulforaphane: A compound found in cruciferous vegetables known to have anti-cancer properties.
Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts:
Brussels sprouts are a powerhouse of phytochemicals, vitamins, and protein. They provide various health benefits such as:
Anti-inflammatory health benefits of Brussels Sprouts:
- Through a number of dietary benefits, Brussels sprouts can help us avoid persistent, excessive inflammation. The first is that they are high in glucosinolates. Glucosinolates present in Brussels sprouts assist to regulate the body’s inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system and prevent undesired inflammation, in addition to the detoxifying properties stated before.
- The glucosinolate, glucobrassicin has been explored extensively in this regard. Brussels sprouts contain glucobrassicin, which can be transformed into ITC, or indole-3-carbinol, an isothiocyanate molecule. I3C is an anti-inflammatory molecule that can work at the genetic level to prevent the onset of inflammation. [Ref]
- Vitamin K is the second anti-inflammatory component found in Brussels sprouts. Vitamin K is a direct regulator of inflammatory responses, thus getting enough of it is good for avoiding chronic, excessive inflammation.[Ref]
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in Brussels sprouts also have an anti-inflammatory role.
Cardioprotective health benefits of Brussels sprouts:
- Brussels sprouts contain glucoraphanin (a glucosinolate) which produces sulforaphane, which has not only an anti-inflammatory action in our cardiovascular system but also has the potential to help prevent and even repair blood vessel damage.[Ref]
- Due to their high fiber content, Brussels sprouts bound bile acids with them which are then excreted in feces. The excretion of bile acids lowers their concentration in blood. A less amount of bile acids produces less amount of cholesterol and low levels of cholesterol protect against cardiovascular disease.
Anticancer properties of Brussels Sprouts:
- The four specific glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiin, are largely responsible for cancer prevention. According to research, Brussels sprouts have a unique combination of cancer-preventive components. Certain phytochemicals mainly sulforaphane are known to activate carcinogen-detoxifying systems.[Ref]
- The enzyme glutathione S-transferase (GST) is known to have anticarcinogenic properties. One study concluded that consuming glucosinolate-rich Brussels sprouts for a week raises GST-α and percent isozyme levels in the rectal cavity. These elevated levels of detoxifying enzymes lower the risk of colorectal cancer.[Ref]
- Sulforaphane found in Brussels sprouts inhibits DNA methyltransferases DNMT1 and DNMT3a expression in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines), and to a lesser extent in normal MCF10A cells, in a dose-dependent manner. In breast cancer cells, Sulforaphane generated a considerable downregulation of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), resulting in cancer cell death. It is known to be beneficial in the prevention of breast and prostate cancer. [Ref]
Antioxidant properties of Brussels Sprouts:
- Brussels sprouts contain antioxidant vitamins C & A and the minerals selenium, manganese, and other phytochemicals. One study concluded that Brussels sprout powder reduced oxidative stress in type-2 diabetes patients.[Ref]
Brussels Sprouts Protect the DNA:
- As for DNA protection, Brussels sprouts may offer a distinct health advantage. A recent study found that daily eating of 1.25 cups of Brussels sprouts increased the stability of DNA inside our white blood cells. Researchers believe that the capacity of specific chemicals in Brussels sprouts to inhibit the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes is responsible for the DNA-protective properties.
- One study concluded that by reducing the rate of oxidative DNA damage, Brussels sprouts may have antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic characteristics. This is consistent with previous discoveries that certain glucosinolates protect human microsomes from peroxidation in vitro. This adds to the growing body of evidence showing cruciferous vegetables have health-promoting properties under physiologically plausible settings with no discernible negative effects. [Ref]
Anti-diabetic health benefits of Brussels Sprouts:
- Brussels sprouts have a high fiber content which naturally aids in blood glucose regulation. One study concluded that higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes.[Ref]
- Alpha-lipoic acid found in Brussels sprouts has been linked to improving insulin function. One study conducted to study the effects of alpha-lipoic acid on insulin function suggested that it prevents destruction of beta cells, increases glucose uptake, and its antioxidant properties may be especially effective in preventing diabetes complications such as diabetic neuropathy.[Ref]
Nutrient-rich Ways of eating Brussels Sprouts:
Brussels sprouts have a bitter taste when consumed raw, so they must be boiled, cooked, or steamed before consumption. Some healthy ways of consuming sprouts are:
- Steamed sprouts with olive oil, black pepper, and salt.
- Sliced small sprouts and added to raw vegetable or fruit salads such as Raw sprouts, beet and carrot salad, Brussels sprouts, apple, and pomegranate salad.
- Roasted sprouts with walnuts and dried figs.
- Boiled sprouts in pasta
- red lobster Brussels sprouts and red lobster crispy brussels sprouts