May 15th, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Brussels Sprouts

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Groovy Green Livin Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that most people either love or hate. For many of us they’re no longer the food that our mother’s forced us to eat.  Brussels sprouts have graduated onto my superfood list and with good reason. They’re not only full of flavor, but they also have a ton of health benefits. I’m a lover and I know I’m not alone.

There are quite a few good reasons to become a lover of brussels sprouts.

  1. Lower cholesterol. Steamed brussels sprouts can help lower your cholesterol. Steaming allows their fiber to bind to bile acids in your digestive system more effectively, which allows those bile acids to exit the body as waste.
  2. Fight cancer.  Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which are shown to fight against and also prevent various types of cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
  3. Immune system boost. Brussels sprouts are filled with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese, which promote a healthy immune system. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts contains 48.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 50 percent of what men need each day and about 65 percent of what women need on a daily basis.
  4. Bone health. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K (one cup contains 273.5% of the recommended daily allowance), which promotes healthy bones and prevents calcification of the body’s tissues.
  5. Eye health. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin A, which is essential to proper functioning of the retina. It also helps prevent night blindness by helping the eye to adapt between bright light and darkness, helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the forming of cataracts.
  6. Fiber power. Keep that digestive system moving smoothly by eating your brussels sprouts. Fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts has about 2 grams of fiber.
  7. Healthy weight. They are a low-glycemic vegetable packed with a powerful punch. Just 100 g of brussels sprouts is about 45 calories, and contains 3.38 g of protein, 3.80 g of dietary fiber (10% of RDA) and zero cholesterol.
  8. Heart health. Brussels sprouts contain a compound (isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates) which aides in preventing inflammation in our cardiovascular system and can also prevent and possibly reverse blood vessel damage. 
  9. Pregnancy health. Studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate daily before conceiving and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%. Eating your brussels sprouts can help. Eating one cup of boiled brussels sprouts will give you approximately 25% of your daily recommended amount.
  10. Lower blood pressure. They are filled with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and maybe even cholesterol.

These delicious little cabbages don’t fall under EWG’s Dirty Dozen as a vegetable that should be purchased only in it’s organic form, but I would suggest buying organic when you can. I rarely find organic brussels sprouts at the farmer’s market or local grocery store.

Do you love or hate brussels sprouts? Any luck finding organic sprouts?

photo credit: Esteban Cavrico via photopin cc

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