Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are a traditional part of the colder months. Rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, they are member of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables and closely related to kale, cauliflower and mustard greens.
These vegetables resemble mini cabbages and are typically cut, cleaned and cooked to make a nutritious side dish or main course. They are native to Belgium – hence the name. But why are they so good for us? Here are their main health benefits:
- High in Antioxidants
Brussels sprouts have an impressive antioxidant content. They are especially high in kaempferol, an antioxidant with many health-promoting properties such as easing inflammation, reducing cancer cell growth and improving heart health.
A study showed that eating 300g of Brussels sprouts daily can reduce by 28% damage to cells from oxidative stress. So, eating Brussels sprouts as part of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help supply the antioxidants your body needs.
- Rich in Nutrients
Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in many nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Brussels sprouts are especially high in vitamin K. In fact, just 80g of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 137% of your daily vitamin K requirement! This important nutrient is necessary for bone health and blood clotting.
They are also rich in vitamin C, which helps promote iron absorption and immune function.
In addition to these nutrients, Brussels sprouts contain also vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and iron. What’s more, they are high in fiber, necessary for gut health and regularity.
- Contain ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Eating enough Omega-3 fatty acids an be a challenge, especially for those who don’t eat fish.
Plant foods only contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is used less effectively by our body than the fatty acids from fish. For this reason, you need to consume a greater amount of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids to meet your daily needs, compared to if you were getting Omega-3 fats from fish.
Brussels sprouts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, with 135 mg of ALA in 80g. Omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation, cognitive decline, insulin resistance and blood triglycerides.
- High in Fiber
A good amount of fiber in your diet brings many health benefits. Just 80g of cooked Brussels sprouts contain 8% of your daily fiber needs.
Fiber can relieve constipation and promotes digestive health by helping feed the good bacteria in your gut. Including Brussels sprouts in your diet, along with other fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can easily help you meet your fiber needs!
- Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
In addition to their many health benefits, Brussels sprouts may also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
In fact, many studies have linked an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables to a decreased risk of diabetes. This is because Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels by moving slowly through the body and slowing the absorption of sugar into the blood.
Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed roasted, boiled, sautéed or baked. Some of the nutrients do decrease as a result of cooking but it is minimal, and they still hold significant nutritional value once cooked. Remember to add them to a balanced diet to increase the positive impact on your health!