Brussels sprouts in particular are often hated by kids. But like the other brassicas, these tiny cabbage-like sprouts are renowned for their nutritional content and potential to improve health. They are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, K, folate and fiber, to name a few, and they offer an abundance of antioxidants that can offer further health benefits.
Eating cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts every day mixed into your regular diet is a great way to get all these health-boosting nutrients. All you would need is roughly one cup per day as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Here are five reasons to have Brussels sprouts in your regular diet:
Diets high in greens like cruciferous vegetables have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers.
Research shows that these vegetables have sulfur-containing compounds such as glucosinolates and their byproducts like indoles and isothiocyanates, which have anti-cancer properties. Moreover, Brussels sprouts contain antioxidants like kaempferol that can help relieve oxidative stress on cells to help battle cancer cells.
Research indicates that these compounds may help fight against colorectal cancer, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma.
Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K, which is known to reduce the risk of bone fracture, improve calcium absorption, increase bone strength and reduce the risk of breaks in postmenopausal women.
Fiber contributes to healthy digestion. Adequate consumption of fiber helps reduce the risk of constipation and helps improve bowel movement.
Fiber also feeds the beneficial gut bacteria, which contribute to overall good mental and physical health. Consuming enough fiber also helps improve heart health, reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Studies have linked cruciferous vegetables to improved glucose levels, which may have something to do with their fiber content and an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid.
Fiber moves slowly through the body, which helps slow sugar absorption in the blood. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and avoid drastic spikes. Meanwhile, alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity, which also helps with managing blood sugar. (Related: From fighting inflammation to regulating blood sugar, here are 7 reasons why you should add Brussels sprouts to your diet.)
There are numerous nutrients in Brussels sprouts that contribute to heart health such as omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are unsaturated fats mostly found in fatty fish. Omega-3s are known to help improve heart health and cognitive function, as well as help lower inflammation and improve insulin response.
The omega-3s found in Brussels sprouts come in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is used less effectively in your body than the omega-3s in fish, meaning you must eat a greater amount of it. You can have Brussels sprouts a few times every week to help you get the most benefit, especially if fish is not a regular part of your diet.
Brussels sprouts are typically cut, cleaned and cooked to make a nutritious side dish or main course. People often enjoy them roasted, boiled, sautéed or baked and added to pasta, frittatas or stir-fried dishes. Visit Veggie.news to learn more about these nutritious sprouts and how to add them to your diet.