[veggie photo]

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts resemble small cabbages and share many of the same health benefits. Unlike many vegetables they are not eaten raw. Fresh Brussel sprouts, properly cooked, are deliciously delicate in flavor. The fresher the sprouts, the better the flavor, so refrigerator storage should not exceed a day or two. The key to cooking Brussel sprouts is in not overcooking them. As a rule, when Brussel sprouts have lost the bright green color, they are overcooked and have lost a considerable amount of nutritional value.

Key Ingredients of Brussel sprouts

Per Serving: 4 fresh Brussel sprouts,
Per Serving: 1 cup fresh Brussel sprouts boiled, 84g boiled, 125g

Why Eat Brussel sprouts?

Brussel sprouts, like all fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in complex carbohydrates, contain no cholesterol and almost no fat. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, a good source of vitamin A and folate. Brussel sprouts are a source of fibre, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium and thiamin. Along with broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, Brussel sprouts contain high amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals that may offer some protection from cancer. Scientists at the World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 206 human studies and found convincing evidence that diets high in cruciferous vegetables lower risks of many forms of cancer.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants play an important role in health maintenance. They neutralize harmful chemicals called "free-radicals" that cause cell damage in the body. Antioxidants have been strongly linked to protection from numerous diseases, heart disease to cancer, eye disease and regulation of the immune system. In addition, Brussel sprouts are a good source of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that are a large class of natural plant pigments responsible for the dark green colour of Brussel sprouts. They exhibit strong antioxidant properties and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and some types of cancer.

About 40% of the carotenoids we eat are converted to vitamin A; the rest function as antioxidants. Beta carotene is especially effective in this regard. bioflavonoids- indoles/glucosinates are phytochemicals in Brussel sprouts, and may help to explain the widely recognized scientific evidence indicating that populations consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and especially cruciferous vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, have a reduced risk of developing several types of cancers.

Vitamin A

Brussel sprouts are a good source of vitamin A. Excess amounts of this fat-soluble vitamin are held in the liver and fatty tissue. It plays a significant role in fending off infections and illness. The body needs vitamin A for growth and repair. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidation damage. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision and is necessary for normal cell growth and division, the development of bones and teeth, and for the health of skin, mucous membranes and the tissue that lines the intestines, airways and other organs.

Vitamin C

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C, necessary to make and maintain collagen, the connective tissue that holds the body and organs in place. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps gums healthy, resist infection, aids in the absorption of iron and many other vital functions. It is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Vitamin K

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K , which ends up in the liver and forms the ingredients for blood clotting. Blood coagulation is not the only important function of Vitamin K, it is also necessary for the formation of new bone material and healthy bone structure.

Folate

Brussel sprouts are a good source of folate. Folate is a water-soluble B group vitamin. Because the body doesn't keep excess amounts of the water-soluble vitamins in reserve, the body must replenish them daily. Folate plays a crucial role in every body function that requires cell division. This helps explain the importance in fetal development. Prior and during pregnancy, folate helps prevent neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus. All women of childbearing age need to have a regular source of folate.

The many tasks of folate include making blood cells, building muscles, healing wound and producing chemicals that keep the brain and nervous system functioning properly. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. High folate content is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dietary Fibre

Brussel sprouts are a source of fibre, remnants of edible plant cells that resist digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestines of humans. Recent research has shown that dietary fibre is important for keeping the bowel working normally and helps protect bowel cells from cancer-causing damage.

There are two different types of fibre. Both types are needed in a healthy diet. Insoluble fibre is "bowel friendly" because it helps maintain regularity. Apples are high in Soluble fibre, that is "heart friendly" and may lower cholesterol and reduce the risks associated with diabetes by helping control blood sugar levels. All fruits and vegetables contain some of each type of fibre.

Recent research has shown that dietary fibre contained in fruits and vegetables is important for keeping the bowel working normally and may protect bowel cells from cancer-causing damage.

Potassium

Brussel sprouts are a source of potassium, an essential mineral that helps to regulate the body's balance of fluid. It is essential for many metabolic processes and is instrumental in the transmission of nerve impulses, proper muscle function, and maintaining normal blood pressure.

Iron

Brussel sprouts are also a source of iron, a mineral that is an integral part of many proteins and enzymes that support good health. Iron plays a vital role in transporting oxygen and in regulating cell growth. Iron boosts the immune system and prevents anemia.

Vitamin B6

Brussel sprouts are a source of Vitamin B6, needed in the body to release energy in forms that the cells can use. It is instrumental in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems and the manufacture of red blood cells.

Manganese

Brussel sprouts are a source of manganese, a trace mineral that plays an important role in the formation of bone and connective tissue in the body and plays a role in healing wounds.

Magnesium

is an essential mineral for the human body. Brussels sprouts are a source of magnesium, needed for the formation of protein and bone, making new cells, activating B vitamins and blood clotting.

Thiamin

Brussel sprouts are a source of thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin, that the body requires to break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. It is also required for the proper functioning of the nerve cells.