What are brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) are a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. The origin of the plant is undiscovered; however, the earliest reference to the plant was found in the market regulation of Belgium towns. The vegetable is named after the city of Brussels, where it was first cultivated in the 16th century.1 Brussels sprouts are a popular vegetable in many parts of the world, especially in Europe and North America. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted, sautéed, or even grilled. They are often served as a side dish, but can also be used in salads, soups, and stews.
Brussels sprouts are small, round, green vegetables that resemble miniature cabbages. They grow on a stalk and can be harvested when they are around 1–2 inches in diameter. Research has suggested that Brussels sprouts may have numerous health benefits. They are high in fibre, which can help promote digestive health and prevent constipation. They are also a good source of vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Brussels sprouts also contain antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.2
Additionally, some studies have suggested that Brussels sprouts may have anticancer properties. The vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to have potential anticancer effects in lab studies. However, more research is needed to determine whether consuming Brussels sprouts can help prevent or treat cancer in humans.3
In conclusion, Brussels sprouts are a nutrient-dense vegetable that is popular around the world. They can be prepared in a variety of ways and may have numerous health benefits, including promoting digestive health, boosting the immune system, and potentially having anti-cancer properties.
Brussels sprouts are a highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable that offers a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some key nutritional facts about Brussels sprouts:
- Vitamins:4 Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake (85mg per 100 grams). They are also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate
- Minerals: Brussels sprouts are a good source of several minerals, including potassium, manganese, and iron
- Fibre: Brussels sprouts are high in fibre, with 100 grams providing 3.8 grams of fibre. Fibre is important for maintaining healthy digestion, promoting satiety, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases
- Protein: Brussels sprouts are a good source of plant-based protein, providing about 3.4 grams per 100 grams. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues and promoting muscle health
- Antioxidants:3 Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids, vitamin C, and flavonoids. These antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease
- Low calorie: Brussels sprouts are low in calories, with 100 grams providing only 43 kcal. This makes them a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet
In summary, Brussels sprouts are a highly nutritious vegetable that is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They are a great addition to any healthy diet and can be easily incorporated into a variety of dishes.
Health benefits of brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are highly nutritious cruciferous vegetables that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Consuming Brussels sprouts on a regular basis can provide a range of health benefits, including:2
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Brussels sprouts are a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. This, in turn, can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
- Improved digestion: Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, which can promote healthy digestion by adding bulk to stools and preventing constipation
- Strengthened immune system: Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can help the body produce white blood cells that fight off infections and diseases
- Reduced inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a contributing factor to many chronic diseases. Brussels sprouts contain compounds called glucosinolates that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body
- Improved bone health: Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Vitamin K plays a crucial role in the production of osteocalcin, a protein that is necessary for bone formation and strength
- Improved vision: Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision. Vitamin A helps maintain the health of the cornea and may also help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Weight management: Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in fibre, making them a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet. The fibre in Brussels sprouts can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, which may help prevent overeating and promote weight loss
In summary, Brussels sprouts are a highly nutritious vegetable that offers a range of health benefits. They can be easily incorporated into a variety of dishes and make a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
Side effects and other concerns
Brussels sprouts are generally safe to eat and do not have any serious side effects when consumed in moderation. A study conducted to test the safety of consuming Brussels sprouts found that the plants are generally safe to use, however, there are some potential concerns to be aware of, particularly for certain individuals.4
- Gas and bloating: Like many cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts contain complex carbohydrates that can be difficult for some people to digest, leading to gas and bloating. Cooking Brussels sprouts can help to reduce these effects
- Thyroid function: Brussels sprouts contain goitrogens, compounds that can interfere with thyroid function by blocking the uptake of iodine. However, the amount of goitrogens in Brussels sprouts is generally considered to be too low to cause any significant effects on thyroid function in healthy individuals
- Blood thinning: Brussels sprouts contain vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting. As a result, individuals taking blood thinning medications such as warfarin may need to limit their intake of Brussels sprouts to avoid interfering with their medication
- Allergies: In rare cases, some people may experience an allergic reaction to Brussels sprouts. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing
- Pesticides: As with many fruits and vegetables, Brussels sprouts may contain pesticide residues. It is recommended to choose organic Brussels sprouts or wash them thoroughly before eating to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure
In summary, while Brussels sprouts are generally safe and nutritious, some individuals may experience gas, bloating, or other digestive discomforts. People on blood-thinning medications or those with thyroid conditions may need to limit their intake. As with any fruit or vegetable, it is important to wash Brussels sprouts thoroughly and choose organic options when possible, to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.
Brussels sprouts are a highly nutritious vegetable that offers several health benefits. They are an excellent source of fibre, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants. Eating a diet high in fibre and antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, Brussels sprouts have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. They are also low in calories and can help with weight management.
However, some people may experience side effects or have concerns about consuming them. One potential concern is gas and bloating, which can be caused by the complex carbohydrates found in Brussels sprouts. Cooking them can help to reduce these effects. Another concern is that Brussels sprouts contain goitrogens, which may interfere with thyroid function. However, the amount of goitrogens in Brussels sprouts is generally considered to be too low to have any significant effects on healthy individuals.
Overall, incorporating Brussels sprouts into your diet can be a delicious and nutritious way to improve your health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
- Ockendon DJ, Smith BM. Brussels sprouts. In: Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops. Elsevier; 1993. p. 87–112. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/B9780080408262500114
- Verkerk R, Schreiner M, Krumbein A, Ciska E, Holst B, Rowland I, et al. Glucosinolates in Brassica vegetables: The influence of the food supply chain on intake, bioavailability, and human health. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Sep;53(S2):S219–S219. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.200800065
- Higdon J, Delage B, Williams D, Dashwood R. Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacological Research. 2007 Mar;55(3):224–36. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1043661807000321
- Scott O, Galicia-Connolly E, Adams D, Surette S, Vohra S, Yager JY. The safety of cruciferous plants in humans: a systematic review. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 2012;2012:1–28. Available from: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2012/503241/