Brussels sprouts often get a bad reputation due to the flavor they can develop when overcooked, but they have many properties that make them a great superfood for a variety of health purposes. The leafy green vegetable has traits that can promote weight loss, aid in digestion, and potentially prevent heart disease and cancer. For another leafy green, cancer fighting machine, try arugula. Brussels sprouts are easy to work into most meal plans, and the number of possible preparation methods can help you squeeze them into your diet, even if your family consists of picky eaters who blanch at the thought of traditional boiled varieties.
1. They’re Packed with Nutrients
- Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, helps boost the immune system, making you less susceptible to the common cold.
- The vitamin A contained in the nutrient-dense vegetable is exceptionally healthful for eyesight maintenance and development.
- Brussels sprouts also have an exceptional amount of potassium and can help you meet dietary goals for vitamin E, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, and selenium.
- Each Brussels sprout contains many of the B vitamins necessary for energy and metabolism, and a serving supplies more than the daily recommended amount of vitamin K for men.
- They are also a natural source of sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have anticarcinogenic properties.
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015
2. Great for Weight Loss
Brussels sprouts’ effect on weight loss makes the vegetable popular with dieters. Many vegetable-heavy low-glycemic eating plans tout the sprouts’ effectiveness in helping you feel full and delivering many vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in other options. The sodium and fat contents of Brussels sprouts are exceptionally low, allowing them to work with low-sodium and low-fat diets very easily. For another weight loss superfood try coconut oil.
3. Help Prevent Diabetes
Brussels sprouts are a great source of dietary fiber, which can aid digestion and help regulate blood sugar levels. This gives the nutrient-rich vegetable the ability to help ward off type 2 diabetes, and the fiber found in Brussels sprouts can help ensure that foods ingested have a gradual effect on the increase of blood sugar instead of a spike at the end of each meal. Brussels sprouts can help those already suffering the effects of type 2 diabetes manage one of the most important aspects of the disease. Brussels sprouts aren’t the only diabetes fighter, you can also try mulberries.
4. Full of Folates
One of the key nutrients delivered by Brussels sprouts is folate. Folic acid is often added to foods as a supplement, but folate occurs naturally in foods such as Brussels sprouts and okra. The nutrient can help prevent birth defects if ingested during pregnancy, and it has been shown to play a pivotal role in the formation and regular operation of DNA. Folate is under study due to its potential ability to influence homocysteine levels, allowing it to help protect the body against some forms of heart disease. Two cups of Brussels sprouts provide approximately 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of folate for an average adult. For more folate try parsley.
5. Delicious and Easy to Prepare
Boiling or grilling the vegetable for too long can create an unpleasant taste similar to that of overcooked asparagus. The flavors imparted by overcooking are one of the reasons that Brussels sprouts suffer a lackluster reputation for flavor. Luckily, many different cooking methods bring out the excellent flavors while maintaining the vegetable’s nutrition.
Lightly steam the sprouts until they’re tender, and then salt them or add your favorite seasonings to ensure that the nutritional content remains unaltered. Similarly, you may serve the sprouts raw as part of a salad. Those who simply do not like the texture at all may prefer the slightly nutty taste of thinly sliced sprouts baked for a short time in the oven, which causes them to crisp up nicely.
6. Easy to Juice
Another great way of getting most of the nutrients from Brussels sprouts into your diet without offending picky eaters is juicing. Raw sprouts may be juiced in a twin-gear juicer, which is made for handling leafy vegetables and grasses. The juice may then be added to smoothies or other blended drinks for an excellent nutrition boost. Much of the fiber in the vegetable is contained in the pulp, so you may wish to save this for use in later broths, soups, or stews. This also helps ensure that you make the most of the vegetable, using every available part as part of your dietary regimen.
Selection and Storage
Like most vegetables, Brussels sprouts lose some of their nutritional content when overripened. Fresh raw Brussels sprouts that are ready for juicing or food preparation should have bright green leaves, not deep green or yellow. Even with older vegetables, however, peeling away the outer layers allows you to get to the bright green fresh parts inside. Brussels sprouts can be stored in plastic bags, and the best place in your refrigerator for storage of such vegetables is the crisper. Wrapped sprouts should last for up to a week when stored properly, and younger vegetables may provide all the benefits of Brussels sprouts a few days longer.