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All The Amazing Health Benefits Of Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are small, cabbage-like, and are packed with vital nutrition. In fact, they look like miniature cabbages, are a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages. They are a part of the cruciferous vegetable family that contains kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens. All these vegetables are known to pack loads of vital nutrients in a small amount of calories. If you’re trying to improve your diet, then cruciferous vegetables must be at the very top of your grocery list.

History of Brussels sprouts

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These miniature cabbages first made their appearance in the fifth century in northern Europe. Later, they were cultivated near Brussels in the thirteenth century, which is also where they derived their name from. The first written references for these sprouts date back to the sixteenth century, 1587 to be precise. During this same period, they were popular in the southern Netherlands, and later spreading throughout the cooler parts of northern Europe.

Suggested read: The amazing health benefits of kale that you probably didn’t know

Why Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts, though seemingly innocuous-looking, pack quite a punch when it comes to nutrition, which in turn provide numerous health benefits. Containing high amounts of antioxidants, they help fight cancer and heart disease, promotes healthy digestion, alkalizes the body, and much more. For a vegetable, Brussels sprouts contain a high amount of proteins, similar to leafy vegetables and other members of the cruciferous family.

Did you know that just one cup of Brussels sprouts has the capacity to meet your daily requirement of both vitamin C and vitamin K? That it also provides plenty of folate, manganese, potassium, B vitamins, and tons of other nutrients? That’s why you need to add this on your grocery list, and then include it in your daily dietary intake as well.

The members of the cruciferous vegetable family includes Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, cabbages, collard greens, and broccoli. All of these are known to provide high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants and other essential nutrients. Not just that, but they can also help in decreasing your risk of cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even neurodegenerative diseases. Because of its low calorie – high nutrients ratio, these will help you maintain a healthy weight. It is also known to give you more energy, while also promoting muscle growth and improving your eyesight and complexion.

Nutritional facts about Brussels sprouts

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A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts gives all these nutrients (provided in daily values):

  • 56 calories of energy
  • 4g protein
  • 4g fiber
  • 8g sugars
  • 274% vitamin K
  • 162% of vitamin C
  • 24% of vitamin A
  • 24% of folate
  • 18% of manganese
  • 14% of potassium
  • 14% of vitamin B6
  • 12% of vitamin B1
  • 10% of iron
  • 270mg of omega-3 fatty acids

Health benefits of Brussels sprouts

Now that you’ve read about the nutritional facts, let’s take a look at the specific health benefits of Brussels sprouts.

1. Helps protect against cancer

All the cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, are known to reduce the risk of cancer. This is because they help protect against free radical damage and DNA mutation. The compound sulforaphane, which contains sulfur, is what gives the cruciferous vegetables their amazing cancer-fighting abilities. Add to this their distinct smell and oftentimes bitter taste, these veggies are amazingly helpful in lowering cancer risk. The compound sulforaphane prevent cancer by inhibiting the harmful enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), which is involved in the multiplication of cancer cells.

Brussels sprouts also contain certain other compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which also lower the risk of cancer. Studies have shown that in particular, Brussels sprouts can lower the risk of colon cancer. Glucosinolates are also known to fight the free radical damage by helping the body detoxify itself, which in turn raises the body’s defense against cancer proliferation.

Due to the presence of high amounts of antioxidants and enhanced detoxification enzyme levels in those who consume Brussels sprouts, they stop DNA damage in which cancerous cells mutate and eventually form tumors. This lowers the risk of cancers like skin, breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic, and esophageal.

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2. Provides high amounts of vitamin K

Apart from kale, Brussels sprouts are one of the best reservoirs of vitamin K. Just one cup of sprouts has the potential to provide over 270% of your daily allowance. Vitamin K is vital for bone health. Besides keeping the skeletal structure healthy, it also prevents other bone related conditions like osteoporosis and bone fractures, which are caused due to loss in bone mineral density. Vitamin K is also essential for proper clotting of blood, bone calcification, and reducing inflammation in the body.

The high dose of vitamin K contained in Brussels sprouts is known to ward off problems associated with poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits. If you’re suffering from vitamin K deficiency, a healthy dose of Brussels sprouts in your diet on a regular basis should correct it. A vitamin K deficiency is known to occur for many reasons, including long term antibiotics use, commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs, and digestive and intestinal problems.

Another important thing to note is that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. That means, it gets absorbed into the body in the intestines, along with fat. Hence, eating Brussels sprouts with a source of healthy fat would be most beneficial.

Suggested read: All the amazing health benefits of the superfood, quinoa

3. Restores the health of digestive tract

The vulnerable lining of the digestive tract and stomach are protected by glucosinolates that are found in Brussels sprouts. This in turn reduces the risk of developing leaky gut syndrome. Then, sulforaphane helps the body detoxify itself, while also helping with digestion by preventing bacterial overgrowth.

A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 4g of dietary fiber, which promote a healthy digestive system. This fiber also helps in regular bowel movements, thereby preventing constipation or diarrhea.

4. Contains high doses of vitamin C

Vitamin C is known to boost immunity, and also acts as a protective antioxidant, thereby reducing inflammation and cell damage. Apart from boosting the immune system, vitamin C’s antioxidants help with other body functions like normal growth and development.

Vitamin C is known to help maintain the health of your skin, eye, teeth, gums, and even your digestive tract. Besides these, vitamin C also protects your cells from free radical damage, thereby reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune responses. A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provide as much as 164% of your daily vitamin C needs.

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5. Fights inflammation and heart disease

Many studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables can significantly lower the risk of heart disease. Also, that high levels of inflammation are correlated with an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and even neurodegenerative disorders.

Since Brussels sprouts are filled with vitamin K, vitamin C, numerous antioxidants, and even omega-3 fatty acids, these can help reduce the inflammation because of their anti-inflammatory abilities. All of these nutrients work together in helping keep the arteries clear of dangerous plaque buildup, and also help reduce cholesterol levels, fight high blood pressure, and increase the blood flow, which will help in maintain strong, healthy blood vessels.

Besides the aforementioned nutrients, Brussels sprouts also contain many phytonutrients, antioxidants, and several compounds, including sulforaphane, glucorbrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiian. All of these are very effective in lowering the risk of inflammation, and thereby, heart disease.

6. Improves brain health

The antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A, and other essential nutrients present in Brussels sprouts aid in stopping oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are capable of damaging brain cells.

7. Protects skin and eye health

Vitamin A and vitamin C are both vital antioxidants present in Brussels sprouts. While vitamin A offers protection for your skin and eyes, vitamin C helps fight UV light damage which in turn lead to skin cancer or aged skin.

Both these vitamins serve in naturally slowing aging, promoting skin’s immunity, fostering new cell growth, and also increasing eye health. The antioxidant zeaxanthin, present in Brussels sprouts, filters out the harmful light rays from entering your cornea, helps prevent damage to eyes and disorders like macular degeneration.

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8. Promotes proper nerve function

A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts is known to provide approximately 14% of daily potassium allowance. And potassium is required for maintaining nerve function, muscle contraction, bone density, and overall nerve and muscle-related systems.

9. Helps fight diabetes

The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid is present in Brussels sprouts, and these help in lowering blood glucose levels in the body. This antioxidant is also known to increase insulin sensitivity and prevent pre-diabetes from turning into actual diabetes.

Suggested read: 22 best superfoods and why they are super

10. Helps maintain a healthy pregnancy

Folates contained in Brussels sprouts are a naturally occurring B vitamin. These are essential for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Folates also help the body in utilizing other B vitamins and protect against anemia, boost the immune function, and assist in poor digestion.

These are the many known health benefits of Brussels sprouts. So the next time you go grocery shopping, be sure to put these in your basket!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
All The Numerous Health Benefits Of Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are powerhouses of nutrients that are essential for you. Here are all the numerous health benefits of Brussels sprouts you need to know!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg