Brussels sprouts are an amazing little veggie with lots of health benefits that most people are not aware of. They are a fairly common cruciferous vegetable, part of the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family. Cruciferous vegetables are highly nutritious because they generally contain vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), C, E, and K. and many antioxidants.
Here are eight more surprising reasons to add Brussels sprouts to your diet:
1. Benefits from even more vitamins and minerals: Brussels sprouts have more vitamins and minerals than most cruciferous veggies. They contain folate, manganese, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), choline, potassium, copper, phosphorous and iron. Choline helps the body with fat metabolism and brain and nerve functioning. Iron is essential for healthy blood, protein metabolism and keeping our immune system healthy. Potassium regulates the heart beat, helps muscle contraction and helps the body maintain water balance in the tissues and cells.
2. Maintaining a healthy balance within the body’s systems: The nutrients in Brussels sprouts support three of the body’s main systems, helping to maintain a healthy balance: the antioxidant system, the detox system, and the anti-inflammatory system.
3. Brussels Sprouts can help with weight loss: Since Brussels sprouts are loaded with fiber (3 to 5 grams per cup) they are a vegetable that will help you to feel full, and slow down the digestion of other foods they are consumed with. Eating foods high in fiber is beneficial for blood sugar levels and can keep the body from producing excess insulin, the ‘fat storing hormone’.
4. Keeps digestion healthy: The high fiber content in Brussels sprouts has a second benefit – it helps keep your digestion system healthy by supporting regular bowel movements.
5. Cholesterol lowering: Steaming gives the fiber in Brussels sprouts a greater ability to bind with bile acids in the digestive tract. The intestinal bile acids can then be excreted out of the body easily. The body will replace the lost bile acids by using existing cholesterol stores, resulting in lower cholesterol levels. (note: raw Brussels sprouts have the same ability to bind with bile acids, but to a lesser degree)
6. DNA protection: Recent research suggests that one particular component of Brussels sprouts, called sulforaphane, may have the ability to protect and/or repair our DNA.
7. Protection from cancer: Brussels sprouts are a particularly good source of glucosinolates – phytonutrients that act as starting points for several cancer protective substances.
8. Support for healthy vision: Brussels sprouts contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which work together with the antioxidant Vitamin A to help keep tissues in the eyes healthy, including the retina.
One other note: Some cruciferous vegetables, such as raw kale, are high in goitrogens, which can inhibit the absorption of iodine and cause problems for people with thyroid issues. Studies have been done recently which show that Brussels sprouts do not have a negative impact on thyroid function.
Are you ready to add more super nutritious foods to your dietary lifestyle, but not sure where to start? Contact me and let’s talk about what foods would benefit your unique body and lifestyle!
Copyright © 2014 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved