6 Reasons Brussels Sprouts Are Healthy

Brussels sprouts still have a bad reputation among many, as we as children often need to be convinced of their taste. But as you get older, you should definitely give Brussels sprouts another chance, because they are much healthier than you might think. Like all types of cabbage, Brussels sprouts are botanically a cruciferous vegetable and have been cultivated in Europe for almost 200 years. The cabbage originally comes from Belgium, which is why it is also called “Brussels cabbage”. After the first frost, the small florets are particularly tasty, because then the sugar content increases and they taste sweeter.

Strengthens the immune system

Especially in the cold season, a strong immune system is particularly important for good health. Most people think of citrus fruits and ginger, but underestimate the healing power of Brussels sprouts. This provides a lot of vitamin C and some important minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron .

100 grams of Brussels sprouts are enough to cover the daily requirement of vitamin C of 95-110 milligrams recommended by the consumer advice center. This is almost twice as much as orange and lemon and does away with the prejudice that citrus fruits are the best sources of vitamin C.

Provides antioxidants

The phytochemicals contained in Brussels sprouts, such as flavonoids, have an anti-inflammatory, blood pressure-lowering and antithrombotic effect . There are also other antioxidants such as phenolic acids, chlorophyll and indoles. They help our cells to protect themselves from oxidative stress. This is caused by free radicals and forms highly reactive oxygen compounds that are associated with the development of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Oxidative stress is caused or promoted by influences such as UV radiation, exhaust fumes or medication and damages cells. Antioxidants are therefore essential in the fight against oxidative stress. They also protect the skin and thus prevent skin aging. So if you want to have a firm and wrinkle-free complexion, you should put Brussels sprouts on your menu.

Brussels sprouts regulate the hormonal balance

What few people know: Brussels sprouts have a positive effect on our hormonal balance. This is ensured by the antioxidant diindolylmethane (DIM for short), an indole that belongs to the mustard oil glycosides, a group of secondary plant substances. This substance is produced during the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, i.e. cabbage plants such as pointed cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Researchers at Oxford University were able to confirm 20 years ago that diindolylmethane regulates estrogen metabolism in both men and women by creating a new class of antiestrogens. These can help with diseases associated with estrogen dominance. An inhibition of tumor growth was found in animal experiments. Another 2016 study published by the Nutrion Review confirmed the chemopreventive effect of DIMs at all stages of breast cancer carcinogenesis.

Regulating estrogen levels by reducing harmful metabolites and promoting metabolites that have antioxidant activity thus reduces the risk of breast and cervical cancer in women and prostate disease in men . Thus, the antioxidant DIM contained in Brussels sprouts has a preventive and therapeutic effect on hormone-dependent diseases and can add a natural component to conventional medical treatments.

Brussels sprouts in the fight against cancer

A diet containing Brussels sprouts can prevent some diseases. Since the antioxidants also have an anti-inflammatory effect, they reduce the risk of suffering from severe inflammation.

However, the sulfur compounds contained in Brussels sprouts, so-called mustard oil glycosides (also glucosinolates), are the best in the fight against cancer. These are responsible for the bitter taste and are converted into mustard oils (sulforaphane) when crushed. Sulforaphane has been studied as a natural anti-cancer drug for over twenty years , and its effectiveness has been proven in various studies.

In general, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables (various types of cabbage, broccoli) has a preventive effect and can reduce the risk of developing cancer such as lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer or colon cancer . But the consumption of sulforaphane can also be used therapeutically in the direct fight against cancer. Another study by the University of Vienna from 2008 was able to prove a connection between the consumption of Brussels sprouts and cell damage caused by amines and reactive oxygen compounds. Because the small florets protect the white blood cells from damage caused by the two substances, each of which is carcinogenic.

Bitter substances are good for blood sugar and intestines

Because of the bitter substances it contains, Brussels sprouts are not popular with children. However, the bitter substances support our body in regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels by stimulating the production of bile . In addition, they help the intestines to better break down and burn fat . So another plus point for our figure, which the sprouts bring with them.

Good for bones and blood: vitamin K

Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, is also found in Brussels sprouts. A whopping 236 micrograms are contained per 100 grams and thus cover three times the daily vitamin K requirement. This protects the human vessels from arteriosclerosis and facilitates bone mineralization. It is also involved in tissue renewal and cell growth and is mainly used to produce blood clotting factors.

Furthermore, Brussels sprouts ensure healthy blood levels, as their high folic acid, vitamin B6 and iron content promotes the formation of red blood cells . How convenient that we only need to eat a small amount of sprouts to be good for our bones and blood!

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Written by Dave Parker

I am a food photographer and recipe writer with more than 5 years of experience. As a home cook, I have published three cookbooks and had many collaborations with international and domestic brands. Thanks to my experience in cooking, writing and photographing unique recipes for my blog you will get great recipes for lifestyle magazines, blogs, and cookbooks. I have extensive knowledge of cooking savory and sweet recipes that will tickle your taste buds and will please even the pickiest crowd.

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