Brussel sprouts are small
leafy green buds resemble like miniature cabbages in appearance. The
buds are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary
fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which work wonders to get
rid of many health troubles. In
fact, a renewed interest is growing about health benefits these sprouts
have to offer.
Botanically, the sprouts belong
to the same Brassica family, which also
includes cabbage, collard
and kale. Scientific name: Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera
|Brussel sprouts. Close-up view. Note that
brussels heads resembling miniature cabbages.
||Sprouts grow from below
all along the stalk.
Brussels sprouts are winter crops, flourishes well
in cool weather and light frost conditions. Well-grown plant reaches
about 90 cm in height. The sprouts are produced all along the stalk,
starting from the base and moving upward. Each sprout, in general,
features similarity in appearance and structure to cabbage, but only
very small, measuring about 1-1.5 inches in diameter.
In structure, each
head consists of clusters of stiff leaves superimposed in
layers giving it a round or globular shape as in cabbages.
In order to get uniform sprouts, the tip of the
stalk is cut as soon as sprouts at the bottom start to develop. In
addition, sprouts exposed to hot weather do not form into compact buds.
Sprouts are one of the most popular vegetables in the United States and
benefits of brussel sprouts
The sprouts are one of the low-glycemic
vegetables that should be considered in weight reduction programs. 100
g brussel sprouts provide just 45 calories, nonetheless,
contain 3.38 g of protein, 3.80 g of dietary fiber (10% of
RDA) and zero
In fact, brussels sprouts
are a storehouse of several flavonoid anti-oxidants like thiocyanates, indoles,
lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates.
phytochemicals offer protection from prostate, colon, and
(DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol
is found to be an
effective immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent
through its action of potentiating "Interferon-γ" receptors.
In addition, brussel sprouts
contain glucoside, sinigrin.
Early laboratory studies suggest that
help protect from colon cancers by destroying pre-cancerous
Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C; 100 g
sprouts provide about 85 mg or 142% of RDA. Together with other
antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A and E, it helps protect the body
by trapping harmful free radicals.
an important dietary carotenoid in sprouts, is selectively absorbed
into the retinal macula-lutea in the eyes where it is thought to
provide anti-oxidant and protective light-filtering functions from UV
rays. Thus, it helps prevent retinal damage, "age-related macular
degeneration related macular degeneration disease" (ARMD), in the
Sprouts are the good source of another
anti-oxidant vitamin A, provides about 754 IU per 100g. Vitamin A is
required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is
essential for acuity of vision. Foods rich in this vitamin have been
found to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
It is one of the excellent vegetable sources
100 g provides about 177 µg or about 147% of RDA. Vitamin K has
potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation
and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help
limiting neuronal damage in the brain and thereby, preventing or at
least, delay the onset of Alzheimer's
Further, the sprouts are notably good in many
B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that are essential for substrate
metabolism inside the human body.
They are also rich source
minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and
phosphorus. 100 g fresh sprouts provide 25 mg (1.5% of RDA) sodium and
389 mg (8% of RDA) potassium. Potassium
important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling
heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.
Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant
is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.
Brussels sprouts are incredibly nutritious
vegetable that offers protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss,
iron-deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular
diseases and colon and prostate cancers.
See the table below for in depth analysis
Group), fresh, Nutrition value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National
Nutrient data base)
Selection and storage
sprouts are cool
season vegetables. In general, sprouts are harvested when the lower
buds mature and reach about an inch in size. Fresh sprouts should
feature firm, compact and dark green. Avoid sprouts
featuring loose leaf, yellowish and light in hand.
keep well in the refrigerator for up to a day or two. Remove any
damaged or discolored outer leaves and store fresh unwashed sprouts in
plastic bags/zip pouches in the vegetable container in the refrigerator.
cooking, remove discolored and loosen outer leaves and the stems are
trimmed. Wash in clean water and then, soak for few minutes in
salt water to remove any dust particles and insect’s eggs.
are delicate in flavor, however, overcooking results in the release of
isothiocyanates imparting sulfurous odor (pungent smell)
to cooked recipes. Therefore, sprouts
are generally blanched in boiling water for just about 5 minutes,
cooled and then added
to the recipes.
Here are some serving tips:
|Roasted brussel sprouts with
greens and stuffed omelette.
Photo courtesy: vkanaya.
can be cooked by boiling, microwaving or steaming.
Roasted and salted sprouts
are one of
the favorite snacks across Europe.
Blanched sprouts are
braised/ mixed with
other vegetables like carrot,
The sprouts are used as favorite add on in
Being Brassica family vegetables, brussel sprouts
goitrogens, which may cause swelling of thyroid gland and should be
avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, they may be
used liberally in healthy person.(Medical
<<-Back to Vegetable nutrition
sprouts. Please visit here for
an impressive list of
vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and
<<-Back to Home
link to visit very informative pages on:-