5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

These veggies are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and more.

Brussels sprouts (yes, with an s, like the city) are named after the veggie's history of cultivation in Belgium. Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, the sprouts' cousins include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and bok choy.

Brussels sprouts are nutrient powerhouses, providing a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a little bonus plant protein, according to MedlinePlus. They're also low in calories, at 75 per cup. Here are five more impressive reasons to incorporate them into your regular eating routine.

Rich in Antioxidants

According to MedlinePlus, Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage that could cause cancer and heart disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that Brussels sprouts contain over 70 milligrams of vitamin C. And according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vitamin C is a nutrient that acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin C also helps to repair and grow tissue. It is essential to the growth of bones, teeth, skin, and cartilage.

Reduces Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory power of Brussels sprouts is tied to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This is because they contain phytonutrients, a plant nutrient that lowers inflammation and reduces cancer risk. Their anti-inflammatory compounds protect cells from damage to the DNA.

In a study published in March 2014 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people who consumed more cruciferous veggies had lower levels of inflammation in their blood and urine.

Lessens Risk For Diabetes

Brussels sprouts use their antioxidant power not only to protect against cancer and heart disease but also against diabetes. A 2016 study published in Primary Care Diabetes showed that an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables leads to a decreased risk of diabetes.

High in Fiber

The fiber in Brussels sprouts—over 3 grams per cup, according to the USDA—helps regulate blood sugar levels, support digestive health, and feed the beneficial gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are tied to positive mood, immunity, and anti-inflammation, according to Harvard University's School of Public Health.

Loaded With Vitamin K

The USDA states that one cup of Brussels sprouts contains 177 micrograms of vitamin K. In addition to helping to clot blood, vitamin K plays a role in bone health and may help protect against bone loss, according to Medline Plus. The recommended daily intake of vitamin K for adults is 90-120 micrograms, according to the National Institutes of Health.

How To Prepare Brussels Sprouts in a Tasty Way

One of the most delicious ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts is through oven-roasting. First, slice or quarter and lightly toss your Brussels sprouts in extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Then cook 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees until the outer leaves are golden and slightly crisp. They can also be shaved and added to garden salads or skewered whole and grilled. You can also use sautéed, shaved Brussels sprouts as a bed for lean protein, such as salmon or lentils. Or add them to omelets, stir-fries, and soups.

There are plenty of delicious ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts and incorporate them into your diet.

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