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Brussels Sprouts

 

BENEFITS

An excellent source of vitamin C.

A good source of protein, folate, beta carotene, iron, and potassium.

Contain bioflavonoids and other substances that protect against cancer.

Low in calories and high in fiber.

 

DRAWBACKS

Can cause bloating and flatulence

 

Brussels sprouts resemble small cabbages and share many of the same health benefits. Like broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables, they contain chemicals that appear to protect against cancer. They are also very high in vitamin C, a cup of cooked brussels sprouts provide 99 mg, more than 100 percent of the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA); it also provides 20 percent or more of the folate, more than 10 percent of the daily needs of iron, and a healthy amount of beta carotene. A 1-cup serving has about 61 calories, almost a third of which come from protein. Serving brussels sprouts with a small amount of cheese, rice, or another grain adds complementary amino acids to make a complete protein.

 

The Cancer Factor

Brussels sprouts have high amounts of bioflavonoids and indoles, plant chemicals that protect against cancer n several ways. Bioflavonoids have an antioxidant effect that helps prevent cellular damage and mutation caused by the unstable molecules released when the body uses oxygen. Bioflavonoids, along with indoles and perhaps other plant chemicals, inhibit hormones that promote tumor growth. Indoles are particularly active against estrogen, the hormone that stimulates the growth of some breast cancers.

 

Other studies indicate that bioflavonoids and indoles may protect against cancers of the prostate and uterus. even if cancer does develop, these plant chemicals may slow tumor growth and spread of the disease.

 

Sprouts at Their Best

When buying fresh brussels sprouts, select small, bright green ones with tightly packed leaves. Those past their prime will have patches of yellow, an unpleasant sulfurous smell and a bitter taste. Frozen brussels sprouts retain most of their nutrients and flavor.

 

Sprouts can be boiled or steamed; to ensure that they are evenly cooked, cut a small cross into their base. When boiling, use a cup of water for each cup of sprouts. Bring it to a rapid boil, add the sprouts, and cook uncovered until they are crispy tender.

 

Overcooking destroys vitamin C and gives sprouts a bitter taste. When steaming sprouts, uncover the steamer for a few seconds every 2 or 3 minutes to prevent a buildup of the sulfurous gases.

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