• 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.
• 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.