These miniature cabbage cabbage very much resemble an ornamental plant. But only to those who saw this vegetable for the first time. Brussels sprouts contain a large amount of nutrients. In some respects, it even surpasses black currants and broccoli.
Brussels sprouts represent the cruciferous family. Its closest relatives are broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco and other types of cabbage. This vegetable looks like a miniature white cabbage, the diameter of which does not exceed 2-3 cm. The Brussels variety grows in bunches. On its stems (grow up to a meter in height) there can be from 20 to 40 small cabbage heads. Usually this vegetable is green, but some varieties may be red.
Today cabbage is cultivated all over the world. But it’s hard for researchers to say how and when this plant appeared on the planet. For the first time, they talked about miniature cabbage heads in the 16th century. It is believed that the first harvests of this vegetable were harvested by residents of Belgium, a region adjacent to Brussels - it was there that this vegetable was artificially bred. Hence the name. At the end of the same century, Brussels sprouts gained popularity in the Netherlands, and by the 19th century reached the shores of North America. And only after the First World War spread throughout Europe. And today in Britain, this miniature cabbage is considered almost a national dish.
This miniature cabbage is rich in many valuable nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and group B. By the way, in a 150-gram serving of vegetable there are almost 250% of the daily intake of vitamin K, more than 100% normal ascorbic acid and almost a quarter of the daily needs of folic acid. This vegetable contains fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, copper, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc, as well as numerous phytonutrients, including sulforaphane, indoles, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, coumarins, phenols.
In total, researchers counted more than 80 substances useful to humans in the composition of Brussels sprouts.
|Calorie content||43 kcal|
|Vitamin A||755 IU|
|Vitamin C||85 mg|
|Vitamin K||177 mcg|
|Vitamin B1||0.14 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.9 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.75 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.31 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.22 mg|
|Vitamin B9||61 mcg|
Scientific evidence indicates that Brussels sprouts have many health benefits. This is the vegetable that should appear in the diet as often as possible.
Each serving of Brussels sprouts is rich in fiber, without which the digestive processes in the body are significantly impaired. But in addition to fiber, this vegetable contains sulforaphane, which protects the gastric mucosa and prevents the propagation of pathogenic microflora in the digestive organs. Increasingly, researchers are finding that Brussels sprouts are useful in preventing many bowel diseases (including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and inflammation).
Benefits for the cardiovascular system
Researchers compared the effect of different types of vegetables on the human body and made a stunning conclusion. It turned out that cruciferous plants reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, coronary heart disease. In addition, it turned out that Brussels sprouts have anti-inflammatory properties, which also plays an important role in maintaining the health of the cardiac system. Researchers were particularly interested in the substance sulforaphane, which, as shown by the results of experiments, not only prevents inflammation in the cardiovascular system, but also accelerates the restoration of damaged vessels.
The second benefit of Brussels vegetable is the effect on cholesterol. Raw or cooked cabbage affects the concentration of cholesterol in the blood and prevents the accumulation of lipid plaques on the walls of blood vessels.
Many people know that omega-3 fatty acids are indispensable for maintaining healthy heart and blood vessels. Also, many people know that the best sources of this component are fish and seafood. But it should be said that Brussels sprouts belong to food containing omega-substances. And this fact once again confirms the exceptional importance of the vegetable for the cardiac system.
Antioxidant and anti-cancer properties
As already mentioned, Brussels sprouts are an important source of vitamins C and A. Both of these substances, as well as manganese and flavonoids contained in vegetables, have antioxidant properties. Quercetin, campferol, isoramnetin, caffeic and ferulic acids are all antioxidant substances that are part of miniature cabbage from Belgium. By the way, French scientists concluded that Brussels sprouts are the leader in the content of antioxidants among all vegetables from the cruciferous family. This miniature vegetable outperformed even the beloved broccoli. In addition, unique antioxidants were found in the Brussels species that are not found in other plant species.
And all this makes Brussels sprouts one of the best vegetables to prevent DNA mutations and protect against free radicals. Science has long known that sulforaphane contained in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous plants inhibits the activity of the enzyme involved in the creation of cancer cells. The isothiocyanates contained in the vegetable prevent colon cancer. Another useful substance with anti-cancer properties and contained in cabbage is glucosinolate. This particular type of chemical compound slows the progression of cancer. Chlorophyll also made a significant contribution to the anti-cancer properties of cabbage. This component of green vegetables is also able to block the carcinogenic effect of certain substances.
There is scientific evidence that Brussels sprouts reduce the risk of skin cancer (melanoma), pancreas, intestines, breast, prostate.
Effect on bone tissue
Brussels sprouts - one of the leaders in the content of vitamin K. This useful substance is responsible not only for blood coagulation, but also helps to strengthen bone tissue, proper mineralization, and also prevents inflammatory processes in the joints. To make the benefits of Brussels sprouts more palpable for bones, remember that vitamin K is a fat-soluble substance. And this means that for the proper absorption of vitamin K, a vegetable should be consumed with oil.
Strengthens the immune system
Brussels sprouts contain colossal reserves of immunostimulating vitamin C. This substance acts as an antioxidant on the body, reducing inflammation and cell damage. Vitamin C is one of the most important substances for the immune system. Ascorbic acid is a protection against free radicals, viruses and infections. In addition, it is necessary to prevent cardiological and autoimmune diseases. So, for the prevention of colds, viral and other diseases, not only oranges, but also cabbage are useful.
Eye & Skin Benefits
It has already been said that Brussels sprouts contain vitamins A and C, and they are known to be beneficial for the skin and eyes. Vitamin C, for example, helps the body withstand dangerous UV radiation, and thereby reduces the risk of developing skin cancer, slows down its aging. And carotenoids (vitamin A) are perhaps the most famous helpers for the eyes.
Consuming these vitamins can naturally slow down aging, improve vision and skin condition, stimulate the growth of new epidermal cells. Studies show that people who eat fruits and vegetables are less prone to age-related macular degeneration. The composition of Brussels sprouts also contains zeaxanthin, which protects the cornea from damage, thereby preventing the development of macular degeneration. And the already mentioned sulforaphane, reducing oxidative stress, protects the eyes from cataracts, and the skin - from melanoma.
Influence on the peripheral and central nervous system
Brussels sprouts are a source of potassium. And potassium is an electrolyte that the nervous system needs daily to transmit impulses throughout the body. Muscle condition and bone density depend on the presence of potassium. This element is necessary to maintain the structure of the membranes of nerve cells, and the correctness of the rhythms of the heartbeat depends on it.
But in addition to potassium, Brussels sprouts contain an incredible amount of other components, on which not only the quality of the nervous system, but also the mood of a person depends on a significant measure. In addition, some of these components improve the cognitive abilities of the brain, as well as slow down its aging.
Benefits for pregnant women
Pregnancy is the period when a woman more than ever needs a complete set of nutrients. Brussels sprouts can serve as a source of many of them. In addition to important antioxidant vitamins and many minerals, this vegetable contains one of the most important vitamins for the future mother - folic acid. It, like other B vitamins and iron, protects against anemia, strengthens the immune system, improves digestion. But more importantly, it prevents congenital pathologies in the unborn child, and it also depends on how correctly new cells are formed and DNA is synthesized.
Some green vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, contain alpha lipoic acid. This substance is useful to everyone, but especially people with diabetes. The fact is that alpha lipoic acid is able to balance glucose and insulin levels. This substance protects the body from oxidative stress and inflammation, increases insulin sensitivity, and also reduces the risk of diabetes.
In addition to many useful properties, Brussels sprouts can have a negative effect on the body. In particular, on the thyroid gland. Like other cruciferous, this cabbage contains glucosinolates. Some of them can sometimes affect the thyroid gland. But there is good news: so far this is just an assumption that has not been unequivocally confirmed. Researchers disagree on the harmful properties of Brussels sprouts. In addition, experiments show that after heat treatment the activity of substances affecting the thyroid gland is noticeably reduced.
It is also worthwhile to refrain from eating dishes from Brussels vegetables for people with high acidity of the stomach, during an exacerbation of chronic gastrointestinal diseases.
How to choose and store
To begin with, it is important to know that the season of this vegetable is not summer, like most others. The time of Brussels sprouts starts in late autumn and lasts until spring. Brussels sprouts of good quality are compact, hard and bright green heads. They should not have spots or yellowed, withered leaves. You should also avoid vegetables with damaged leaves - this may indicate the presence of aphids inside the head. If possible, then when buying it is better to choose heads of approximately the same size. This ensures that vegetables are cooked evenly.
In order to protect yourself from carcinogens and dangerous pollutants, you should not buy miniature cabbage and other vegetables in natural markets, along roads, and it is important to avoid crops grown in places with poor ecology.
The vegetable retains its freshness well in the refrigerator (can be stored in a hermetically sealed container for up to 7 days). To preserve the juiciness of cabbage as long as possible, miniature heads can be wrapped with wet paper. But before freezing the vegetable should be doused with steam. More precisely, hold for a couple for 3-5 minutes. After this treatment, Brussels heads can be stored in the freezer for a year, and do not worry about the loss of nutrients.
How to cook
Before cooking, Brussels sprouts should be cleaned of stems and wilted leaves, and then thoroughly washed under running water (sometimes insects can hide under the leaves).
Many do not like cabbage because of its unpleasant sulfuric smell. Now let’s discover a little secret: an unpleasant smell is a signal of digested cabbage. If you cook the vegetable correctly, it will retain the aroma of fresh herbs. And so that vegetables do not lose their beautiful color, they must be cooked quickly and cooked with the lid open.
The most useful way to cook Brussels sprouts is steamed. Miniature heads can be cooked whole or cut into halves or quarters (depending on size). In a double boiler, the vegetable reaches readiness in an average of 5 minutes.
Cooked cabbage is usually served with sauce (for example, honey mustard) as a side dish or as a component of cold salads. For example, you can cook an appetizer of boiled Brussels heads, red onions, walnuts, cheese (feta or goat). The finished dish is seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar sauce. Many combine this vegetable with pasta; soups, sauces, and casseroles are prepared from it. By the way, it is useful for vegetarians to combine Brussels sprouts with beans or whole grains. In this case, you can provide yourself with a complete protein.
Cabbage with turkey bacon
Fry a few slices of turkey bacon in a pan. Separately heat coconut oil and brown a handful of pine nuts in it. Then add Brussels sprouts, chopped onions and garlic. Before serving, add bacon to the cabbage.
In a bowl, mix the diced apples (2 pcs.), Zucchini (1 pc.), Brussels sprouts (150 g), red onion (1 pc.), Olive oil, cardamom, salt and pepper. Put the vegetable mix on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before serving, add goat cheese and greens to the salad.
It would seem that Brussels sprouts are the same white cabbage, only in miniature. But many studies show that Brussels vegetable is not only easier to digest, but also contains its own unique set of useful components that play an important role for human health.