Healing Power of Brussels Sprouts
All good things come in small Packages
You’d be dead right in thinking that Brussels Sprouts look just like a miniature version of their crucifer cousin – the cabbage. And that’s because they are. It’s likely to be the one vegetable on your plate you’d most want to slip under the table and give to your dog. Only trouble is, dogs don’t like them either. So it’s best to simply grin and bear them. They’re not nearly as bad as they’re made out to be. They’ve gotten a lot tastier than they were in the past. Brussels Sprouts of yesteryear were strong and bitter, but thanks to a new and improved method, Brussels Sprout growers started changing the hybrids to make these little green balls taste a lot better. And they are now making a big comeback.
So now you just might be smacking your lips with a fresh approach instead of pulling up your nose in horror when confronted with this health saving leafy little green nuggets. After all, we’ve often heard that all good things come in small packages. These small cruciferous veggies are no exception. Taste aside, Brussel Sprouts are packed with plant chemicals that provide us with protection against some major league diseases such as breast, prostate and colon cancers. They also lower your risk of heart disease and help prevent constipation as well as lower your cholesterol levels.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels Sprouts are chock-full of natural plant compounds called phytonutrients, particularly effective in the prevention of some of the most common cancers. One of the key protective compounds in Brussels Sprouts is sulforaphane because this compound can trigger the release of enzymes that help rid your body’s cell of toxic waste, thus reducing your risk of cancer.
Brussels Sprouts contain another protective phytonutrient called Indole-3-Carbinol, This compound works as an anti-estrogen, which means that it helps to expel your body’s harmful estrogen before they can contribute to the growth of cancer cells. Indole-3-Carbinol also helps boost the production of certain enzymes that help clear cancer-causing toxins from your body.
Indoles are particularly useful as a cancer-fighting agent against colon, breast, and prostate cancers, but I wouldn’t rule out Indoles as a means to protect you against other harmful cancers as well.
Healing Power of Brussels Sprouts on your Bowels
Aside from all the good compounds found in Brussels Sprouts, there’s plenty of other goodies such as vitamins, minerals and other substances that also help in the fight against heart disease, cancer and a host of other health problems. One very important ingredient in Brussels Sprouts is its fibre content.
There’s more fibre in a half-cup serving of these small green gems than there is in two slices of whole grain bread. So eating your daily fill of Brussels Sprouts will greatly help you avoid all the conditions that a diet rich in fibre is known to prevent, such as constipation, haemorrhoids, and other digestive complaints. By adding Brussels Sprouts regularly to your dinner plate, you’re going to be a very happy chappy, because the healthier you’re able to keep your DNA, the healthier you’re gonna stay.
Just for the record, a half cup of Brussels Sprouts provides you with about 50 milligrammes of immune building vitamin C, which is more than 80 percent of the daily value. The same amount provides you with about 50 milligrammes of folate, which translates to about 12 percent of your daily value.
Folate is essential for normal tissue growth and it also may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects. Because women on birth control pills often have low levels of vitamin C, they should seriously consider adding another bag of Brussels Sprouts to their shopping cart.
Getting the most out of your Brussels Sprouts
Raw Brussels Sprouts don’t go down well, so the only other option is to cook them. But boiling them is also not such a good idea as you’ll lose a fair amount of nutrients. So what next! The best way to cook these tiny green cabbages is to gently steam them, but not for too long. You don’t want to over-cook them until they become all mushy and bitter. Also, you don’t want to lose too much of their vitamin C content along with other valuable phytonutrients. Steaming them for a short period will retain most of the good stuff and at the same time, they will help release some of their healing compounds.
Now that you’ve digested all the health benefits of Brussels Sprouts and you’ve made a conscientious decision to add them as part of your new healthy eating program, you need to know how simple it is to prepare them for steaming without all the hassles you thought was associated with this tiny gem.
It’s really not that difficult if you follow a few simple steps – To allow the tough stems to cook as efficiently as the leaves, make a small “X” on the bottom of each stem, using a small sharp knife. Then steam them for 8 to 15 minutes tops, until they’re just tender enough to poke gently with a fork.
In order to quell some of the sulphur smell that these tiny cabbages might throw off during steaming, try tossing a celery stalk in the water as this will help neutralise the smell. We’re often discouraged from taking advantage of the healing power of Brussel Sprouts because of the smell, but don’t let that put you off adding them to your shopping cart. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
The only disadvantage with freshly bought Brussels Sprouts is that they tend to get a little bitter if kept for long periods. They’ll keep for a week or more in your refrigerator before that happens. Best to buy only what you need for a few days. Freeze them if you’re not going to use them straight away.