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Brussels Sprouts

Though they are small, brussels sprouts pack a powerful punch! They were first widely used by Belgians, which is where they get their name—Brussels is the capital of Belgium. But Brussels sprouts aren't actually sprouts; they’re a part of the cabbage family, which makes sense because they look like mini cabbages! Because they are in the same family, brussels sprouts have many of the same health benefits of cabbage.

Cabbage in general has more cancer fighting nutrients than any other vegetable family, and brussels sprouts are no exception. Studies have shown that brussels sprouts help to protect DNA from damage. This is significant because DNA damage has been linked to a higher risk of cancer as DNA mutations can cause cancerous cells to develop. Brussels sprouts also have a particular compound, sinigrin, that helps to slow or prevent the development of precancerous cells. Brussels sprouts contain some of the same anti-cancer compounds as broccoli, sulforaphane and glucosinolates. Sulforaphane in particular is a really strong cancer fighting compound; it releases enzymes that help the body get rid of toxic wastes that can cause cancer. The link is clear: those who regularly consume brussels sprouts are shown to have fewer incidences of all types of cancer.

Brussels sprouts are also a great immune boosting food because they are high in vitamin C and other important immune boosting nutrients. They are high in folic acid, thiamine, potassium, zinc, selenium, beta carotene, fiber, and vitamins B6, C, and K. They also have small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.Because brussels sprouts have a strong flavor, they can be an acquired taste. Some ideas to help you include them into your diet include:

  • Steam brussels sprouts with your favorite grated cheese
  • Chilled, steamed brussels sprouts make a nice addition to green salads
  • Drizzle hazelnut or sesame oil onto cooked brussels sprouts
  • Braise brussels sprouts in liquid infused with basil, thyme, or other herb of choice

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