The seasonal Christmas vegetable that divides us like no other! Love them or loath them, at Christmas, it’s hard to get away from Brussels Sprouts.
Let’s face it, not everyone likes sprouts. Many of us can remember childhood Christmas Day lunches. Where over-boiled, bitter- tasting, slightly mushy sprouts would be forced on us. Tasting like they’ve spent most of the year festering at the bottom of Satan’s Christmas Stocking!
But, sprouts have changed! Newer varieties of sprout have had the bitterness bred out of them over the years. Meaning that sprouts now taste sweeter and can be just down-right delicious. When cooked in the right way.
Better still, according to experts, sprouts are an unsung superfood of the season! Full of goodness, they’ve been found to have a range of health-benefit properties, from anticancer to weight loss.
So, to celebrate the renaissance of the sprout, here are 5 amazing sprouty properties that make Brussels an unsung Christmas superfood.
1. Anticancer Effect
A number of studies have found a link between a high consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, and a reduced risk of several types of cancer. Brussels contain special sulfur-containing compounds which your body uses to activate cancer-fighting enzyme systems.
Not all cruciferous vegetables contain equally large amounts of glucosinolates though, studies reported that the lowest levels were generally found in the mildest tasting Brassicas, such as cauliflower while the highest levels were reported for – yes, you guessed right – Brussels sprouts! (Acta Horticulturae in 2010.)
2. Brussels Sprouts Contain More Vitamin C Than Oranges
Think of a food that is particularly rich in vitamin C, and most people mention citrus fruits such as oranges. This is true, oranges can provide your body with a healthy dose of vitamin C. But Brussels sprouts deliver even more vitamin C than oranges. One ounce of cooked Brussels sprouts provide a whopping 29% of the daily value for vitamin C (raw Brussels provide even more), compared to 25% provided by the same amount of oranges.
Vitamin C keep skin and veins strong and healthy, promoting collagen synthesis and by acting as an antioxidant, keeping you healthy for longer. Vitamin C also helps prevent iron deficiency by improving the body’s capability to absorb iron from foods.
So instead of fighting off the colds this year with supplements of vitamins, just add some sprouts to your diet to keep you going on your shifts for longer.
3. Help Weight Loss With Brussels Sprouts
There is evidence that eating Brussels sprouts on a regular basis as part of a balanced diet can also help lose weight. Brussels sprouts are very low in calories and they contain only trace amounts of fat. This makes them ideal to cut up and add to salads, or to use as an alternative green vegetable.
The large amounts of vitamin C in Brussels sprouts also helps improve your body’s ability to burn fat during moderate physical exercise.
4. Anti-Cellulite Properties
Brussels sprouts also show up on HealWithFood.org’s list of the best food remedies for cellulite. Brussels sprouts contain a natural compound called indole-3-carbinol, which helps certain liver enzymes to block the production of certain estrogens harmful that can cause cellulite by breaking down the collagen which keeps your skin strong.
5. Detoxification Superstars
A very important property in the around this time of year!Brussels Sprouts have excellent detoxification properties. In fact, one of the reasons why Brussels sprouts are so useful for preventing chronic disease is because of their role in the body’s detoxification system.
What makes eating whole foods like Brussels sprouts even better is that many of the beneficial compounds have multiple uses in your body, and they work synergistically together. The glucosinolates that help fight cancer and aid in detoxification, also offer potent anti-inflammatory properties in your body.
Best Brussels Sprouts This Christmas
All round, Brussels really are an unsung superfood. So, don’t shun them this Christmas, why not steam Brussels sprouts and toss them with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, or butter. Or cut them in halve and saute them with bacon and chestnuts. Alternatively you can roast them and quarter them, then toss them like a salad with onions, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar.
You can even keep a bowl in the fridge, seasoned with salt and pepper, to snack on throughout the day – their small bite-sized package makes them perfect for popping in your mouth and giving yourselves a special, superfood treat.