Brussels sprouts look like baby cabbages not because they are baby cabbages, but because they’re part of the same family. With cabbages, we eat the head that grows out of the ground. Brussels sprouts, on the other hand, are buds that grow along the length of a thick, fibrous stalk.
While early versions of the vegetable are said to date back to ancient Rome, modern-day Brussels sprouts were embraced and widely cultivated in Belgium as early as the 16th century.
Originally, Brussels sprouts are said to be bred from wild cabbages found in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to improve digestive health.
So many people hate Brussels sprouts because of the memory of stinky smells emanating from mom’s kitchen way back when. The smell is associated with glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulfur: hence the odor. It also happens to be responsible for the cancer-fighting characteristics of Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts can have undesirable side effects for anyone on anticoagulant medication. A man in Scotland was hospitalized last year for eating too many of the cruciferous vegetables, which are high in blood clot-promoting vitamin K, after they counteracted the effects of his medication
Dozens of varieties of Brussels sprouts exist today. They come in all sizes, from marble-sized button buds to golf ball-sized ones. Popular breeds include Bubbles, Prince Marvel and Oliver.
– Brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them. Raw Brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much as steamed Brussels sprouts.
– Brussels sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection.
– For total glucosinolate content, Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason.
– The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian.
– Brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function.
– Brussels sprouts are an important dietary source of many vitamin antioxidants, including vitamins C and A (in the form of beta-carotene). The antioxidant mineral manganese is also provided by Brussels sprouts. Flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol are also found in Brussels sprouts, as are the antioxidants caffeic acid and ferulic acid.
– Brussels sprouts can help us avoid chronic, excessive inflammation through a variety of nutrient benefits.
– The fiber content of Brussels sprouts — 4 grams in every cup — makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support.
Good quality Brussels sprouts are firm, compact, and vivid green. Brussels sprouts are available year round, but their peak growing period is from autumn until early spring.
Keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Stored in a plastic bag, they can be kept for 10 days.
Before washing Brussels sprouts, remove stems and any yellow or discolored leaves. Wash them well under running water to remove any insects that may reside in the inner leaves.
Brussles sprouts cook quickly and taste the best when they are cut into small pieces. We recommend either cutting them into quarters or chopping them into smaller pieces and then letting them sit for 5 minutes before cooking to enhance their nutritional benefits.