As you’ve probably seen whilst browsing stores up and down the high street, more and more grocery stores are now stocking a certain vegetable that has a certain degree of controversy surrounding it. Some people love it, whilst others seem to hate it. Yes, the item in general is nothing other than the humble Brussels Sprout. Brussels sprouts are fairly popular at all times of the year, but it is during the winter, during the festive period, that Brussels sprouts sales really shoot through the roof. Brussels sprouts can actually be really tasty when prepared right, the problem is that most people boil them to within an inch of their lives, during them into an anaemic looking mush that does not make your kitchen smell very appetizing in the slightest. Members of the cruciferous vegetable family, Brussels sprouts are not only tasty (to some) but they are also some of the healthiest vegetables currently in existence, yet many people are not aware of this fact. If you’re a fan of Brussels sprouts, or if you’re willing to give them another chance, and prepare them correctly this year, then here’s a detailed look at some surprising health benefits associated with these underrated vegetables.
They boost the immune system
When it comes to nutritional qualities, vegetables are ideal as they are loaded full of beneficial vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, all of which the human body requires in order to function most effectively. The great thing about Brussels sprouts however, is that they contain far more nutrients than many other vegetables, making them perfect for strengthening the immune system. The immune system functions as a line of defence for your body – protecting you against illness and disease. The stronger your immune system is, the more antibodies you can produce, and the healthier you will become. Sprouts are a great source of vitamin K, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamin C, which is arguably the most important vitamin for immunity of all. 100 grams of sprouts will provide, on average, more than 100% of your recommended daily intake for vitamin C, making them great foods for people looking to stay healthy and full of energy.
Sprouts provide benefits for your DNA
There aren’t too many foods out there that can actively help to improve the health of your DNA, but sprouts are actually one of them. Sprouts are rich in antioxidant compounds that provide a cacophony of benefits for the stability of DNA, which is obviously very important for your health and well-being. These powerful compounds in the sprouts have been proven to block processes carried out by detrimental enzymes in your body, known as Sulphotransferase enzymes. These enzymes have been found to attack the white blood cells which form part of your immune system, causing them to become unstable, and subsequently putting your health at risk. As these compounds help to block harmful processes carried out by dangerous enzymes, your health will improve as a result.
Rich in vitamin K
Though we briefly mentioned the fact that Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamin K, we thought it pertinent to go into this benefit in more detail. You see, vitamin K is a very underappreciated and underutilized vitamin, that most people have no idea even exists. Vitamin K provides benefits to your immune system, and other systems within the body, and it is involved in countless physiological processes internally as well. However, it is the fact that it is so beneficial for your bones, that experts are most impressed with this vitamin. The average serving cup of lightly steamed Brussels sprouts contains upwards of 270% of your minimum recommended daily intake of vitamin K, making sprouts great for people looking to strengthen or maintain their bones. Calcium is not the only nutrient essential for bone health, which is why vitamin K is so ideal for people with bone disorders, or who are at risk of suffering from a bone disorder.
Inflammation within the body, is responsible for all kinds of health risks and ailments, including conditions such as: arthritis, cardiovascular disease, headaches, and even an increased risk of cancer. Inflammation can also cause severe pain and discomfort, plus it can damage the blood vessels and arteries, which can affect your circulation, as well as putting you at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack.
Great source of fibre
Fibre is very, very important for people looking to maintain a healthy digestive system, yet many people don’t actually get enough of this nutrient. Brussels sprouts are a great source of dietary fibre, which means they can provide you with a whole variety of health benefits, particularly those relating to the digestive system. To begin with, dietary fibre is important because it helps to assist with digestion and with nutrient absorption from the foods and drinks we consume. Then of course, there is the fact that it can lower harmful LDL cholesterol, which would cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels and arteries, which would then put you at risk of suffering a heart attack, a blood clot, or a stroke. The fibre once consumed, will bind together with bile acids, which means that the digestive system finds it much easier to remove them from the body. This in turn helps to reduce cholesterol build ups and it prevents the LDL cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood stream.
Great for weight loss
If you are a sprout lover and are looking to lose weight, make sure you consume plenty of Brussels sprouts if you really want to get yourself in shape. Not only are sprouts low in calories and fats, and incredibly nutrient-dense, but they are also rich in fibre, which also plays a key role in weight loss. Soluble fibre once consumed, binds together with water to form a thick paste which coats the lining of the stomach. This paste then swells and causes you to feel full for longer, so you consume less food. Not only does it help to increase satiety levels, it can also cut back on cravings for junk, because you are less likely to eat junk food if you are feeling full.