Brussel Sprouts and Health Benefits
Brussel sprouts are miniature in size and similar in appearance when compared to cabbages. Brussel sprouts like cabbages are members of the cruciferous family of vegetables. Other relatives of the family include broccoli and kale. Members of the cruciferous family are also termed under green leafy vegetables and are known for their rich nutrient content. The head of the brussel sprout vegetable is round-shaped and consists of multiple layers of leaves. The leaves are green in color.
Bright colored leaves displayed on the head of the brussel sprout vegetable can be deemed fit to purchase. Yellow-colored leaves or leaves showing signs of rot or decay need not be purchased. Preserve the sprout vegetable in plastic bags and rest in the refrigerator. They can be consumed within 10 days when refrigerated to enjoy their freshness. The preparation of brussel sprouts when cooking entails keeping the head under running water for some minutes to remove any dirt or residue on the surface. Now chop the leaves finely into small cubes. The cubes can also be rinsed with water for better cleaning. Strain the excess water and rest the cubes for 5 minutes ahead of the cooking course.
To cook the sprouts, the cubes can be dropped in boiling water and kept for 5 minutes. Over-cooking the sprouts could lead to loss of nutrients and flavor. Steaming the sprouts is also recommended to relish the goodness of the vegetable. Steamed or boiled sprouts can be added to salads. After cooking the sprouts, season the cubes with salt and pepper for a healthy and filling snack. A combination of carrots, green beans, mushrooms and sprouts can also be readied and accompanied with rice dishes.
Nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants are contained within the brussel sprout vegetable. The sprouts also score low in calories and are cholesterol-free. Here we can see that the sprouts rate high on nutrition. Now we will study the health benefits gained with intake of the sprout vegetable.
- Nutritional Value
Vitamins in the sprouts include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, niacin and thiamine. Potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, copper and phosphorus constitute the mineral content of the brussel sprout vegetable.
- Healthy Bones
Bone health can be enhanced with the sprouts due to the vitamin K constituent which helps in the retention and absorption of calcium. Healthy bones are promoted here leading to their development.
- Combats Diabetes
Nutrients within the sprouts have the potential to combat diabetes. There is improvement in the body resistance towards insulin leading to lower blood sugar levels. The insulin function involves converting the sugars into energy. Patients suffering from diabetes can be benefitted by consuming the sprouts as the blood sugar levels are stabilized and no variations are recorded.
- Cardio-Vascular Health
Health of the heart can be enhanced with the intake of brussel sprouts as there is reduction in the cholesterol levels enabling the process of blood transportation within the body smoothly. Fiber in the sprouts has a role to play in this context as the fiber has the ability to bind with the bile acids and flush them from the body through the excretory organs. Bile acids are needed for digestion of food and they are produced in the liver using cholesterol. The liver in order to produce additional bile acids extracts the cholesterol present in the body. The minimizing of cholesterol in the body can prove useful in maintaining health of the cardio-vascular system.
- Other Benefits
Digestion is eased with the consumption of the sprouts as bacteria in the intestinal tract is counter-attacked resulting in efficient food digestion.
Vitamin A in brussel sprouts can enhance vision and maintain eye health by resisting eye-linked disorders.
Vitamins such as vitamin A and C have anti-oxidant characteristics and protect the body from the free radicals.