The Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are one of the most infamous vegetables, often accused of being stinky, frequently thrown across the room by small children. But these mini cabbages shouldn’t be underestimated. They’re little, but they’re mighty. Brussels are a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, and pack similar benefits. They boast vitamins C, K, and folate, and are high in fiber and low in calories, making them remarkably filling (cabbage is a classic diet food—remember that crazy cabbage soup diet fad?). But best of all, new research continues to bolster the claim that cruciferous vegetables support a healthy gut and can help fight cancer. That’s nothing to turn your nose up at.
How Do You Prepare Brussels Sprouts?
If you think you don’t like Brussels, you probably just haven’t been treating them right. Whatever you do, don’t boil them! Not only will boiling make them squidgy and stinky, but it can kill that cancer-fighting compound. So both for flavor and health benefits, opt for steaming or roasting. Brussels are in season in winter, when frosty weather makes them exceptionally peppery and sweet. Look for bright green and dewy sprouts with tightly furled leaves. You don’t have to do much prep work, just trim the bottoms and peel away any yellow or spotted leaves.
What Can You Do with Brussels Sprouts?
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Roasting transforms Brussels sprouts into a crispy, crunchy treat. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts. Pile on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out. Roast until tender-crisp and golden, about 20 minutes. You can sprinkle with crumbled turkey bacon, whole-wheat breadcrumbs, or toasted nuts, if you like.
- Steamed Brussels Sprouts: Steaming preserves the most health benefits. In a pot fitted with a steaming rack, pour an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil, add the Brussels sprouts, cover tightly with a lid, and steam just until bright green and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, add a dab of butter or drizzle of olive oil, a big squeeze of lemon, and a light sprinkle of salt, and toss to coat.
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts: Just like cabbage, you can totally enjoy Brussels sprouts shaved and raw in salads and slaws. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut the Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible. Place in a large bowl, drizzle lightly with vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Then have fun combining with other favorite salad ingredients, like thinly sliced kale, apples, and walnuts.
Brussels Sprouts Recipes
Hungry for more? There are so many delicious ways to feast on Brussels sprouts.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.