Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Brussels sprouts are very polarizing. Either you love them or you hate them. I am team love them, so I don’t need much convincing to eat these little orbs of goodness. But, if you are not a fan, I encourage you to try them once again. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. Brussels sprouts may protect against colorectal cancer.
Brussels sprouts are part of the brassica vegetable family, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Brussels sprouts have been shown in research to reduce the risk of cancers, including colon and even lung cancer.
2. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C.
Move over, oranges! A single Brussels sprout contains a whopping 22% of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical damage caused by pollution, chemical exposure and UV light, among other things. In addition, vitamin C is vital for the production of collagen, which gives your skin its elasticity.
3. Brussels sprouts may improve breast cancer outcomes.
In a breast cancer survival study of almost 5,000 breast cancer survivors, those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage, within the first 36 months of breast cancer diagnosis had a 62% lower risk of breast cancer mortality. These participants also had a 35% lower risk of breast cancer reoccurrence.
This may be because a phytonutrient formed in Brussels sprouts when the leaves are chopped or chewed called sulforaphane boosts our body’s natural detoxification enzymes and can help clear cancer-causing substances from our system.
Studies have indicated sulforaphane may also inhibit the growth of colon cancer and help control the spread of late-stage breast cancer cells.
4. Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamin K.
Vitamin K is essential to proper maintenance of bone, as well as blood clotting. If you’d like to get more vitamin K in your diet, eat more Brussels sprouts. A 1/2 cup serving provides the body with 137% of our daily recommended intake of this important vitamin.
5. Brussels sprouts are delicious.
You may have seen that smashed Brussels sprouts are all the rage on the internet. I decided to give them a try, and even though this recipe takes a little more effort than just steaming them, it will make a convert out of even the most anti-Brussels-sprouts-person.
Smashed Brussel Sprouts
- 2 pounds whole Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt divided
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 3 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan
- Balsamic vinegar to garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large pot with cold water, add 2 tsps of salt and bring it to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts to the boiling salted water and cook until the sprouts are tender, about 10 minutes. While they are cooking, prepare an ice bath.
Once cooked, drain the Brussels sprouts, then plunge immediately into the ice bath. Let cool 1 minute, then place the Brussels sprouts on a layer of paper towels and lightly pat dry.
Place the Brussels sprouts on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with the remaining salt and black pepper. Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer. With the bottom of a drinking glass, gently but firmly press on each sprout to flatten it into a disk that is 1/2-inch or so thick.
Bake the Brussels sprouts for 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven and carefully flip them over. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top, then return the sprouts to the oven and continue baking until they are crisp on the outside and the cheese is lightly browned, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve hot and enjoy!
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