Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

While it’s not everyone’s favourite vegetable, Brussels sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Much like the rest of their cruciferous family (kale, cauliflower and broccoli), Brussels sprouts contain vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate, which support immunity, bone health and skin.

They are also packed with beneficial fibre that promotes good gut health and healthy body weight. The antioxidants they contain contribute to a reduction in inflammation and overall health.

One particular health benefit of Brussels sprouts, according to Rosie Martin, registered dietitian at Plant Based Health Professionals, is protection against the debilitating condition osteoporosis in later life.

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones making them fragile and more likely to break.

Rosie explained: “Due to their vitamin K content, Brussel sprouts can support healthy bones, which in turn can support in protecting against the debilitating condition osteoporosis later in life. This is particularly important for women who face an increased risk particularly following menopause.”

Many of us relegate Brussels sprouts to the Christmas dinner table, but really, they can be enjoyed right through the winter season.

Rosie advised: “There is no specific recommendation for the frequency or quantity but including about 80g (seven sprouts) a couple of times each week alongside a diverse range of other colourful vegetables daily is beneficial for your health and wellness.”

One commonly known side effect of eating Brussel sprouts can be digestive issues such as gas, bloating and a change in bowel habit.

If you suddenly include lots of Brussel sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables during the festive season and not during the rest of the year, then your bowel won’t be used to the fibre they contain and may struggle to digest it well, warned Rosie.

She said: “To alleviate this, aim to bring cooked sprouts into your diet in small quantities to start with, and build up over time.

“Keep seasonal cruciferous vegetables in your diet throughout the year to support bowel health and function, as well as benefiting from their nutrients long-term.”

The best way to preserve all nutrients in Brussels sprouts is to lightly steam/pressure cook them followed by boiling, according to Lucia Stansbie, Nutritional Therapist at https://foodpowernutrition.com/.

She added: “Vitamin C can be very sensitive to heat and degrade rapidly at elevated temperatures.

“I would avoid chargrilling them as the charred parts will contain toxic compounds linked to increased inflammation and cardiovascular damage.”

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