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Brussels Sprouts

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Brussels Sprouts Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 86 g
Calories: 43 kcal
Protein: 3.4 g
Carbohydrate: 9 g
Dietary fiber: 3.8 g
Sugars: 2.2 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin C: 85 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.7 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 61 μg
Vitamin A: 38 μg
Vitamin E: 0.9 mg
Vitamin K: 177 μg
Calcium: 42 mg
Iron: 1.4 mg
Magnesium: 23 mg
Phosphorus: 69 mg
Potassium: 389 mg
Sodium: 25 mg
Zinc: 0.4 mg

Brussels sprouts are not just that well known staple of Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, they are also a great way of incorporating those super healthy brassicas into your diet.

While cooking Brussels sprouts you may have experienced bad smells and a bitter taste, but this is actually due to overcooking (especially over-boiling), so don’t worry, they probably don’t taste as bad as you may remember.

Packed with nutrients that are sure to benefit your long term health, Brussels sprouts are fantastic cancer-fighters and anti-inflammatories, and have extremely high levels of fibre.

Brussels sprouts have a great nutritional profile. Many brassicas such as broccoli and rapini have fantastic amounts of vitamins K and C, and Brussels sprouts are no exception, boasting 221% DV and 142% DV respectively (see USDA database).

However, the real benefits of Brussels sprouts lie in their preventative effects on a number of health issues. For example, 100g contains 15% DV of dietary fibre.

Fibre lowers cholesterol levels. This is because it binds to bile acids, resulting in less bile acids in the body. This is important because the liver needs to produce bile acids from cholesterol, so when intake of fibre reduces the level of bile acids, the liver must use up more cholesterol to produce bile acids. That’s quite a mouthful! In short: the more fibre, the less bile acids in the body, and therefore the more cholesterol broken down.

Fibre is also important for digestion. Not only does it improve the mechanism of digestion itself, but it may increase satiety, and help you feel fuller.

The sulforaphane in Brussels sprouts also protects the digestive tract by inhibiting the growth of Heliobacter pylori, a bacteria that can lead to a multitude of gastric problems, potentially even stomach cancer.

Another important property of Brussels Sprouts is the antioxidant benefits they possess. Antioxidants prevent ‘free radical’ damage (that may lead to DNA damage, cell death and mutations), and so are an important part of any healthy diet. They are extremely high in these compounds.

Vitamin C we have already discussed, but there are also a number of ‘flavonoid’ antioxidants (isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol) present in Brussels sprouts that make this a particularly potent source of antioxidants.

Finally, it benefits from being high in a number of compounds with anti-cancer effects (see ‘Bok Choy’). In fact, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, Brussels sprouts possess one of the highest concentrations of glucosinalates of any food.