Ok, ok – we know that Brussels sprouts are a love/hate Christmas side dish, but once you discover the amazing health benefits of the humble veg, you’ll be piling your plate high!
Sprouts are packed with vitamins
Your little green friends are full of Vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and bone health, and Vitamin C, which is of course good for your immune system as well as helping you to absorb iron. They also have small amounts of Vitamin A, folate and manganese.
Low calorie Christmas dinner additions!
While roast potatoes are clearly the hero of any Christmas feast, sprouts are a great low calorie, low fat way to fill up (and transport extra gravy). They are around 38 cals each raw, with no fat at all and 3g of protein.
Full of fibre
Sprouts are a great source of fibre, with one serving (around half a cup) providing 8% of your daily needs. Fibre is an essential way of relieving constipation, promoting good gut health and helping you feel full and satisfied after eating.
- Find our list of fibre-rich foods here
Brussel sprouts may protect you from cancer
A study earlier this year suggested that cruciferous vegetables can help to reduce your risk of certain cancers.
- Find out which other vegetables can help cut your cancer risk
Sprouts are full of antioxidants
These humble vegetables are high in kaempferol, an antioxidant that may ease inflammation, improve heart health and reduce cancer cell growth. One study found that people who ate 300g of sprouts a day had reduced damage to their cells from oxidative stress by a whopping 28%.
Want strong bones? Eat sprouts!
The high levels of Vitamin K in sprouts makes them great for your bones, as the vitamin helps with calcium absorption. Low levels of Vitamin K have been linked to a higher risk of bone fractures.
Sprouts are great for diabetic diets
Keep your blood sugar levels stable with a side of sprouts. They contain an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid that’s been shown to lower glucose levels.
Good skin diet = sprouts!
Longing for gorgeous skin? Sprouts can help with that too! Thanks to their high levels of Vitamin C, they can help fight skin damage from too much sun or pollution. The vitamin also helps form collagen for younger, plumper-looking skin.
Steam rather than boil or roast your sprouts for special cholesterol lowering benefits. The fibre in a sprout will bind better with bile acids in your digestive tract when steamed, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Raw ones are also good.
Omga-3 fatty acids for vegans and vegetarians
If you don’t eat fish or other seafood it can be tricky to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids without a supplement. Brussels sprouts are one of the best plant-based sources of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, with around 135mg per half a cup serving.
- Find out if you should be taking Omega-3 supplements
Sprouts can reduce inflammation
High levels of inflammation can lead to diseases including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Studies have shown that cruciferous veg including Brussels sprouts can have an anti-inflammatory effect.
How to cook sprouts
Steaming, boiling or oven baking (with yummy olive oil and seasoning) are all good ways to eat sprouts. The main thing is not to cook them for too long, as apart from being mushy, they’ll lose some of their nutritional benefits. They’re also nice raw for added crunch, you could always mix into coleslaw or dip in hummus.