Brussels Sprouts

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Of the Cruciferous family, Brussels Sprouts possess some of the same powers as broccoli and cabbage. Definitely anti-cancer, estrogenic and packed with various antioxidants and indoles.


Why should I be aware of this?

Brussels sprouts contain plant phytonutrients which help enhance the body's natural defense systems to protect against disease, including cancer. Scientists have found that sulforaphane, one of the powerful glucosinolate phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, boosts the body's detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly.

Brussels sprouts and health

Brussels sprouts are rich in a group of substances known as glucosinolates which in the body, transforms into other chemical entities called isothiocyanates and indoles. These substances boost the liver’s ability to deal with potentially toxic substances.

Indole, a phytochemical, is also likely to provide protection against cancer. Brussels sprouts are also particularly rich in vitamin C, another anti-cancer agent. Overall it gives a good-for-the-body food that is high in protein and low in fat and calories.

All about Brussels sprouts

Members of the Brassica family, Brussels sprouts are kin to broccoli and cabbage. They resemble miniature cabbages, with diameters of about 1 inch and grow in bunches of 20 to 40 on the stem of a plant which grows up to 3 feet in height. Brussels sprouts are mostly green in color, although some varieties feature a red hue.

The first mention of Brussels sprouts, which are thought to be native to Belgium, can be traced to the late 16th century. The use of Brussels sprouts spread across Europe during World War I, and they are now cultivated throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., almost all Brussels sprouts are grown in California.

What can I do?

Tips for eating Brussels sprouts

  • Good quality, fresh Brussels sprouts should be firm, compact and vivid green.
  • Avoid wilted, yellowing leaves or leaves with perforations which can indicate an aphid infestation.
  • Unwashed and untrimmed sprouts can be kept in the fridge for about 10 days.
  • Brussels sprouts can be stir-fried, boiled or steamed. Alternatively, they can be chopped into small pieces and sprinkled over a salad.
  • Though Brussels sprouts are most commonly eaten boiled, they retain most of their nutritional qualities when eaten raw or lightly steamed.
  • Those suffering from thyroid problems are advised to avoid Brussels sprouts because they contain goitrogens, which can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland.


  • Brussels sprouts were named after the capital of Belgium where it is thought that they were first cultivated. They are also one of the few vegetables to have originated in northern Europe. [1]
  • They were first introduced to France and England in the nineteenth century where they continue to be a popular food. [1]
  • French settlers who settled in Louisiana introduced them to America. [1]
  • Brussels sprouts look like miniature heads of cabbage. They are similar to cabbage in taste, but they are slightly milder in flavor and denser in texture.[1]
  • Brussels sprouts and cabbage are members of the cruciferous vegetable family. These vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin C. [1]


  • Brussels sprouts
  • The health benefits of Brussels sprouts


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 USDA Resource Library