Brussels Sprouts, The Incredible Crucifer

A brief history lesson …

Brussels sprouts are a high nutrient mutant. Researchers don’t actually know how Brussels sprouts came to existence, but their best guess is that they came from a type of kale called Flanders kale. This type of kale endured a spontaneous mutation and developed small cabbage like structures along its stalk.

Brussels sprouts were common to eat in France and England by the late 18th century. Thomas Jefferson even brought this popular vegetable back to the United States in 1812.

Now, moving forward …

Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous family which also includes, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower. You should consume cruciferous vegetables 3-5 times per week and make the serving size at least 1-2 cups.

Many people don’t like the taste of Brussels sprouts. This is because it contains progoitrin and sinigrin. These two chemicals are very bitter tasting. Brussels sprouts contain the highest amount of these two chemicals more than any other crucifer vegetable in our supermarkets.

Brussels sprouts contain so many health benefits, so it’s a good idea to consume more of them in your diet. Brussels sprouts kill more human cancer cells than any other crucifer vegetable. They contain glucosinolates, a group of compounds that are starting points for a variety of cancer protective substances.

5 Health-Promoting Benefits of Eating Brussels Sprouts

  • Helps support detoxification
  • Provides antioxidant support
  • Provides anti-inflammatory support
  • Promoted heart health
  • Promotes digestive health

The Best Way to Select Brussels Sprouts

If you pick them carefully and cook them properly, Brussels sprouts can be less bitter tasting and more sweet and mild-flavored. At your local grocery store, look for bright green Brussels sprouts that have tightly wrapped leaves. If they look yellowish or wilted, they were harvested long ago and they’ve used up most of their natural sugars and nutrients.

Frozen Brussels sprouts are available year-round but contain only 20 percent of cancer fighting compounds compared to fresh Brussels sprouts.

The Best Way to Store Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts respire quickly, so treat them as you would with broccoli. Place them into your fridge immediately after getting home from the supermarket and consume within two days.

The Best Way to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Just before cooking, rinse and trim the stems. Cut a cross into the bottom of the larger stems they will cook as quickly as the leaves.

Steam on the stove-top for about 6-8 minutes depending on the size of the sprouts. Taste one to see if its tender and ready to eat. The sprouts should be lightly crunchy but tender. If you steam them over 8 minutes, the sprouts will become bitter, limp, and change color.

To serve, mix the Brussels sprouts with some olive oil or avocado oil and add a dash of salt and pepper.

Below is an easy 5-minute recipe to try at home.

5-Minute “Quick Steamed” Brussels Sprouts

Serves: 2

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • ½ red onion, sliced

For Dressing:

  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • Dash sea salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Fill the bottom of your steamer with 2 inches of water.
  2. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and slice as this as possible. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes before steaming.
  3. Chop the garlic and onion and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Place onions on the bottom of the steamer basket with Brussels sprouts on top of onions. Cover with a tight fit lid. Steam for about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer your Brussels sprouts into a bowl. To flavor, toss the sprouts with the remaining ingredients while they are still hot. The dressing will tenderize the sprouts.

Cooking Methods that Are NOT Recommended

Cooking Brussels sprouts at high temperatures can lead to the possibility of toxic compounds and can lose many of the Brussels sprouts nutrients.

Boiling– This will leave your Brussels sprouts mushy and soggy and will lead to nutrient loss in the water.

Stir-frying– This high temperature will damage the nutrients in the Brussels sprouts and can create unhealthy compounds. Remember, cooking with extra virgin olive oil has a very low smoke point and can be easily damaged by excessive heat.

Baking or Roasting– Many recipes call for baking Brussels sprouts to the point that the leaves turn charred. Many restaurants serve Brussels sprouts charred with bacon bits or with some sort of topping. Yes, they are delicious but, don’t forget the toxic compounds that come with it. The high temperatures and long cook times increases the potential toxic chemicals found in blackened or charred foods as well as from the damaged oil.

Microwaving– This method can save time, but you will lose the beneficial nutrients from nuking the Brussels sprouts too long. Instead try the “Quick Steaming” recipe above that only takes 5 minutes.

How do you enjoy eating Brussels Sprouts? Share below!

 

 

 

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