The health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts are so many, as they have a unique nutritional value…
Brussels sprouts nutrition facts
According to the USDA, Brussels sprouts are nutrient-dense vegetables.
They contain many nutrients, but only a few calories.
How many carbs in Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are 86% water. They have only 43 calories per 100 gr.
They contain only 9 grams of carbs per 100 gr.
Moreover, Brussels sprouts have only 2.2 grams of sugars per 100 gr.
What’s the dietary fiber content?
Furthermore, Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber. 100 gr contains 3.8 grams of fiber. That’s huge.
Keep in mind that we need about 28 grams of dietary fiber per day. So, a cup of Brussels sprouts can provide more than 13% DV (Daily Value).
Are Brussels sprouts rich in protein?
Most noteworthy, Brussels sprouts are a good source of protein. They contain 3.4 grams of protein per 100 gr.
Only a few other vegetables contain more protein.
Even the broccoli has less protein content. Although it’s famous as a protein-rich vegetable. It has 2.8 grams of protein per 100 gr.
So, if you are an athlete and have increased protein needs, consider eating Brussels sprouts. They’re perfect for you.
They’re high in protein and low in calories.
To sum up… Brussels sprouts are low in calories and carbs, but high in protein and fiber.
Micro-nutrient nutrition value of Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts contain many vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting phytochemicals.
Above all, Brussels sprouts are rich in:
- potassium, 389 mg, or 14% DV.
- lutein + zeaxanthin, 1590 mcg.
- beta-carotene, 450 mcg.
- vitamin K, 177 mcg, or 150% DV.
- vitamin C, 85 mg, or 113% DV.
- iron, 1.4 mg, or 17% DV.
- many other antioxidants.
Moreover, Brussels sprouts have a high chlorophyll content. Eating foods rich in chlorophyll is good for our health.
Health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous family.
Other cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, kale, arugula, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, radishes, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.
What’s so important about these vegetables?
They contain a unique phytochemical. It’s called sulforaphane.
It’s exclusively present in cruciferous vegetables.
Also, many of the health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts come from the sulforaphane.
Good eyesight, vision, and eye health
Brussels sprouts can protect your eyesight.
Firstly they are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (1590 mcg) and beta-carotene (450 mcg). Both are important for good vision.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the retina of the eye contains lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein and zeaxanthin have many functions.
Firstly, they are powerful antioxidants, that fight free radicals. Free radicals can damage the retina of the eye.
Among others, lutein and zeaxanthin filter the harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light. They have a key role in protecting the eyes.
So, lutein and zeaxanthin intake is important for eye health, especially because the human body can’t produce them.
Hence, we should consume them through food. The best source is green vegetables.
Furthermore, the higher dietary intake of lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E was associated with a significantly decreased risk of cataract formation.
So, what’s the recommended lutein and zeaxanthin daily intake? There isn’t an official suggestion.
The American Optometric Association suggests consuming about 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin per day.
Other good sources of lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene are:
|Lutein and Zeaxanthin (mg)||beta-Carotene (mg)|
You can see the whole list of foods rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene here.
Do you remember sulforaphane, the unique compound of cruciferous vegetables?
Scientists found that sulforaphane can protect the lens cells of the eye against oxidative stress (1).
Practically, eating sulforaphane-rich vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, could potentially delay the development of cataract.
The health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts are so many…
Boosts your immune system
Brussels sprouts are especially rich in vitamin C. 100 gr contains 85 mg, or 113% DV.
Vitamin C is essential for good health. Furthermore, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, that contributes to immune defense and protects us against environmental oxidative stress (2).
Whenever you cook Brussels sprouts, sprinkle lemon juice and olive oil as a dressing, for additional health benefits.
Remember, citrus fruits, such as lemon, are rich in vitamin C. Furthermore, olive oil is a good source of polyphenols.
Are Brussels sprouts good for weight loss?
Eating Brussels sprouts is beneficial for losing weight fast. Firstly, Brussels sprouts are rich in dietary fiber. High fiber intake has linked to weight loss. Secondly, Brussels sprouts are pretty low in calories. They have only 43 calories per 100g. Also, they’re a particularly filling food. Eat them regularly, as part of your healthy diet.
Certainly, eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for losing weight fast. They’re low in calories and high in fiber.
Remember… Brussels sprouts are good for you for losing weight. They are high in fiber but low in calories.
Will Brussels sprouts make you poop?
Fiber is vital for healthy, solid bowel movements. It is known that diets low in fiber induce constipation.
As, Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber, they may help people with constipation.
Another common reason for chronic constipation is the inefficient water intake. Try to drink more water or other liquids, if you have constipation problems.
There are two main types of dietary fiber. Soluble and insoluble.
Brussels sprouts contain mainly soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is fermented in the gut, feeding beneficial gut bacteria.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber may help you more in preventing constipation. Luckily, many foods contain insoluble fiber.
For instance, whole grains, legumes, and many vegetables all are high in insoluble fiber.
Are Brussels sprouts good for people with diabetes?
The carbohydrate amount of Brussels sprouts is ideal for diabetics.
100 gr contains only 2.2 grams of sugar.
Contrary, Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, meaning that they won’t spike the blood sugar.
Also, the Glycemic Index of Brussels sprouts is pretty low.
Furthermore, as Brussels sprouts have a low carbohydrate amount, they also have a particularly low Glycemic Load.
Antioxidants can help people with diabetes
Additionally, many vegetables are rich in antioxidants.
For instance, Brussels sprouts are rich in alpha-Lipoic Acid, or ALA.
The ALA is a powerful antioxidant. It fights chronic oxidative stress. Moreover, ALA can help people with diabetes, in many ways (4).
Other vegetables that are a good source of ALA are spinach, broccoli, tomato, garden peas, and rice bran.
Eating Brussels sprouts for fighting cancer
Do you remember sulforaphane? The unique compound of cruciferous vegetables?
It seems that it has chemopreventive properties as well. There is no wonder why scientists start to use it against cancer.
Researchers gave broccoli sprout extract, containing a high amount of sulforaphane, to women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. They didn’t observe any significant adverse effects (5).
Most noteworthy, sulforaphane effectively inhibited tumor growth.
Also, Brussels sprouts are high in fiber. It is known that adequate amounts of fiber can reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as colon cancer (6).
Moreover, Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals and chronic oxidative stress. Both common in many types of cancer.
Eating Brussels sprouts against Alzheimer’s disease
Sulforaphane has also potent anti-inflammation and neuroprotective properties.
Researchers have found that it can prevent various brain diseases, such as (7):
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- traumatic brain injury,
- autism spectrum disorders.
Helps fight nasal allergies naturally
The benefits of eating Brussels sprouts don’t stop…
It seems that sulforaphane can help suppress the nasal inflammatory response.
One reason that nasal inflammation occurs is the air pollution. Air pollution generates oxidative stress, causing nasal allergies and asthma.
Scientists gave people with nasal allergies or asthma, sulforaphane doses equivalent to the consumption of 100-200 grams of broccoli, with great results (8).
Sulforaphane is present in all cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts.
Helps people with autism
In a recent study, researchers showed that sulforaphane could significantly reduce the behavioral symptoms of autism (9).
Autism spectrum disorder seems to affect 1 in 68 children. The causes vary widely.
Its main characteristics are:
- impaired social interaction,
- impaired communication,
- restricted or repetitive behaviors.
Although more research is needed, the effects of sulforaphane appeared clear and powerful to many caregivers. Moreover, caregivers sensed a reduction in symptom intensity.
Strong bones and osteoporosis.
Brussels sprouts can help with osteoporosis. Furthermore, Brussels sprouts can keep your bones strong.
Firstly, they are rich in vitamin K. Vitamin K has linked to a good bone mineral density and decrease fracture risk (10).
Other foods rich in vitamin K, here.
Secondly, Brussels sprouts have calcium. Also, they are rich in dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber may increase calcium absorption. Also, may protect against bone loss at the hip in older men (12).
Avoid cow’s milk. It seems that cow’s milk can’t protect your bones, despite the high calcium content.
Is it OK to eat Brussels sprouts every day?
The health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts are so many. But how often should you eat Brussels sprouts?
There are people who shouldn’t eat Brussels sprouts every day. Why?
Because Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K. 100 gr contains 177 mcg.
According to the American National Institutes of Health, men need about 120 mcg and women only 90 mcg of vitamin K per day.
So, a cup of Brussels sprouts can provide more than 195% DV (Daily Value). But, what’s the problem?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. It concentrates in body fat.
Could vitamin K-toxicity occur? Luckily, the possibility of vitamin K toxicity is low.
Scientists haven’t found any side effects of excessive vitamin K consumption. Neither from food, nor supplements.
Side effects of everyday eating of Brussels sprouts
Unfortunately, vitamin K may interact with medication.
If you’re taking Warfarin (or other anticoagulants), antibiotics, bile acid sequestrants (reduce cholesterol), or orlistat (weight loss drug) on a regular basis should inform your doctor, if you regularly eat foods rich in vitamin K.
Besides Brussels sprouts, many other vegetables and spices are particularly rich in vitamin K. The whole list here.
Is broccoli or Brussels sprouts better for you?
Both broccoli and Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables. So, both contain sulforaphane.
Additionally, both are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The health benefits of eating Brussels sprouts and broccoli are so many.
So, try to eat them both, along with all the other cruciferous vegetables (kale, arugula, cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, etc).
How can eat Brussels sprouts?
Certainly, Brussels sprouts are cooked easily. So, they can easily be a part of a healthy whole food plant-based diet.
You can enjoy them in many ways: roasted, sautéed, boiled or baked.
What do Brussels sprouts taste like?
Cruciferous vegetables contain a sulfur-containing phytochemical called glucosinolate.
This compound is responsible for the distinctive odor and bitter flavor.
To get rid of this strong odor, fast cook Brussels sprouts. You’ll reduce this unique aroma of Brussels sprouts or broccoli.
For better results, add a few drops of vinegar in the water.
How to increase sulforaphane absorption?
Although, it isn’t an option for Brussels sprouts, prefer eating other cruciferous vegetables raw.
Scientists found that consumption of raw broccoli has better results, compared to cooked broccoli (11):
- faster sulforaphane absorption,
- higher sulforaphane bioavailability,
- higher total amount of sulforaphane in the blood.
So, don’t cook cabbage. Better enjoy it in salads.
- A 2013 study of the University of East Anglia: Sulforaphane can protect lens cells against oxidative stress: implications for cataract prevention.
- A 2017 study of the University of Otago: Vitamin C and Immune Function.
- A 2019 study of the Texas Woman’s University: Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets.
- A 2011 study of the University of British Columbia: Diabetes and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
- A 2018 study of the “First Hospital of Jilin” University: Chemopreventive activity of sulforaphane.
- A 2015 study of the Queen’s University of Belfast: Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer.
- A 2018 study of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA: Sulforaphane Protects against Brain Diseases: Roles of Cytoprotective Enzymes.
- A 2014 study of the School of Medicine at UCLA: Sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract attenuates nasal allergic response to diesel exhaust particles.
- A 2017 study of the University of Massachusetts Medical School: Sulforaphane from Broccoli Reduces Symptoms of Autism: A Follow-up Case Series from a Randomized Double-blind Study
- A 2007 study of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants.
- A 2008 study: Bioavailability and Kinetics of Sulforaphane in Humans after Consumption of Cooked versus Raw Broccoli
- A 2018 study of the Boston University School of Medicine: Association between dietary fiber intake and bone loss in the Framingham Offspring Study