Brussel sprouts (named after the capital of Belgium) are first mentioned in 1587, though early forms of Brussels sprouts may have been cultivated and eaten as far back as the 1200s and maybe into Roman times. They grow on two to four foot tall, thick stalks in a spiral formation that can be removed by hand or machine. In appearance, Brussels sprouts closely resemble a head of cabbage and are frequently are called “little cabbages.” They are part of the cruciferous family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid, and dietary fiber when eaten raw or cooked, along with a up to 14 different other vitamins. With a strong, nuttier taste, yet one very similar to that of cabbage, this is an incredible vegetable for a number of reasons. Nevertheless, what makes them unpleasant for countless people is the sulfurous order that is evident while they are cooking or being steamed, usually from being over-cooked. This sulfuric odor is caused by heat releasing sulfur compounds in the vegetable. However, if cooked properly, this does not happen and the taste is a delicate nutty taste and the texture is denser that that of cabbage.
The recommended method of cooking of Brussels sprouts is to place the sprouts in a single layer in a saucepan, covering them in just enough water to cover the stalks, and boiling with salt and butter until the water is absorbed. They can also be steamed or roasted. The leaves of the Brussels sprout plant, which are also edible and nourishing, can be substituted for spinach in recipes, and can be used in soups, baking, and stir-frying.
Even so, Brussel sprouts may have a more important scientific reason as a food source through developing research. Sulforaphane, the very thing that helps to create the sulfuric odor that many people try to avoid, causes the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals and inhibit chemically-induced breast cancers. Studies have shown that eating Brussel sprouts may decrease the chances of getting certain types of cancer, especially that of lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer. Further research reveals that there are significant cardiovascular benefits as well.
Additional studies have shown that Brussel sprouts also provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints because the vegetable has a high percentage of Vitamin C, with the level being over 140% – 160% of the levels recommended for adults in the United States. To add even more reason to eat Brussel sprouts, testing has shown that doing so may reduce DNA damage by lowering the risk of mutations in DNA that allow cancer cells to develop in the first place. In fact, for those who may genetically lack the tumor suppressor gene called APC, this cruciferous vegetable has also reduced the incidences of pre-cancerous cells 41-52% in the colon and 27-67% in the liver, and significantly diminished the size 85-91% of pre-cancerous lesions in the liver.
Those who do not care for Brussel sprouts may want to rethink their decision to not include this seemingly lowly Brussels sprouts in their daily diet. There are several hybrids of this vegetable and some are sweeter than others are. Color may range from light green to dark green, greenish blue, and red. Learning the proper method of cooking these little gems, along with the protection they provide against cancer and other diseases, make Brussel sprouts one of the most amazing vegetables to ever grace the dinner table.
Brussels Sprouts Info
The World’s Healthiest Foods – Brussels sprouts