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"We kids feared many things in those days - werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday School - but they all paled in comparison with Brussels sprouts." ― Dave Barry.

No, do not make that face at the mention of Brussels sprouts, as it is not going to help. They are, in fact, storehouses of multiple nutrients, and these cruciferous vegetables are anti-cancerous in nature. Besides, it's only when they are overcooked (that is for more than 5 - 7 minutes), do they start emitting the sulfuric stench of the glucosinolate, sinigrin. But otherwise, they are really quite delectable when they are boiled or roasted. If you are still not quite convinced and agree with columnist Barry, then read this article till the end to find out all about the nutritious benefits.

Calories

In the following table, the nutrition information corresponds with a serving of 88 gms of this green leafy vegetable.

Brussels Sprouts Form Serving Size Number of Calories Calories from Fat Carbohydrates
(in grams)
Proteins
(in grams)
Raw Brussels sprouts 1 cup 38 2 8 3
Frozen Brussels sprouts 1 cup 46 4 9 4.2
Brussels sprouts with white sauce 1 cup 194 103 18.2 7.1
Cooked Brussels sprouts with margarine 1 cup 88 40 11 4
Boiled Brussels sprouts with salt 1 cup 80 8 14 4

So, one should start worrying about calories from fat only when this petite relative of the cabbage is mingled with fattening cream and margarine. Otherwise, it is a godsend for those on a low-calorie, low-carb, or low-protein diet. So, go on and binge, sans that cringe!

Nutrition Facts

For those who understand that there's more to a food item than just calories, here are some other facts that will surely drill into your head why you must heavily indulge in Brussels sprouts. Their nomenclature originated from the fact that they were cultivated in Brussels, a place in Belgium, back in the 16th century and are still very popular there. There is more to a diet than the mere gratification of taste buds.
  • In just a cupful of boiled and drained Brussels sprouts, sprinkled with some salt, the vitamin C content is so high that it provides you with 81% of the daily requirement. Vitamin C is essential for cardiovascular health and immunity strength.
  • It is also a source of vitamin A (11%) and varieties of thiamin (6%), riboflavin (4%), niacin (2%), pantothenic acid (2%), and vitamin B6 (7%).
  • As for minerals, they have potassium (7%), iron (5%), phosphorus (4%), magnesium (4%), copper (3%), zinc (2%), and most importantly, 200 mg of sodium which caters to about 8% of sodium DV stipulation.
  • These vegetables are rich in folates (approximately 55 mcg in a cup of raw Brussels sprouts). They keep the fetus healthy when consumed by pregnant ladies.
  • 88 gms of these vegetables (uncooked) have 396 mcg of beta carotene, which reduces eye and skin ailments, as well as 1399 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin which ensure muscular health.
  • It has a good phytosterol content of 21 mg. It helps to lower cholesterol levels.
[*Percentages in the bracket indicate the DV (Daily Value) of the contents and not their quantity.]

What more can you ask for? We all keep cribbing about how unhealthy our eating patterns have become and how beneficial food habits have taken a backseat. Then, stop whining and do something about it. Eat up these green veggies which are natural health boosters. Also, before you use these nutrient powerhouses for any Brussels sprout recipes, soak them in water for at least 2 hours, or hold them under a running tap to get rid of contaminants or tiny insects that often inhabit the layered leaves. In order to facilitate wholesome steam ventilation, make a few scratches at the base of the stem so that no part remains uncooked.

Brussels sprouts are extremely popular in Europe, where about 420 million pounds of these vegetables are produced per annum. Include these fat free greens in your diet today, and reap all the benefits of good health!