Why do Brussels sprouts get a bad rap? When thinking of Brussels sprouts, it is likely that people remember the soggy, pre-frozen, tasteless side dish from their childhood. It doesn’t have to be that way though! Pop the sprouts in a roasting pan with some olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and your entire way of thinking will be changed. When roasted or sautéed, the outer leaves of these little babies develop a slightly crispy shell that is so satisfying and delicious. The good news is this veggie is not only delectable (seriously!), but it is also a major super food for a variety of reasons.
A recent study has shown improved stability of DNA inside our white blood cells after daily consumption of Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are an important dietary source of many vitamin antioxidants, including vitamins C, E, and A (in the form of beta-carotene).A French study examining total intake of polyphenols found Brussels sprouts to be a more important dietary contributor of these antioxidants than any other cruciferous vegetable, including broccoli.
They are also extremely high in fiber and are known for their ability to lower cholesterol levels. Two hundred calories worth of Brussels sprouts provides 50% of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. This means that you will be left feeling quite full from a small amount of food- a plus during a time of year normally over-ridden with cakes, pies, and cookies.
Brussels sprouts can help us avoid chronic, excessive inflammation through a variety of nutrient benefits, specifically their glucosinolate content. In addition to their detox-supportive properties, the glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts help to regulate the body’s inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system and prevent unwanted inflammation. This is good news for people who suffer from illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and asthma, among many others.
The truth is all of these health benefits look great on paper, but they mean nothing if the food is not palatable to you. Brussels sprouts can be found at Trader Joe’s, still on the stalk, for $4.99. Give the below recipe a try and see for yourself how it is possible to crave “health food”. The fussy 6 year old inside will thank you.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (adapted from EatLiveRun)
12-15 Brussels sprouts
1 TBS olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS red wine vinegar
Slice each Brussels sprout very thinly until you have a mound of feathery Brussels sprout ribbons. (or use the slicing attachment for your food processor) Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the Brussels sprouts and vinegar and continue sautéing for another 4-5 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the sea salt and brown sugar and toss together.