Fresh brussels sprouts shine in fall and winter. Look for a pronounced green color and tight, compact, firm heads. The fewer the yellowed, wilted, or loose leaves the better. You’re better off choosing smaller heads; they’re more tender and flavorful. Pick ones of similar size so they cook evenly. Stored in the refrigerator in the cardboard container they came in or kept in a plastic bag, loosely closed, they’ll last a week or two.
Preparation and Serving Tips
Dunk sprouts in ice water to debug them. Then rinse them under running water. Pull off loose or wilted leaves; trim the stem ends a little. Cut an “X” in the bottoms, so the insides cook at the same rate as the leaves. Steaming is your best bet. The sprouts will stay intact, the odor will be minimized, and you’ll preserve more nutrients than you would if you boiled them. As with broccoli and cabbage, the odor becomes most pronounced when overcooked. Brussels sprouts also lose valuable vitamin C when overcooked. So don’t be afraid to leave your sprouts a bit on the crisp side. As soon as you can barely prick them with a fork they’re done — about 7 to 14 minutes, depending on size. Brussels sprouts are delicious served with just a squeeze of lemon. For more flavor, try a mustard sauce.
It’s true that brussels sprouts may not be one of the most popular vegetables around. But they merit our attention. Their membership of the cruciferous vegetable family makes them cancer-fighting veggies. Give these little cabbages more of a chance because they really are among the healthiest vegetables and foods we can eat.
The health benefits of Brussels sprouts are so impressive that you’d think this hearty cruciferous vegetable shows up near the top of every ‘superfood list’. Research shows that Brussels sprouts contain more glucosinolates than any other common crucifer, more vitamin C than oranges, and almost twice as much vitamin K as red cabbage! However, for some reason, this unsung superfood has not managed to get the attention it deserves from health food enthusiasts.
Weight Loss Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
Did you know that eating Brussels sprouts on a regular basis as part of a balanced diet may also help you lose weight? Brussels sprouts are very low in calories (one ounce of cooked and drained Brussels sprouts weigh in at about 10 calories), and they contain only trace amounts of fat.
In addition, the large amounts of vitamin C Brussels sprouts may improve your body’s ability to burn fat during moderate physical exercise. A study conducted by a team of scientists from Arizona State University reported that the study participants who had low blood concentrations of vitamin C burned 25% less fat during a 60-minute walk on a treadmill, compared with those who showed adequate blood levels of vitamin C. The potential weight loss benefits of vitamin C may be linked to its ability to facilitate the synthesis of carnitine, a compound that has been shown to boost cells’ fat burning capabilities.
No one knows the origin of brussels sprouts, though it’s logical to assume they originated in Belgium. Like nearly all vegetables, brussels sprouts are naturally low in fat and calories. But unlike most vegetables, brussels sprouts are rather high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories. Although the protein is incomplete — it doesn’t provide the full spectrum of essential amino acids — it can be made complete with whole grains. This means you can skip a higher-calorie source of protein, like high-fat meat, and occasionally rely on a meal of brussels sprouts and grains.
Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamin A, folacin, potassium, calcium. They have 3-5 grams of fiber per cup, and at 25 calories per 1/2 cup cooked, they give us a reason to eat them more often. Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that will fill you up, without filling you out, always a plus for weight loss.
Brussels sprouts are very high in fiber, and they belong to the disease-fighting cabbage family. Indeed, they look like miniature cabbages. Like broccoli and cabbage — fellow cruciferous vegetables — brussels sprouts may protect against cancer with their indole, a phytochemical. They are also particularly rich in vitamin C, another anticancer agent.