Brussels sprout is a member of the cabbage family. The plant grows up to a height of one meter. It has edible sprouts (buds) that grow on the stalk; they resemble a cabbage but are smaller in size (2-4cm in diameter). The buds have small dark green leaves. Brussels sprout is a winter crop; it grows in cold and humid conditions. The plant is thought to be from Brussels originally and cultivated in cold places of America and Europe.
Chemical composition: Brussels sprout contains vitamins A, certain components of B (B1, B6, B9 etc.), C, and K, minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc and selenium, compounds, sulphur compounds, fibre, carbohydrate, little fat and cholesterol.
Medical benefits: Brussels sprouts can be boiled or steamed. However, excessive cooking result in a loss of nutrients and the release of a pungent smell due to presence of sulphur.
Antioxidants present in Brussels sprout improve immunity and prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals, and age related degenerative diseases such as cancer of colon, prostrate, Alzheimer’s disease and cataract. It also improves cell repair and prevents growth of cancerous cells.
Brussel sprouts replenish vitamin A in the body, and are beneficial for all eye related problems including age related macular degeneration.
Due to presence of vitamin C, Brussels sprouts improve immunity against cold and cough. They also strengthen the bones and prevents calcification. They are rich in iron and help treat anaemia. They are also rich in potassium; they help maintain electrolyte balance and are important for the functioning of the heart.
Fibre content helps reduce constipation, lowers cholesterol, prevents arteriosclerosis (thickening of arterial walls), improves cardiovascular system, prevents colon cancer, lowers blood sugar level in diabetics and helps to reduce weight in obesity.
Brussels sprouts have antibacterial properties; they prevent growth of harmful intestinal bacteria.
Brussels sprout juice is used as a tonic and laxative. It reduces cholesterol. However excessive use can cause acidity and irritable bowel syndrome.
Contraindications: People suffering from hypothyroid problem should avoid eating Brussel sprouts. People with a tendency for kidney stone formation should eat in moderation as it contains oxalates of calcium. Avoid sprouts with loose yellow leaves.