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Brussels sprouts: useful properties and contraindications

Brussels sprouts are a widespread vegetable crop in the world that does not grow in the wild. It was first cultivated and named by Belgian agrarians in the 16th century. The variety quickly became popular in France and Germany, and in the former Soviet Union it appeared in the middle of the 19th century, but because of its demanding climatic conditions it was not widely distributed. Today it is one of the most popular varieties of cabbage in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and its main importer is the Netherlands. What has it earned such recognition in the West, what are its benefits for the body, is it possible to make a really interesting dish from Brussels sprouts?

What does Brussels sprouts look like?

This type of cabbage belongs to the category of biennial cabbage. In the first year, a stem is formed, which can be up to 50 cm long and 1.5 cm thick. It also produces small leaves on thin petioles, the average length of which is 20 cm. Edible sprouts are arranged on the stem, their diameter varies from 3 to 4 cm, with up to 50 units on each stem. In the second year of flowering, the seeds needed for reseeding are formed. There are more than 500 seeds per 1 g that persist for the next five years.

The benefits and harms of Brussels sprouts

The most common variety of Brussels sprouts is considered Hercules. It is characterized by good yields and increased resistance to frost.

Composition and calories

This type of cabbage is considered a real treasure trove of vitamins, macro- and micronutrients. Most of all it contains B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B9), ascorbic acid - up to 104 mg per 100 g of dry product. It is also rich in phosphorus, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, iodine, iron and essential amino acids.

As for calories, there are only 43 kcal per 100 g of product. Protein accounts for 4.8 g, carbohydrates - 8.0 g, and fat is completely absent. It is the Brussels sprouts that are considered record-breakers among other varieties in terms of protein content. It is only 1.2 g per 100 g in Peking cabbage, 1.8 in plain white cabbage and 3 g in broccoli. This amount of protein is difficult to find in any other vegetable. Therefore, athletes and people struggling with obesity should pay attention to this variety.

The biochemical composition of Brussels sprouts makes it not only an excellent food, but also allows its use in medical practice.

What is Brussels sprouts good for?

General benefits

In terms of vitamin C, these small sprouts outnumber the usual white cabbage by several times. In terms of the concentration of this vitamin this vegetable can be safely equaled to currants. Its benefits include the following properties:

  1. Strengthening the immune system, stimulating the production of antibodies (due to the combination of ascorbic acid and vitamin B5).
  2. Improve the cardiovascular system.
  3. Strengthening the walls of blood vessels.
  4. Prevention of cancer development (glucosinolates are responsible for this function, which also give Brussels sprouts their characteristic bitterness).
  5. Accelerated healing of wounds.
  6. Suspension of aging processes.
  7. Maintenance of vision (antioxidants prevent cataracts).
  8. Prevention of neuronal damage and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (vitamin K is responsible for this).
  9. Increasing lung volume, minimizing the risk of viral and respiratory diseases.
  10. Stimulation of bile outflow.
  11. Normalization of stool and the elimination of constipation.
  12. Beneficial effect on the work of the pancreas.

Since Brussels sprouts take quite a long time to mature (they will take up to 150 days if directly planted in the ground), they are considered an excellent source of vitamins precisely in the fall and winter period.

For women

In addition to all of the above properties, Brussels sprouts are extremely important for the female body, because they stabilize the nervous system, strengthen the hair and nails, and help in the fight against skin diseases. Since it is a dietary product, it can be eaten by women seeking to lose weight.

For men

One of the unique properties of Brussels sprouts specifically for men is to prevent cholesterol deposits on the walls of the arteries. But to achieve the best effect, it is most useful to eat such cabbage without store-bought sauces and mayonnaise. The organic compound of amino acids and glucose prevents the destruction of blood vessels and has an anti-inflammatory effect. The American Academy of Cardiology recommends eating Brussels sprouts to all men at risk of heart disease.

Scientists have also proved that Brussels sprouts have a positive effect on the number of sperm, increases their motility and vitality. Therefore, it should be added to the diet of a couple planning a pregnancy.

In pregnancy

Nutritionists strongly recommend adding this variety of cabbage to the daily diet of future mothers because of its high content of folic acid. It is responsible for the proper formation and development of the child's nervous system, minimizing the risks of intrauterine defects. Vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, helps women in the position of a beautiful look. Fiber is a natural laxative.

When breastfeeding

The diet of a nursing mother must consist of healthy vegetables. And Brussels sprouts are no exception. But it is allowed to eat it only in stewed or boiled form (it is better to give up fried dishes or raw vegetable). Young mothers Brussels sprouts are important precisely as a natural vitamin and mineral complex with a high degree of absorption. But it is desirable to start eating it until the child is 1 month old. Brussels sprouts will accelerate the recovery of the female body after childbirth and will stimulate the production of milk.

Video: What vegetables can be eaten during breastfeeding Expand

For kids

The uniqueness of Brussels sprouts lies in the easily digestible iron, which prevents the development of anemia. This is due to the presence of vitamin C in the product, which also strengthens children's immunity and helps to combat seasonal diseases.

Many doctors recommend using this type of cabbage as the first complementary food. This is due to the fact that it rarely provokes an allergic reaction, while bringing tremendous health benefits to the baby. But you should start with 1-2 spoonfuls of boiled heads, grinded into a puree.

When losing weight

In Brussels sprouts, a large amount of protein with a complete absence of fat is noted. This makes it an excellent substitute for classic side dishes. When switching to a proper diet and the desire to get rid of extra pounds, such cabbage is better eaten in salad or boiled form.

Brussels sprouts in medicine

In 2010, an official confirmation was published that Brussels sprouts contain indole-3-carbinol. The peculiarity of this substance is that it prevents the development of breast cancer and its recurrence. Experiments have proven that eating this type of cabbage reduces malignancies by more than 60%. This type of cabbage can also be effective in the fight against other types of cancer due to the isothiocyanates contained in it. The specificity of the latter is also that they minimize the risk of a heart attack. Regular consumption of Brussels sprouts is indicated for prostate, ovarian and colon cancer.

Brussels sprouts in medicine

Brussels sprouts contain a huge amount of potassium, so doctors recommend that anyone with heart problems pay attention to them. If for some reason you do not like its taste, you can also prepare a decoction from the inflorescences. For this purpose, 200 g of cabbage should be filled with 0.5 liters of clean water, put on the fire and boil for 10 minutes after boiling. Leave the cabbage in the water for half an hour to infuse. The resulting remedy can be drunk 50-100 ml twice a day immediately before meals.

For Diabetes Mellitus

Recent studies prove that the combination of natural juice of Brussels sprouts and young bean sprouts is effective in the fight against diabetes. Brussels sprouts have a minimum glycemic index (30), so it is allowed to use for such ailments, but only in boiled or baked form.

In pancreatitis

Brussels sprouts have a positive effect on the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, relieves irritation of the stomach and intestinal tissues. Therefore, with pancreatitis it is allowed to eat, but only in the remission stage. During an exacerbation, it is better to give it up. To start, it is better to boil cabbage without any spices and grind it to a state of puree. The first day you can eat no more than 2-3 spoonfuls and look at the reaction of the body. If there is no pain, it is acceptable to increase its quantity in the daily diet up to 100 grams.

With gastritis

With gastritis, you can eat almost all products, but not in raw form. In the case of Brussels sprouts, this rule is also relevant, since it contains a lot of rough fiber, which can strongly irritate the sensitive mucosa of the stomach. This can provoke a worsening of the disease. The best way to eat it - in a boiled form without the addition of spices and acids (lemon and vinegar).

In gout

Because of the high content of purines in Brussels sprouts, they should not be eaten with gout. It can aggravate the disease.

For cholelithiasis

Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder and can occur with or without stones. When forming a diet, doctors recommend refraining from excessive consumption of foods rich in vitamin C, which include Brussels sprouts. If a person is diagnosed with the presence of oxalates, this type of cabbage is better to exclude from the menu.

Harm and contraindications

Despite the great benefits that this kind of cabbage brings to the body, it can also be harmful. It has components that can disrupt the stable functioning of the thyroid gland, in particular to stimulate the development of hypothyroidism. Goitrogens included in its composition reduce the amount of hormones produced by the body. But there is information confirming that the heat treatment destroys them.

Contraindications also include:

  • hyperacidity of the stomach;
  • Exacerbation of chronic gastrointestinal diseases;
  • Individual intolerance.

How to store Brussels sprouts

There are several ways to store heads of cabbage for the winter. The first is suitable for those who grow it in the homestead. For this, the stem together with the cabbage heads are hung on small hooks, having previously cut off all the leaves. This allows you to preserve all the properties of the product for a long time. But this approach is relevant only if you have your own cellar. Some people store such cabbage in cut form in boxes. But in this case, the humidity should reach 90% and the temperature should not exceed 0°C.

How to store Brussels sprouts

At home it is better to put Brussels sprouts in the fridge. But raw sprouts remain edible only for a few months. They can also be pickled, frozen or salted. Before freezing each sprout, leave it in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes and then place it in boiling water for two minutes. Then it should be cooled, packed in a container for storage (you can use a regular bag) and put it in the freezer.

Video: The way to store Brussels sprouts Expand

How to cook Brussels sprouts to perfection

Many salads, casseroles, and first courses can be prepared on the basis of this type of cabbage. It can be roasted, baked or steamed. Brussels sprouts are considered one of the best side dishes to meat. But you should keep in mind that if it is cooked for too long, over time it will lose its original elasticity and will have an unpleasant, pungent smell.

How to Cook

To cook Brussels sprouts, it is best to use the largest pot you have. This is due to the fact that during boiling, the cabbage will swell slightly and therefore increase in size. If using frozen cabbage, it does not need to be thawed. The fresh one should be washed beforehand, remove the upper leaves if they are damaged. Then cut off no more than 2 mm of the base of the root and make an incision in the form of a cross. This will speed up the boiling process.

Fresh Brussels sprouts should be boiled in slightly salted boiling water for at least, but not more than 7 minutes, frozen - no more than 12 immediately after the start of boiling. To remove the specific smell, at the very end of the process, you can add a little lemon juice. Boiled cauliflower can be easily pierced with a knife or fork.

When using a multicooker, the optimal mode for cooking Brussels sprouts is braising.

For those who are just getting acquainted with this amazing product, you can use a simple recipe: to boiled cabbage add some chopped or minced garlic and dress everything with low-fat sour cream. But in order to get the perfect taste, it is extremely important to boil it correctly at first.

Brussels sprouts soup recipe
This diet soup based on Brussels sprouts perfectly satisfies hunger and does not affect the figure. To prepare it you will need:

  • 3 liters of chicken broth;
  • 150 grams of Brussels sprouts;
  • 1 carrot;
  • 3 medium potatoes;
  • 1 onion;
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic;
  • salt, seasonings to taste.

Cooking process:

  1. The first thing we do is to boil chicken broth. To do this, we put the chicken carcass in a pot, pour water, bring to a boil, remove the foam, salt and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
  2. Onions and carrots are finely chopped and poached in vegetable oil or added immediately to the meat. In the second case, the soup will be more useful.
  3. We boil the vegetables on low heat for another 7-10 minutes.
  4. Take out the carcass of chicken, remove the meat and return it to the broth.
  5. The sprigs of florets cut crosswise, drop them into the water and boil for no more than 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the soup from the fire and let it infuse.

Brussels sprouts soup with meatballs
Another soup recipe that kids will love. It will be a great alternative to green borscht during the winter colds.


  • clean water - 2.5 liters;
  • potatoes - 4 pcs;
  • chicken fillet - 1 pc;
  • Brussels sprouts (fresh or frozen) - 300 g;
  • garlic - 3 cloves;
  • carrots - 1 pc;
  • Cold pressed olive oil - 3 tablespoons;
  • Onions - 1 pc;
  • dried dill - 1 tsp;
  • bay leaf - 2 leaves;
  • fresh parsley - a small bunch;
  • Ground paprika, salt, pepper - to taste.

From the specified number of ingredients you will get 6 portions of soup. Total cooking time - 45 minutes.

  1. In a large pot pour clean water, cover with a lid and put on a high heat. While the water is boiling, prepare all vegetables and meat.
  2. The fillet is washed under running water, dried, remove the foil from the meat and cut into small pieces. After shredding it to mince through a meat grinder or blender. Add a few cloves of garlic, paprika, black pepper and fresh parsley to the meat. From the resulting minced meat, form small balls, the diameter of which should not exceed 2 cm.
  3. After boiling, add the meatballs to the water and cook them for 7-10 minutes, lowering the fire to minimum.
  4. If using frozen Brussels sprouts, take them out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking the soup and leave them to thaw. Fresh ones are rinsed beforehand, and perhaps remove the top leaves if they are damaged. Large sprouts cut in half. Also cut the core to speed up the cooking of the florets. Add the cabbage in water and boil for 7 minutes over low heat.
  5. Potatoes are cut into small bars, onions - into small cubes, carrots are chopped on a grater. Add the vegetables to the broth after the meatballs or fry them in olive oil. You can fry half of the carrots and onions, and add half at once to the water.
  6. After the vegetables, put in the water a bay leaf, a few peas, salt.
  7. Remove the soup from the fire and let it infuse for 10 minutes. When serving, sprinkle the soup with fresh herbs.
Video: How to cook Brussels sprouts Expand

How to fry

Brussels sprouts can also be roasted. The fresh fruit should be boiled first according to the recipe above, while the frozen ones can be put in a pan right away. Put on a low heat, add a little butter and fry for a few minutes. Salt, pepper, sprinkle with lemon juice and continue to fry on medium heat for another 7-10 minutes.

How to roast your Brussels sprouts

But housewives need to keep in mind that when burning in a pan Brussels sprouts give off an unpleasant smell. This is due to the presence of sulfur in its composition.

Baked Brussels sprouts with cheese recipe
This is a great option for an appetizer or a complete second course. To make it you need to take:

  • 250 g Brussels sprouts;
  • 50 ml of milk;
  • 30g of butter;
  • 1 tsp. flour;
  • 50 g of hard cheese;
  • 1 pinch of salt.

Cooking process:

  1. The first thing to do is to boil the cabbage. In a pot we pour a liter of water, and drop the cabbage into the boiling water. Boil them no longer than 10 minutes. For frozen cabbage, it may take longer to fully cook (up to 15 minutes).
  2. While the cabbage is boiling, prepare the remaining ingredients: shred the cheese on a coarse grater.
  3. We fry the flour on a dry frying pan for no longer than 1 minute, pour the milk into it and stir it, cooking for 5 minutes. The sauce should become thick. Then we remove it from the fire and add butter.
  4. Boiled cabbage throw in a colander and let the excess water drain off.
  5. Then dry the cabbage and fry in a pan for 7 minutes. For this you can use both butter and olive oil.
  6. Ready cabbage is transferred to a container, pour the sauce on top of it, lay all the cheese and put it in the oven for 10-12 minutes if it is heated to 180°C.

Brussels sprouts with walnuts and mushrooms
This is an exquisite, yet simple recipe for Brussels sprouts that can be part of a holiday menu. You need to take:

  • 300-400 g Brussels sprouts;
  • 300 g of mushrooms;
  • 40 g of nuts (any nuts you like);
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil;
  • 2 tbsp. liquid honey;
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce;
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice;
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh parsley;
  • salt, pepper to taste.

It is best to use fresh Brussels sprouts in this recipe, but if you don't have them, frozen will do:

  1. Roast the brussels sprouts in a small amount of olive oil. It is advisable to cut it in half beforehand.
  2. Peel the mushrooms and cut them into small slices. Add them to the cabbage, reduce the heat to minimum and stew for 5-7 minutes.
  3. For the dressing, take a small bowl and mix in soy sauce, ground black pepper, honey and lemon juice. We add the soy sauce last and only a little, because depending on the manufacturer, it may be very salty. It is very important not to over-salt the dish.
  4. Pour the dressing into the pan, mix it well and stew for a few more minutes, so that the vegetables absorb all the flavors.
  5. Chop the nuts, but not into crumbs, and add them to the rest of the ingredients at the very end. They also need to roast a little.
  6. Taste the dish and add salt, pepper or a little lemon juice if desired.
  7. Before serving, chop the parsley and sprinkle the Brussels sprouts with it.
Video: Brussels sprouts recipe with mushrooms and onions Expand

Pasta with chicken and Brussels sprouts
This recipe is worth trying for all those who are sure that the taste of Brussels sprouts is not to their liking. In combination with good cheese and the right spices it acquires amazing flavors. That said, you can use fresh or frozen cabbage to make the dish.

Here is the list of products:

  • pasta "shells" - 200 g;
  • chicken filet - about 600 gr;
  • butter - 2 tablespoons;
  • olive oil - 3 tbsp;
  • Brussels sprouts - 350 g;
  • grated Parmesan cheese - one third of a 200g cup;
  • salt - 1 tsp;
  • pepper - to taste;
  • lemon juice - 1 tbsp;
  • chicken broth - 250 ml;
  • red onion - half a head;
  • garlic - 2 cloves;
  • fresh chopped parsley - a small bundle.

Cooking process:

  1. In a frying pan heat butter and olive oil. If there is no olive oil, any vegetable oil will do.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the fillet, remove the foil, dry it on paper towel. Fry in oil until golden brown (5-6 minutes on each side), be sure to salt and pepper it a little.
  3. Transfer to a plate and let the meat cool. Then cut it into small pieces.
  4. Add chopped onion and fry it in butter in a pan. Add red pepper, finely chopped garlic and cabbage cut in half.
  5. Pour the broth over it, put the lid on, turn down the heat to minimum and stew for 5-7 minutes.
  6. To the vegetables we add the chicken filet, lemon juice, Parmesan shavings, salt and pepper. Leave it for a few minutes so that the cheese begins to melt, and then remove from the fire.
  7. In a separate pot boil the pasta according to the recipe on the package. After draining the water, we throw them in a colander and add to our cabbage. Let's mix them.
  8. The ready dish is sprinkled with finely chopped parsley and served to the table. This is a great dinner dish that even the kids will love.

Why Brussels sprouts are bitter

You need to understand that Brussels sprouts are bitter by themselves, like many of their relatives from the cruciferous family (turnips or radishes). But the degree of bitterness may depend on the following factors:

Why Brussels sprouts are bitter

  1. Improper cultivation and subsequent care of the plant, including poor watering.
  2. Too high a concentration of nitrates.
  3. Improper storage or repeated thawing and refreezing of inflorescences.
  4. Occurrence of diseases during transport.
  5. Age of fruit.

Buying Brussels sprouts at the market or supermarket, you need to carefully inspect them. The sprouts should not be yellow, the leaves should be a bright green color. Rotten, strange spots on the surface of the cabbage - this is a reason to refuse to buy it.

You can remove the bitterness from the cabbage by adding half a teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of vinegar per 1 liter of water during cooking. If there is no time to boil the vegetable, you can mask the bitterness when roasting with brighter spices: garlic, oregano, smoked paprika.

Can I Eat Raw Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be eaten raw, for example, adding them to salads, but you should be prepared for the fact that they are bitter. That's why many people prefer to give it at least some processing to make the taste less pronounced. But if you want, you can also not boil it, adding it to a dish in its raw form - it is safe for health (in the absence of appropriate contraindications).

Interesting facts about Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are an amazing product, which has no analogues among other varieties of vegetables. Here are some curious facts that may overturn the traditional view of it:

  1. This type of cabbage peaks from late September to February, so it's an ideal source of vitamins precisely when it's cold.
  2. In the UK, Brussels sprouts are one of the key vegetables on children's menus.
  3. Systematic consumption can prevent the development of certain types of cancer.
  4. Brussels sprouts retain all their nutrients even when frozen and then thawed.

«Important: All information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. for information purposes only. Please consult a health care professional before following any recommendations. specialist before using any of the information on this site. Neither the editors nor the authors shall be liable for any possible harm caused by materials."

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