Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap especially with kids! but these little crucifers, if well-prepared, are a tasty way to improve your overall health and help fight off a number of illnesses, not the least of which is cancer. These amazing properties stem from the fact that Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in Vitamins B, C, and K, minerals like manganese and potassium, fiber and a load of phytochemicals that make it a true superfood.
Fighting Cancer with Sulfur
Like other vegetables in the cruciferous family, Brussel sprouts are rich in a sulfur-containing compound called glucosinolates. When the sprouts are eaten, the body turns these compounds into isothiocyanates, which have been proven to have strong cancer-fighting properties. One of these compounds, called Indole-3 carbinol, have shown to be able to halt the reproductive cycle in breast cancer cells without harming normal cells in the process. These same compounds, in other studies have also proven effective with treating cancer of the colon and ovaries. And while all members of the cruciferous family are known to have anti-carcinogenic properties, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale, Brussel sprouts apparently have the highest levels of glucosinolates.
Another reason that consuming Brussels sprouts is good for both preventing cancer and for overall health is because it is an excellent detoxifier. This is – again – because of its sulfur content, but also because of the strong antioxidant properties of many of its phytochemicals (it is rich in flavonoids) as well as it high Vitamin C and manganese content. Researchers have found that enzymes in our body that are required for the detoxification process need sulfur in order to function properly and the sprouts provide this in spades. It has also been shown that substances in Brussel sprouts also helped to protect the DNA against changes triggered by exposure to environmental toxins.
The Indole-3 carbinol, apart from having anti-cancer properties, also help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and operates right down to the genetic level. It helps to prevent inflammation in its early stages and can thus also decrease the chances of inflammatory diseases like arthritis developing. One of its isothiocyanates has also been shown to be particularly useful in reducing inflammation around the heart, thus decreases chances of developing cardiac disease, which remains the number one killer in the United States and is a major health problem in developed and developing countries alike.
So the next time you go shopping, throw a bag of Brussels sprouts into your cart. They are actually quite delicious and can be tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese or roasted and quartered. Whatever way to choose to prepare them, you will certainly be giving your body a wealth of cancer-fighting nutrients.