Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and contain the same health-promoting plant compounds.
Brussels sprouts also contain kaempferol, an antioxidant that may be particularly effective in preventing damage to cells.
One animal study found that kaempferol protected against free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells and can contribute to chronic disease.
Brussels sprout consumption can help enhance detoxification as well.
One study showed that eating Brussels sprouts led to a 15–30% increase in some of the specific enzymes that control detoxification, which could decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
Additionally, Brussels sprouts are very nutrient-dense. Each serving provides a good amount of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium .
Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of protein, and just 88 grams (g), or 1 cup, of raw Brussels sprouts meets the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) recommended daily requirements for vitamin C and vitamin K.
Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Vegetables in this family provide a wide variety of nutrients and contain few calories. People seeking a high nutrient diet should consider including cruciferous vegetables in their diet.
This Medical News Today feature is part of a series on the health benefits of popular foods. In this article, we look at the possible health benefits of Brussels sprouts, their nutritional content, and how to incorporate more of them into the diet.
Brussels sprouts offer several significant benefits.
Brussels sprouts also offer the following health benefits.
Improving bone health
Consuming Brussels sprouts provides a significant amount of vitamin K-1.
Please note that individuals taking blood-thinners, such as warfarin, should maintain the amount of vitamin K they consume each day due to its important role in blood clotting.
Brussels sprouts contain the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). In a 2019 review, supplementation with this compound demonstrated an ability to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in people with diabetes.
Many green vegetables contain ALA.
The review also suggests that taking ALA supplements may lead to decreases in nerve damage for people who have diabetes.
However, most studies have used intravenous (IV) ALA or high dose supplements. It is unclear whether consuming the substance in smaller doses as part of the diet would provide the same benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, contain sulfur-containing compounds that provide their bitter taste. During consumption and digestion, these compounds break down into other active compounds that may prevent cancer from developing in some organs in animals.
However, studies have been inconclusive on the preventive effects of sulfur-containing compounds on cancer risk in humans. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) conclude that the studies on prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast cancer risk generally found no association between cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer.
Brussels sprouts also contain a high amount of chlorophyll, the green pigment that occurs in plants. A 2018 study on pancreatic cancer cells suggested that chlorophyll may serve as an antioxidant, acting against some of the compounds responsible for the development of pancreatic cancer.
Numerous studies have also shown that compounds found in cruciferous vegetables might have powerful cancer-fighting effects. However, more research is needed to confirm any links between cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer risk.
Brussels sprouts contain plenty of vitamin C.
Skin health and appearance
Including the antioxidant vitamin C as part of the diet can help protect skin cells against sun damage and pollution.
Vitamin C can also combat free radical damage and is necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to support skin strength and elasticity. This can reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
1 cup of raw Brussels sprouts provides:
- 37.8 calories
- 0.264 g of fat
- 7.88 g of carbohydrate
- 2.97 g of protein
1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains:
- 56.2 calories
- 0.78 g of fat
- 11.08 g of carbohydrate
- 3.98 g of protein