Sprouts - a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it! But that's all about to change, as I show you how to 'spice up your sprouts' this Christmas and enjoy the health benefits of this delicious cruciferous vegetable during the festive season and wintertime.
It's a well-known fact, that Brussel sprouts are often passed across the dinner table without a second helping, and often leftover, whilst everything else has been eaten up. Maybe that's why I have such a soft spot for sprouts. When friends and family visit over the winter months, they are guaranteed to taste my spicy sprout recipe, especially for Christmas - much tastier on boxing day when they've had a day to marinate, in a panini or wrap. Mmmmm, very tasty!
Why are sprouts so important?
Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, the sprouts' cousins include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and bok choy.
Low in calories, at less than 40 per cup, Brussels sprouts are also low-carb, packing just 8 grams per cup raw, including 3 grams as fiber, they are nutrient powerhouses, providing a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a little bonus plant protein.
The energetic properties of this vegetable disperse cold within the body. Its sweet pungent flavor targets the large intestine and stomach. So if you are recovering from the seasonal flu or seeking early intervention, then it's time to befriend the Brussel Sprout! The addition of healing spices, such as turmeric, ginger, ajwain, cumin, and masala provides additional benefits. Cooking in ghee (small chain fatty acids, good for health), optimises the availability of nutrients within the recipe.
Here are 5 impressive health and wellbeing reasons to incorporate Brussel sprouts into your winter wellbeing routine.
1. Rich source of nutrients - Vitamin K
The major nutrients in a half-cup (78 grams) of cooked Brussels sprouts
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Vitamin K: 137% of the RDI
Vitamin C: 81% of the RDI
Vitamin A: 12% of the RDI
Folate: 12% of the RDI
Manganese: 9% of the RDI
low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
A literature review of seven studies concluded that taking vitamin K supplements (vit Vitamin D3) could increase bone strength and decrease the risk of bone fracture in postmenopausal women.
A rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps promote iron absorption and is involved in tissue repair and immune function
2. Rich source of antioxidants
Brussels sprouts have many health benefits, but their impressive antioxidant content stands out, especially high in kaempferol, an antioxidant that has been studied extensively for its many health-promoting properties.
Some studies suggest that the high levels of antioxidants in Brussels sprouts could help protect against certain types of cancer.
Antioxidants in Brussels sprouts may neutralize free radicals.
A report of reduction of oxidative DNA in one study findings supports the results of epidemiologic studies that consumption of cruciferous vegetables may result in a decreased cancer risk.
A 2008 study found that Brussels sprouts could protect against carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents, and prevent oxidative damage to cells.
In another small study, eating Brussels sprouts increased the levels of some detoxification enzymes by 15–30%. The researchers hypothesized that this effect could potentially lead to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, though further research is needed.
3. High in fiber
The fiber in Brussels sprouts (about 4 grams per cooked cup) helps regulate blood sugar levels, supports beneficial gut bacteria linked to positive mood, immunity, and anti-inflammation.
4. May help balance healthy blood sugar levels
Brussels sprouts may also help keep blood sugar levels steady.
This is likely because Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Fiber moves slowly through the body undigested and slows the absorption of sugar into the blood.
Brussels sprouts also contain alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that’s been researched extensively for its potential effects on blood sugar and insulin.
5. Energetic properties of Brussel sprouts support winter wellbeing
According to naturopathic healing principles, Brussel sprouts are in season in winter, perfectly timed by Mother Nature as an aid to disperse colds, and strengthen immunity and bone health. The temperate nature of Brussel Sprouts are warming. The flavor slightly sweet and pungent therefore supporting large intestine and stomach health (organ-emotion-5 flavors)
Brussels sprouts make a healthy addition to any diet and are easy to incorporate into side dishes and entrées.
Gee's Spicy Brussel Sprout recipe
Brussel sprouts (500g) serves 4
Butter ( optional )
Salt or Vegetable stock ( optional )
Herbs and Spices :
Bishops weed (Ajwain ),
To Garnish ( Optional )
Wash and dice sprouts, and potatoes.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of ghee in a heavy stainless steel pan, or cast iron.
Add spices (cumin, whole garam masala, ajwain), once the aroma of the spices are released, add onions and ginger.
Saute until golden. Optional to add green chili at this point.
Add turmeric and stir.
Add vegetables (sprouts and potatoes) and half cup veg stock.
Stir, put lid on pan, turn heat low and leave to cook for 5-10mins. You can also place them in the oven in a dish.
After 10 mins, add fresh tomatoes (optional) and return to heat for further 10 mins.
The dish is ready to be served once the potatoes are cooked and sprouts are tender (not soft).
Garnish with herb of choice, I prefer coriander, cooling in nature with digestive benefits to balance the heat of the spices.
Sending tidings of nourishment and joy to my readers, for Christmas and throughout the festive period!
Working with Gee Gahir, a Pioneer of holistic wellbeing services within the NHS, and Co-founder of Wellbeing Wizards, a podcast platform that provides insights into transforming wellbeing, Gee is an accredited EMCC intuitive lifestyle coach providing preventative naturopathic mind-body-space solutions to facilitate vibrant health and balanced lifestyles.
Connect with Gee to arrange a personalised coaching experience.