Brussels sprouts are said to be native to Brussels, Belgium. They were cultivated in England early in the nineteenth century. Brussels sprouts were not extensively cultivated in this country until the early twentieth century, and were first grown in the delta region of Louisiana.
Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family. The plant produces a number of very small heads along the stem. They are grown for the fresh market, frozen, and canned. Fresh sprouts may be steamed or boiled, using very little water. California and New York produce the greatest number of Brussels sprouts.
Raw Brussels sprouts contain excellent levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6, essential minerals and dietary fiber exist in lesser amounts.
Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss.
Brussels sprouts and other brassicas are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical being studied for how it affects DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells in vitro.
Consuming Brussels sprouts in excess may not be suitable for heart patients taking anticoagulants since they contain vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor. In one such reported incident, doctors determined that the reason for a heart patient’s worsening condition was eating too many Brussels sprouts which countered the intended effects of blood-thinning therapy
Brussels sprouts often produce gas, but some people can eat them without this effect if they are steamed or boiled over low heat. The sulfur in Brussels sprouts is needed for circulation, and they are good in the winter to help keep us warm.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND
Protein: 20.0 g
Fat: 2.3 g
Carbohydrates: 40.8 g
Calcium: 154 mg
Phosphorus: 354 mg
Iron: 5.9 mg
Vitamin A: 1,816 I.U.
Thiamine: 0.36 mg
Riboflavin: 0.73 mg
Niacin: 3.2 mg
Ascorbic acid: 431 mg