Sprouts for Christmas? 5 ways they can benefit your health

Whether you love them or wish they didn’t appear on your Christmas dinner plate, scientific evidence indicates that sprouts boast numerous health benefits. These benefits include preventing cancer, improving cardiovascular health, regulating blood glucose levels and reducing inflammation.

sprouts for Christmas

Granny was right!

How many times were you told to “eat your greens” when you were younger? Well, it turns out Granny was right!

Green vegetables such as sprouts, broccoli, kale, and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables or brassicas. They’re packed with key nutrients and fibre, and they’re also low-cost and versatile. Sprouts can be boiled, sauteed, roasted or baked and then enjoyed as a simple, nutritious side dish or added to stir-fries, frittatas or pasta dishes.

The main health benefits of brassicas are attributed to their organosulphur compounds. These compounds give them their distinctive, pungent smell and flavour profile, which many of us love, but others find a little off-putting!

Let’s explore five interesting health benefits of the beloved Christmas Brussels sprout…

1. They’re nutrient-rich
Resembling mini cabbages, sprouts are low in calories but crammed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamins K, C and folate.

Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and bone health.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps promote iron absorption and tissue repair, and boosts the immune system.

2. They’re high in antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that can help delay or prevent cell damage in our bodies. They’re vital in removing free radicals in the body and the oxidative stress these unstable atoms cause. Oxidative stress may increase our risk of developing cancer, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

Other foods that are rich in antioxidants include:

• Blueberries
• Artichokes
• Beans
• Beetroot
• Spinach
• Aubergines
• Nuts
• Ginger
• Dark chocolate

A good rule of thumb is that the more colourful a food, the more health benefits it’s likely to bring. Think vibrant red cabbage and deep green leafy vegetables.

The good news is there are antioxidants-rich foods to suit various tastes and preferences, making increasing them into our diet much more manageable.

3. They’re great for gut health
Half a cup of cooked sprouts contains approximately 2g of our 30g of recommended dietary fibre intake. Much of the fibre in sprouts is insoluble, meaning it doesn’t dissolve in the stomach; instead, it acts as a prebiotic to feed the ‘good’ bacteria in our digestive system.

Consumed alongside other fruits and vegetables, sprouts are a great way to boost fibre levels to help alleviate constipation, maintain healthy stool consistency, lower cholesterol levels and reduce our risk of heart disease.

4. They help keep blood sugar levels steady
Multiple studies have found a link between increased consumption of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts (and other cruciferous vegetables) and a decreased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. The link is thought to be the effect of the high fibre content on controlling blood glucose levels and preventing spikes in glucose levels.

5. They may reduce inflammation
Inflammation is a typical immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to several severe conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Green vegetables such as sprouts are high in antioxidants, which can help reduce free radicals and inflammation.