Written by Priyanka Lulla
It all began with a thanksgiving and Christmas ritual, featuring micro-mini cabbages that are cut delicately, cleaned and cooked to make a nutritious side dish or main course. But given their superfood value, nutrient density and fat-lowering qualities, they have been co-opted all across the globe. Which is why now this Belgian vegetable is grown in India, mostly in the Himalayas and Nilgiris and has become a popular winter-time indulgence.
Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, kale and broccoli. They resemble mini cabbages and are rich in many nutrients that have been linked to several health benefits. Most importantly, they boost body metabolism to enhance your fat and calorie-burn capacities, helping you lose weight. Their rich fibre load builds satiety and delays hunger pangs.
A superfood for all ages
• They are low in calories but nutritionally dense, high in fibre and vitamins (such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Vitamin B6 and folate) and enriched with minerals (such as potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus).
• Due to their high fibre content, they can help in relieving constipation as they add bulk to the food.
• They regulate serum cholesterol levels and hence decrease the risk of developing coronary heart disease
• The high fibre content makes this vegetable low glycaemic and ideal for people with diabetes as it helps in maintaining blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
• They promote satiety and thereby weight maintenance
• The vegetable’s vitamin K content may help protect against osteoporosis by boosting bone metabolism. Vitamin K is also important for blood clotting.
• It’s high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant, which is important for immunity-building, iron absorption, collagen production, growth and repair of tissues, prevention of cell damage and reducing inflammation.
• Brussels sprouts make a healthy addition to any diet and are easy to be incorporated as side dishes and entrees. People often enjoy them roasted, boiled, sautéed, or baked. You can also add Brussels sprouts to pasta dishes, frittatas, or stir-fries for a flavorful and nutritious dinner.
Home-grown alternatives to Brussels sprouts
Indian alternatives to Brussel sprouts are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, turnip and radish. And contrary to what many think, can be suitable substitutes.
• Cabbage – Both cabbage and Brussels sprouts are high in Vitamin C and dietary fibre. Cabbage contains more alpha-carotene than Brussels sprouts. One can make regular vegetable dishes or add them to coleslaw for a more flavourful version.
• Cauliflower – Rich in vitamin C, this has a similar flavour and texture when added to meals. It can be made into sabzis, sauce bases or as a vegan steak.
• Radish – Both are high in Vitamin C and potassium. However, radish has 63 per cent less calories than Brussels sprouts. One can make it as a sabzi or as a pickled side dish.
• Turnips – Both roots and leaves are rich in Vitamin C. Turnip greens are rich in fat-soluble vitamins K and A. They can be added in boiled form to mashed potato or made into cakes and baked chips.
• Collard greens – Both Brussels sprouts and collard greens are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, dietary fibre and potassium. Collard greens contain more folate and are an excellent source of Vitamin A. Slice them to use as a pizza topping, chop and add to scrambled eggs, salads and stews.
• Broccoli – Like Brussel sprouts, broccoli is also packed with nutrients. It contains high levels of vitamin C, fibre and folic acid. Both are similar in terms of taste and texture as well. They can be added to stir-fried dishes or soups.
Best way to have Brussels sprouts
• Drizzling the roasted sprouts with olive oil, black pepper, and garlic.
• Slicing them thin and mixing them in their raw form with salad greens.
• Adding walnuts and dried berries to roasted sprouts for a festive side dish.
• Pan-frying sliced Brussels sprouts for a crispier texture.
In facts and figures
A cup of raw Brussels sprouts provides:
0.264 g of fat
7.88 g of carbohydrate
2.97 g of protein