Brussel Sprouts at ChristmasBrussels sprouts and Christmas – you know you can’t escape those little leafy green things all the way through to New Year don’t you?

Fear not – you’ll be doing yourself a real favour by eating as many brussels as possible. They are now in season so should be fresh and packed full of nutritional goodness ready for your plate. Here’s a quick run down of some of their main benefits:-

  • Can help to lower cholesterol providing they are steamed (or even eat raw) due to more fibre being retained when cooked in this way
  • As a member of the cruciferous vegetables family (that also includes cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and varieties of greens), brussel sprouts are rich in glucosinolates which are known for their cancer fighting properties
  • Recent studies have shown they can improve thyroid function. The thyroid gland is responsible for releasing hormones into the blood that are needed as energy for many important functions such as regulating metabolism, growth and a safer pregnancy
  • Packed full of Vitamin K (improves blood clotting, bone health, is an antioxidant and helps fight several ailments and other diseases) and Vitamin C (excellent immune system booster, improves brain health,  collagen formation and plays a role in numerous other bodily systems)
  • Their sulphur content helps the body detox naturally
  • Anti-inflammatory properties from their glucosinolate, Vitamin K and omega-3 content

Selection and Storage
Fresh brussels should be firm to touch and fairly bright green in colour. Avoid if they have any wilted or yellowish leaves along with several cuts or tears.

You can store them in a plastic bag within the vegetable compartment of your fridge where they should safely last around 10 days.  Freezing is OK – ideally steam for around 5 minutes beforehand.

Cooking
Do not overcook brussels sprouts as doing so will rapidly deplete their beneficial nutrients. For best results – select those that are fairly equal in size and cut them into quarters to help ensure they are evenly cooked and steam for around 5 minutes. All cruciferous vegetables begin to emit an unpleasant sulphur odour once they have been cooked for too long.

Look to include cruciferous vegetables at least two to three times a week to get just the right amount of their health boosting nutrients.