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Eat Your Brussel Sprouts

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Zac- Nov. 22Eat Your Brussel Sprouts
By Zac Woodruff, RN BS

The other day, I was talking with a patient about how to order their food using our recently unveiled room service option. He thought it was great that he was able to order his own food, on his own schedule.

We got to talking about different foods we liked and he shared with me his love of vegetables. He had a large garden at his home which he took great pride in, and he told me that even when he was a young kid he loved growing and eating his own vegetables.

Now me personally, I hated vegetables most of my life. I, like many children around the world, would happily pass on any vegetable my mom put on my plate. I was especially turned off by the mere thought of brussel sprouts. Ewww! Gross!

But as I’ve grown older, things have started to change. Over the last few years, I’ve grown to truly enjoy a wide variety of vegetables and brussel sprouts have become one of my favorites.

First of all, they look cool. I mean, just look at the picture…. Awesome.

Secondly, when you cook them the right way, they are delicious. A little olive oil, salt, and pepper. 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Boom! Dinner is served!

The thing is, brussel sprouts seem to be one of those vegetables that has the “everybody hates them” wrap, but if people knew all of the amazing health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable, they might be willing to reconsider.

WebMD (2015) reminds us that these leafy gems are packed with nutrition and terrific flavor when prepared properly. A member of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts have a mere 28 calories in a half cup, but more than 130% of your daily value of vitamin K, a key nutrient for bone health and blood clotting.

They are also high in vitamin C. The benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

Brussel sprouts also have glucosinolates, plant chemicals that may lower your risk of certain cancers. In fact, countless research from around the world indicates that adequate intake of cruciferous vegetables lowers your risk of developing prostate, colorectal, breast, and lung cancer.

And if you need to add some fiber to your diet, brussel sprouts are good for that too. A one cup serving of brussel sprouts accounts for 13-20% of your daily fiber intake. A high fiber diet helps keep you regular and protect your gastrointestinal tract health.

And finally, brussel sprouts provide a surprisingly high amount of protein compared to most vegetables. The protein in brussel sprouts accounts for more than a quarter of their calories. Although the protein is incomplete — it doesn’t provide the full spectrum of essential amino acids — it can be made complete with whole grains. This means you can skip a higher-calorie source of protein, like high-fat meat, and occasionally rely on a meal of Brussels sprouts and grains.

It surprises me that I decided to write a blog about brussel sprouts this week, but why not? We all can benefit from making healthier decisions in our lives, and one thing you can do with tonight’s meal is decide to put some brussel sprouts on the plate.