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Food of the month - Brussels Sprouts

November 2015

Brussels sprouts, what a lot of nutrition in a small green ball!

Not many people will be getting excited about the fact that brussels sprouts are now coming into season. If anyone rushes into your room shouting "taste this, taste this, a perfectly formed sprout just off the stalk" do let us know!

Because the trouble with brussels sprouts is that they are simply not a sexy food. Like cabbage (and they are a member of the same Brassica family) they don't look particularly gorgeous; their shape is very ordinary, and if overcooked they can taste very bland indeed.

But today you can find some amazing recipes that turn brussels sprouts into a fabulous tasty treat - and even more importantly, sprouts are incredibly good for us.

Despite their mundane appearance, those little leaves are packed full of rich sources of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The more you learn about brussels sprouts, the more there is to love!

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Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

For a start, and surprisingly, 100 grams of brussels sprouts, for instance, contains 3.4g of protein.

They are also an excellent source of vitamin C - 100 grams provide around 85mg. Add this to the levels of vitamin A and E also found in this vegetable, and you will achieve useful help in protecting the body against harmful free radicals. Its vitamin A content is also useful in maintaining healthy skin and eyes and offers help in protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.

Sprouts also contain many good B0complex vitamins such as niacin, Vitamin b-6, thiamine and pantothenic acid, essentials for good metabolism. Vitamin K in a diet can help limit neuronal damage in the brain and therefore help protect against the onset of Alxheimer's disease and yes, brussel sprouts contain a good level of this essential vitamin.

Many people in our age groups will know that age-related macular degeneration can be a serious problem, so it is good to know that brussels sprouts also contain zea=xanthin, an important carotenoid that is selectively absorbed into part of the eye to help prevent retinal damage.

And if this isn't enough for a small green ball of thin leaves, Brussels sprouts also contain iron, magnesium, some calcium, phosphorus and even potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium.

Brussels sprouts are excellent for people who need to watch their weight because while they contain useful levels of fibre, they have zero cholesterol.

But the key with these precious vegetables is in storing and cooking to maintain their nutritional content. They keep well inside the refrigerator for a day or so and it can be a good idea to soak them for a few minutes in salted water to remove any dirt particles and insect's eggs that might be hiding in the leaves.

Do not overcook sprouts, they quickly go soft and soggy and also give off a smell of sulfer that doesn't enhance a meal! Sprouts generally only need blanching in boiling water for around 5 minutes, or steam them for the same time.

And if you are wondering why they are called brussels sprouts, they are named after the fact that they were cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century when they became popular and came to the UK. So that is why the official name is Brussels sprouts, although many of us still refer to them as brussel sprouts as it is easier to say and variations of the official name have really become generic.


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