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Eating Well With Whole Foods: Brussels Sprouts

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

While their exact origins are unknown, brussels sprouts are believed to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near its capital, Brussels, after which they are named. They spread across Europe during World War 1 and are primarily now cultivated there and in the United States. The U.S. produces about 32,000 tons of brussels sprouts annually with the majority grown in California. Available year round, these nutritious greens are at their best from autumn to early spring when they are at the peak of their growing season. Resembling little mini versions of their relative cabbage, brussels sprouts are a member of the Brassica family and grow in bunches of 20 to 40 on the stem of a plant that grows up to three feet tall!

Diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower, are associated with lower incidence of certain cancers, including lung, colon, breast, bladder and ovarian cancer. Brussels sprouts’ cancer-protective power may be due in part to its sulfur-containing phytonutrient, sulfora-phane, which helps to enhance the body’s detoxification enzymes and rid our bodies of harmful compounds. Brussels sprouts contain excellent amounts of vitamin A, C, K, B6, B1, manganese, potassium folic acid, and dietary fiber. A cup of brussels sprouts is a terrific birth defect fighter because it supplies nearly 94 mg of folic acid, a vitamin-B essential for proper cellular division. Additionally, just a cup a day helps promote healthy supple, and glowing skin due to its high levels of Vitamin A & C.

When shopping for brussels sprouts, opt for those that are firm, compact and vibrant green. Avoid ones with wilted, yellow or perforated leaves. Store brussels sprouts unwashed in the refrigerator crisper. They will keep for about ten days or up to a year in the freezer if blanched first for about three to five minutes. Be sure to remove stems and any discolored leaves before washing. Soak well in a bowl to remove any insects from the leaves. Cut a cross in the stem when steaming in order to penetrate the heat to the center of the sprout.

Stir-fried, roasted, or steamed are some great ways to enjoy this succulent vegetable. A simple seasoning of salt, pepper, organic butter or olive oil, and balsamic vinegar creates a healthy snack. Avoid over cooking to prevent an unpleasant aroma. Cooking it correctly brings out its ideal nutty aroma and flavor. Brussels sprouts are delicious cooked and eaten cold as is or combined hot with peppers, red onions, and goat cheese. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an exceptionally healthy, delicious side dish or anytime treat.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1.5 pounds brussels sprouts

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place trimmed brussels sprouts, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Pour onto a baking sheet, and roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Shake pan every 5 to 6 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat, if necessary, to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts will turn dark brown, nearly black when finished. Serve immediately.

Suzann Pileggi is a certified holistic health counselor. She works with clients on nourishing their body and soul by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. She conducts special sugar seminars at Radu’s Physical Culture gym in NYC. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com , email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com  or call her at (212) 799-4169 for a FREE initial holistic health consultation. Phone consultations and group seminars available.

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