This is such an easy breaky, brunch or side dish. I love Brussels sprouts anyway you can throw them at me, especially with lime and pancetta, or with Japanese flavours like I had for breakfast this morning after Bikram yoga – which I have returned to over winter to clear the cobwebs from a bygone era and set some new wellness goals.
OK back to Brussels. They belong to the brassicacasae, or cruciferous vegetable family, as they were formerly known. This was due to their crucifix like appearance. Other members of this clan include the pungent vegetables cabbage, kale, turnip, broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens.
Most of these vegetables I disliked as a child because of the strong odour of sulphur when overcooked. This stench always reminds me of April Fools Day at boarding school when a few larrikins (who shall remain nameless) would leak sulphur hyroxide (rotten egg gas) from the chemistry lab, permeating throughout every quadrangle and dining hall. Hilarious in hindsight!
Research indicates that these vegetables have the most significant cancer and degenerative disease preventative properties. Brassica vegetables contain dithiolthiones, which have antioxidant cancer reducing properties. In addition, they also contain indoles, which reduce the propensity to breast and colon cancer. They also contain antibiotic and anti- viral mineral, sulphur – hence the smell.
Indoles are plant auxins – hormones that encourage the growth of plants – that deactivate the estrogen hormone linked to breast cancer. The auxin, indole-3-carbinol, counteracts potential carcinogens including heterocylic aromatic amines (HAAs) within the colon. Not only does sulphur have antibiotic and antiviral properties, it also inhibits degenerative diseases such as arthritis by decreasing inflammation within the affected areas.
These pungent, sulphur containing vegetables resemble minature cabbages and date back to the 13th century. They allegedly originated in Brussels, however conflicting stories exist to say that they may have been developed in Belgium and the Netherlands. Whatever, Brussels sprouts are packed full of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, C, B9 (folic acid), magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. They also contain an abundance of protein.
So there you have it!