Reduce cancer risk with nutritious Brussels sprouts (recipes included)
11/10/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Reduce cancer risk with nutritious Brussels sprouts (recipes included)

It can be difficult to get kids (and picky adults) to eat their vegetables, especially if it’s Brussels sprouts. But getting your family to like this superfood is a great way to keep everyone healthy. Studies also suggest that incorporating Brussels sprouts into your regular diet can help lower your cancer risk.

Brussels sprouts, an anticancer superfood

Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages and they can taste a little bitter if you don’t cook them right. However, this superfood is chock-full of vitamins and other nutrients so it’s worth learning how to cook it properly.

A one-cup serving of Brussels sprouts can help you meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) for most of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin K1 – Over 200 percent
  • Vitamin C– Almost 150 percent
  • Folate – 23 percent
  • Manganese – 18 percent
  • Vitamin B6 – 16 percent
  • Fiber – 16 percent
  • Choline – 15 percent

The vitamin K in Brussels sprouts is needed for blood clotting and bone health. Brussels sprouts are also rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is needed for iron absorption and plays a role in tissue repair and immune function.

Brussels sprouts are a great source of dietary fiber that helps support bowel regularity and gut health. The superfood also contains trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine and vitamin B6.

As a cruciferous vegetable, Brussel sprouts belong to the same family as broccoli. Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables can help lower cancer risk and that sulforaphane, a bitter compound found exclusively in crucifers, makes them effective at fighting cancer.

Findings from a 2011 study revealed that sulforaphane can reduce cancer activity by inhibiting the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC) that promotes cancer cell growth. Consuming sulforaphane-rich Brussels sprouts can help suppress HDAC enzymes and lower your cancer risk as you age.

According to research, Brussels sprouts offer the most benefits against the following cancer types:

  • Colon
  • Esophageal
  • Liver
  • Ovarian
  • Melanoma
  • Pancreatic
  • Prostate

Brussel sprouts are also rich in chlorophyll, a compound that may help reduce the carcinogenic effects caused by cooking food at high temperatures or charring meat when cooking.

According to a 2001 study on chlorophyll, following a balanced diet and eating foods rich in chlorophylls can help prevent “the development of hepatocellular carcinoma or other environmentally induced cancers.”

How to incorporate Brussels sprouts into your regular diet

Brussels sprouts have a texture similar to cabbage and are easy to store. You can buy Brussels sprouts at most grocery stores year-round.

Here are three simple ways to cook with Brussels sprouts:

Steam Brussels sprouts

Steam Brussels sprouts and give it a flavor boost by adding organic butter, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Steamed sprouts are a little plain but this is the best way to maximize the nutrient content of the superfood.

Roast Brussels sprouts

Cut Brussels sprouts in half with a knife. Toss the sprouts in olive oil with some minced garlic, sea salt and pepper. Roast the sprouts in the oven at 350 F for 15 to 30 minutes or until the edges start to brown.

Add Brussels sprouts to stew

The next time you’re making stew, add shredded Brussels sprouts. The veggie will take on the flavor of the broth and add a great beautiful burst of color to the stew.

You can also try the recipes below to make a tasty Brussels sprouts salad or stew.

Shaved Brussels sprout salad

This recipe uses shaved Brussels sprouts. Try making some to get your kids to try eating more veggies.

Let the salad chill in the fridge to make the sprouts more tender.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey


  1. Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and minced garlic. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until well blended.
  2. Place the Brussels sprouts, onion and cherries in a large bowl and toss with the salad dressing.
  3. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least one hour. Stir in the pecans before serving.

Tasty Brussels sprout stew

This recipe for stew pairs Brussels sprouts with creamy coconut milk and cashew nuts to make a hearty, comforting vegan stew.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts (if you can’t buy smaller sprouts, cut large ones in half)
  • 14 ounce coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed with a knife (or use a mortar and pestle until the garlic is almost a paste)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (you can also use curry powder or sambar powder)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (about 12 leaves, optional)


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a wide saucepan then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds sputter, add the cilantro, curry leaves and garlic. Saute for one minute.
  2. Add the onions and saute for another minute until they begin to turn translucent. Next, add the tomatoes and the garam masala, cayenne and turmeric. Saute and stir frequently until the tomatoes release most of their liquid and become pulpy.
  3. Add the cashews, Brussels sprouts and a bit of salt to taste. Cover the saucepan for five to eight minutes or until the Brussels sprouts get tender. Stir occasionally so the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If the mixture get stuck, add a tablespoon or more of water to the pan.
  4. Add half of the coconut milk and let the sauce come to a simmer. To check if the Brussels sprouts are tender, use a fork to pierce one in the center. Add the remaining coconut milk and let it warm through without letting the stew boil.
  5. Taste the stew and add more salt if needed.
  6. Serve the Brussels sprout stew hot with rice or some bread. Squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice over the stew while serving.

Reduce your overall cancer risk by eating nutritious foods like Brussels sprouts.


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