Doctor shares Brussels sprouts could protect against cancer

Whether you love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts could offer more than their characteristic bitter taste. A doctor has revealed the small festive foods also seem to hold anti-cancer effects.

Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, told Express.co.uk: “Around 25 percent of annual sprout sales are in the two weeks before Christmas. But in fact, Brussels sprouts have so many health-giving properties, we would be wise to be eating them all year round.”

Rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, antioxidants and fibre, the green vegetables are highly nutritious. They also pack a punch of glucosinolates that not only give Brussels sprouts their bitter taste but are also believed to have anti-cancer properties.

Dr Lee said: Research suggests that cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli may reduce your overall cancer risk, in particular cancer of the colon (bowel) and prostate.”

While a study, published in the journal Carcinogenesis, doesn’t look directly at Brussel sprouts and cancer, the research found something that made the scientists hypothesise why the green vegetables could reduce your risk of the deadly condition.

Looking at ten healthy non-smoking volunteers, the researchers set out to study the effects of the consumption of Brussels sprouts on certain enzymes.

The participants were randomly assigned to two groups – one that didn’t eat Brussels sprouts and the other that consumed 300 grams of the vegetables per day.

After seven days, the regimen was changed for a further week.

At the end of both periods, blood samples and biopsies were taken to delve into the results.

The findings revealed that Brussels sprouts increased levels of enzymes that may partly explain the association between a high intake of cruciferous vegetables and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

Another study, published in Cancer Letters, even stated that lifestyle changes, such as increasing cruciferous vegetable intake, could eliminate one-third of all cancers.

What’s more, Dr Lee shared that Brussels sprouts may not only reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

She suggested that the festive favourites may be protective against the following cancers – breast, liver, bladder, leukaemia, pancreas and melanoma.

To reap the potent benefits, the doctor recommended eating one 80-gram portion of Brussels sprouts, which will equal one serving of your five a day.

She said: “Eating too many sprouts can lead to ingestion, bloating and wind. This can be especially problematic for those with a sensitive digestive system, for example with irritable bowel syndrome.”

The good news is that you don’t need to opt for fresh sprouts as frozen ones are just as nutritious.

Dr Lee added: “Enjoy your Brussels sprouts this Christmas – but don’t stop in the New Year. Brussels sprouts can be eaten all year round.”

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