Brussels Sprout is a good source of vitamins, fibers and phyto-chemicals. Many
researches have been done on its effect on cancer.

Brussels Sprouts were named after the capital of Belgium where it is thought that they
were first cultivated. They are also one of the few vegetables to have originated in
northern Europe. They were first introduced to France and England in the nineteenth
century where they continue to be a popular food. French settlers who settled in
Louisiana introduced them to America. Today, most Brussels sprouts are grown in
California. They are available all year round, but their peak-growing season is in autumn
through early spring.

Brussels sprouts look like miniature heads of cabbage. They are similar to cabbage in
taste, but they are slightly milder in flavor and denser in texture. Brussels sprouts and
cabbage are members of the cruciferous vegetable family. These vegetables contain
significant amounts of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A), and
nitrogen compounds called indoles which may reduce the risk of certain cancers. They
are also a good source of vegetable protein, because 31% of the calories come from

How To Select
Choose firm compact sprouts that are bright green in color. Fresh Brussels sprouts
should be displayed chilled. If they are kept at room temperature, their leaves will turn
yellow quickly. Yellow or wilted leaves are signs of age or mishandling. Old sprouts also
have a strong, cabbage-like odor. It is best to choose sprouts individually from bulk
displays rather than pint or quart tubs. Choose small, firm, compact sprouts with
unblemished leaves. Select sprouts that are similar in size. This will allow them to cook
more evenly. Avoid sprouts that are puffy or soft.

Do not wash or trim sprouts before storing them, but yellow or wilted outer leaves may be
remove. If you have purchased sprouts that have been packaged in a cellophane-
covered container, take off wrapping, examine them, remove any that are in bad
condition, return them to container, re-cover with cellophane, and refrigerate. If the
sprouts are not fresh, return them to the store. Place loose sprouts in perforated plastic
bag. Fresh sprouts will keep for 3–5 days.

Health Benefits of Brussels Sprout - cancer prevention

Epidemiologic studies suggest that high dietary intake of Brassica vegetables, such as
broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, protects against tumorigenesis in multiple
organs. [2]

French researchers used the Folin-Ciocalteu method and determined that artichokes,
parsley, and brussels sprouts have the highest polyphenol concentration among the
vegetable that they tested. [>250 mg of gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/100 g fresh edible
portion] [1]

3,3'-Diindolylmethane - an anti-cancer chemical.
3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM), a natural autolytic product in plants of the Brassica genus,
including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, exhibits promising cancer
protective activities, especially against mammary neoplasia in animal models.
Researchers observed that 3,3'-Diindolylmethane induced a G(1) cell-cycle arrest and
strong induction of cell-cycle inhibitor p21 expression and promoter activity in both
estrogen-responsive and -independent breast cancer cell lines. Researchers further
showed that DIM up-regulates the expression of interferon gamma (IFNgamma) in human
MCF-7 breast cancer cells. This novel effect may contribute to the anticancer effects of
DIM because IFNgamma plays an important role in preventing the development of
primary and transplanted tumors. [3]

French researchers studied the role of cruciferous vegetables in lung cancer after
stratifying by GSTM1 and GSTT1 status, two genes implicated in the elimination of
isothiocyanates, the likely chemopreventative compound. In 2141 cases and 2168
controls, weekly consumption of cruciferous vegetables protected against lung cancer in
those who were GSTM1 null (odds ratio=0.67), GSTT1 null (0.63), or both (0.28). No
protective effect was seen in people who were both GSTM1 and GSTT1 positive (0.88).
Similar protective results were noted for consumption of cabbage and a combination of
broccoli and brussels sprouts. These data provide strong evidence for a substantial
benefit of protective effect of cruciferous vegetable consumption on lung cancer. [4]

ulforaphane - an anti-cancer chemical.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain
sulforaphane-an isothiocyanate. Preclinical animal models have shown that sulforaphane
and other isothiocyanates may have benefits of prostate cancer risk lowering.
Researchers from University of Minnesota, Austin showed that sulforaphane exposure for
24 h or longer significantly decreased the number of viable DU145 human prostate
cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner with an IC50 of asymptotically equal to 10
microM. The decreased cell number was associated with G2/M phase arrest and
apoptotic cell death. [5]

Indole-3-carbinol - anti-cancer chemical.
Cruciferae, particularly the genus Brassica (cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, and daikon) produce Indole-3-carbinol. [6]

Under acidic conditions, Indole-3-carbinol is converted to a series of oligomeric products
(among which 3,3'-diindolylmethane is a major component) thought to be responsible for
its biological effects in vivo. In vitro, Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to suppress the
proliferation of various tumor cells including breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial
cancer, colon cancer, and leukemic cells; induce G1/S arrest of the cell cycle, and induce
apoptosis. [6]

In vivo, researchers also found Indole-3-carbinol to be a potent chemopreventive agent
for hormonal-dependent cancers such as breast and cervical cancer. These benefits are
mediated through its ability to induce apoptosis, inhibit DNA-carcinogen adduct
formation, and suppress free-radical production, stimulate 2-hydroxylation of estradiol,
inhibit invasion and angiogenesis. [6]

Indole-3-carbinol may also protect liver.
Numerous studies have indicated that Indole-3-carbinol has a strong hepatoprotective
activity against various carcinogens. Initial clinical trials in women have shown that Indole-
3-carbinol is a promising agent against breast and cervical cancers. [6]

Drug Interaction
Brassica can alter P450 activities, influence the metabolism of some drugs.

Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
Being a good source of vitamins, fibers and various phyto-nutrients, Brussels sprouts
should benefit many other health conditions. Unfortunately, researchers focus on its
potent effects on cancers.


Reference: [1] Brat P, et al, Daily polyphenol intake in france from fruit and vegetables. J Nutr. 2006 Sep;
136(9):2368-73. [2] Gong Y, et al, 3,3'-Diindolylmethane is a novel mitochondrial H(+)-ATP synthase
inhibitor that can induce p21(Cip1/Waf1) expression by induction of oxidative stress in human breast cancer
cells. Cancer Res. 2006 May 1;66(9):4880-7. [3] Riby JE, et al, Activation and potentiation of interferon-
gamma signaling by 3,3'-diindolylmethane in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Mol Pharmacol. 2006 Feb;69(2):
430-9. Epub 2005 Nov 2. [4] Brennan P, et al, Effect of cruciferous vegetables on lung cancer in patients
stratified by genetic status: a mendelian randomisation approach.  Lancet. 2005 Oct 29-Nov 4;366(9496):
1558-60. [6] Cho SD, et al, Involvement of c-Jun N-terminal kinase in G2/M arrest and caspase-mediated
apoptosis induced by sulforaphane in DU145 prostate cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2005;52(2):213-24. [6]
Aggarwal BB, et al, Molecular targets and anticancer potential of indole-3-carbinol and its derivatives. Cell
Cycle. 2005 Sep;4(9):1201-15. Epub 2005 Sep 6. [7] Petersen KU. Review article: omeprazole and the
cytochrome P450 system. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1995 Feb;9(1):1-9.
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