Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables (cont.)

Brussels sprouts have the most vitamin E (about 9% of the Daily Value) and vitamin B-1 (15% Daily Value). And it's broccoli and Brussels sprouts again that have the most healthy plant omega-3s: A cup of broccoli contributes about 200 milligrams, and a cup of Brussels sprouts about 260 milligrams.

Here's a comparison table of cruciferous vegetables, including the nutrients for which they contribute at least 10% of the Daily Value. Keep in mind that about half of the fiber in cruciferous vegetables is super-healthy soluble fiber.

Per 1 cup: Broccoli Cauliflower Cabbage B. Sprouts Bok Choy Kale
  (steamed) (frozen, cooked) (raw) (cooked) (cooked) (cooked)
Calories 44 34 22 60 20 36
Fiber 5g 5 2 4 3 3
Vitamin A 33% DV 1% 2% 16% 62% 137%
Vitamin B-2 16% 9% 3% 11% 10% 8%
Vitamin B-6 17% 12% 7% 21% 22% 14%
Vitamin C 165% 75% 38% 129% 59% 71%
Folic Acid 23% 18% 10% 23% 17% 4%
Magnesium 12% 5% 4% 10% 6% 7%
Potassium 14% 7% 6% 14% 18% 8%
Omega-3s 200 mg 140 mg 60 mg 260 mg 100 mg 100 mg

Tips for Enjoying Cruciferous Vegetables

To maximize taste and nutrition, here are some tips for buying and cooking cruciferous vegetables:

  • Don't overcook cruciferous vegetables. They can produce a strong sulfur odor and become unappealing.
  • You can buy several types of cruciferous vegetables ready-to-go in the frozen or fresh packaged sections of your supermarket, including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  • No raw veggie platter is complete without dark green broccoli or snowy white cauliflower florets.
  • Add raw broccoli or cauliflower florets to your green salad to give the nutrients a big boost.
  • Add chopped cruciferous veggies to soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • When buying fresh broccoli, look for firm florets with a purple, dark green, or bluish hue on the top. They're likely to contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than florets with lighter green tops. If it has yellow in it or is limp and bendable, the broccoli is old -- don't buy it.

Cruciferous Vegetable Recipes

Here are two simple side dish recipes featuring cruciferous vegetables.

Brussels Sprouts Sauteed with Pecans and Shallots

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 cup "vegetables with 1 tsp fat"

I kept it light by using just a little canola oil, plus crisp turkey bacon to make the little crumbles that top off this dish. I love that this dish is easy to throw together, but looks elegant on a holiday or celebration table.

8 cups Brussels sprout halves (trim off end of each sprout and cut in half)
4 strips Louis Rich turkey bacon (or similar)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup sliced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted in a nonstick frying pan
2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Micro-steam the Brussels sprouts with a couple tablespoons of water until just barely tender (about 6 minutes, depending on your microwave). Watch carefully so they don't overcook. Drain any excess water.
  • Meanwhile, cook the turkey bacon strips over medium-high heat in a large nonstick frying pan coated with canola cooking spray, flipping them often, until crisp. Let cool on a paper towel, and then break them into small pieces.
  • Add the canola oil to the same pan and heat over a medium-high flame. Add the shallots and saute, stirring frequently, for a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute another minute or two or until the shallots are golden. Stir in the Brussels sprout halves and saute a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, to char part of the sprouts.
  • Sprinkle pecans and brown sugar over the top and stir to blend. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook and stir for another minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle turkey bacon bits over the top.

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