7 Proven Benefits and Uses of Manuka Honey

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9 Health Reasons to Add Brussels Sprouts to your Dinner Plate

What are Brussels Sprouts?

A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, with relatives including cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and broccoli, Brussels Sprouts are the marmite of the vegetable world. You either love or hate them – and this is often due to the fact they are often overcooked and unpleasant to eat. Cooked properly, these cute cabbage-like sprouts are truly delicious and packed full of nutrients.

As more of us move to plant-based diets, Brussels Sprouts are experiencing a true rejuvenation in the nutrition world, with chefs adding them to salads or sautéing with honey and balsamic vinegar for delicious rich nutty goodness. In this article, we’ll explore just how good Brussels Sprouts are for you, and why you should introduce them into your diet outside of Christmas!

1 – Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances which can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, which are waste substances produced by cells that attack important molecules within our body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which has been linked to a variety of conditions including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and many more. Tests have shown that Brussels sprouts are absolutely jam-packed with antioxidants – most notably an antioxidant called kaempferol which has the potential to slow cancer cell growth.

2 – May Help Protect Against Cancer

Whilst any claims of cancer prevention through nutrition are widely unproven, initial research has demonstrated some possibility that the nutrient-dense powerhouses within the cruciferous vegetable family can activate a cancer-fighting enzyme system in your body and even trigger pre-cancerous cells to self-destruct. This suggests that adding more of this superfood to your diet could be a powerful anti-cancer strategy, most beneficial against cancers including melanoma, prostate, esophageal, pancreatic, liver, colon and ovarian cancers.

Whilst more research into their benefits is needed, we would always recommend eating a vegetable-rich diet, and the nutrients present in sprouts are too good to be ignored.

3 – High in Fibre

As the old Christmas jokes go, we have all heard about what will happen if you eat too many sprouts! But, in reality, brussels sprouts can be extremely beneficial to your digestive health. Like most cruciferous vegetables and types of cabbage, brussels sprouts contain a high level of dietary fibre. Fibre can help to bulk up the stool and promote healthy digestion by reducing constipation and stimulating peristaltic motion, which helps food move through the digestive tracts more smoothly and prevent intestinal discomfort.

4 – Rich in Vitamin K

Studies have also demonstrated that the wonderful Vitamin K present within Brussels Sprouts can contribute to strong bones and protect you against osteoporosis. Vitamin K helps to seal the calcium into the bones, increasing bone density and reducing the risk of fractures. By sealing the calcium into your bones, it also prevents calcium from hardening in your arteries and causing cardiovascular disease. Most prominently, Vitamin K is known for helping to ensure your body clots properly, allowing wounds to heal quickly and with as little scarring as possible – in addition to reducing bruising after injury.

5 – May Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Containing an anti-oxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, Brussels Sprouts have been researched extensively for potential effects on blood sugar and insulin – a hormone that’s responsible for transporting sugar from your blood to your cells to keep your blood sugar under control. As such, Brussels Sprouts may have a preventative anti-diabetic effect and improve symptoms for diabetics.

6 – Contain ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

One of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, Brussels Sprouts have an amazing 135mg of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in each 78g serving. Whilst this form of omega-3 fatty acids is less effective than fats from fish and other seafood, for vegans, veggies and seafood-haters – it’s an ideal choice. Omega-3 has been linked to a tonne of wonderful health benefits including the slowing of cognitive decline, reduction of insulin resistance and a decrease in inflammation.

7 – May Reduce Inflammation

Suffering from an inflammatory condition like arthritis or gout? Our little mini-cabbage friends can help! Brussels Sprouts contain a substance called glucosinolates which regulate the body’s inflammatory response, helping you to get back on track and manage pain. Within your body, glucosinolates are broken down into metabolites, which have an antibiotic-like effect and help to ward off bacterial, viral and fungal infection in the intestines and other parts of the body.

8 – Boost Immune System

One of the singularly most impressive characteristics of brussels sprouts is their high Vitamin C content – amazingly, a single cup of brussels sprouts contains more than 120% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C! This is critical for the health of your immune system, as vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, reducing oxidative stress from free radicals and lowering your chances of chronic diseases and infections. Vitamin C has also demonstrated immunity super-strengths such as aiding your skin’s defence system, shortening wound healing time and shortening the recovery time from conditions such as pneumonia.

9 – Increase Metabolism & Boost Weight Loss

Becoming increasingly popular with dieters, Brussels Sprouts have a great effect on weight loss by helping you to feel more full, whilst delivering a whole plethora of vitamins and minerals to boost your health. Maintaining a low sodium and fat content, Brussels Sprouts work alongside low-sodium and low-fat diets very easily. Brussels Sprouts also contain a lot of B-family vitamins which help to achieve a health metabolism, enabling your body to easily digest food, use nutrients more effectively and burn calories faster.

The Bottom Line

From reading this article, it’s easy to see that there’s not much that Brussels Sprouts can’t do. Whether you’re suffering from health problems or are seeking preventative or healthier nutrition options, we urge you to reconsider your hatred! Introduce these little wonders into your diet tomorrow. Just remember – don’t overcook them.

The 5 Best Protein Bars After a Hefty Workout

For many years now, supplements such as protein bars have been available to streamline your progress, and for the most part this is true. Companies have created a plethora of tasty, healthy and convenient snacks allowing you to improve whilst leaving you with more of the most precious commodity – time.

Exercise and a healthy diet go in hand-in-hand, whether you’re looking for that summer bod or making small changes to improve quality of life.

For many years now, supplements such as protein bars have been available to streamline your progress, and for the most part this is true. Companies have created a plethora of tasty, healthy and convenient snacks allowing you to improve whilst leaving you with more of the most precious commodity – time.

But who should you trust with your hard earned cash? Which protein bars will push you to greatness, and which are simply expensive sugar canes? We’ve broken down the 5 best protein bars to chomp down on after those hefty workouts.

1 – Grenade Carb Killa Go Nuts

Vegan friendly, gluten free and containing no artificial additives, the Go Nuts bar from Grenade covers all bases. 10g of protein is smaller than we normally see from Grenade, however with only 2g sugar and 178 calories in total, we’re sure your body will thank you for this choice.

2 – PhD Protein Flapjacks Peanut Butter

The PhD Flapjack range is quite simply delicious – especially the peanut butter bar. 19g protein in a 75g flapjack make this offering more specific to those serious about building muscle and cutting down on carb and fat intake. Whilst arguably being a little too moreish and higher in calories than other bars, this vegetarian-friendly bar will fit in well with your nutritional plan.

3 – Maximuscle Promax Lean Cookies and Cream

For those of you with a sweet tooth to satisfy, this bar is for you. Maximuscle Promax Lean bars feel more of a treat than many of its competitors, however this comes at a price for its relatively high e-number count. At 55g per bar with 20g protein, it suits well as a mid-way house for regular trainers looking to minimise sugar intake.

4 – Amfit Nutrition Chocolate Caramel

Amazon’s value offering might surprise you as a sought-after option. The Amfit product range competes well in protein amount (19g), bar size (60g) and sugar content (2g). However many reviewers mention its high fibre content and how it affects them post-workout, so these must be taken with some small caution.

5 – Trek Protein Flapjacks Cocoa Oat

For the most organic and healthy choice, Trek have a truly “free from” protein bar to settle your cravings. A much higher sugar content of 28g per 100g bar may swerve your attention, however for long distance runners and the like this little treat may come in handy.

Before buying any nutritional supplement, you must first choose your goals: Am I looking to bulk? Am I trying to improve endurance? Lose weight? Whatever you decide, your diet and protein bar choice must align with your target. For more help on your fitness plan, take a look at The Fitness Mindset by Brian Keane.