Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous or brassica vegetable family. The term cruciferous means “cross-bearing” since the four petals of their leaves resemble a cross. Popular cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage and kale, but also root vegetables such as turnips and rutabaga.
Cruciferous vegetables are usually what we are talking about when we say “green leafy vegetables,” and they are thought to have anti-cancer properties.
Some people consider cruciferous vegetables to be “functional foods” or “super foods,” because they have benefits beyond basic nutrition. For instance, these vegetables are rich in compounds that have been shown to fight cancer and other diseases.
It is in your best interest to learn to love cruciferous vegetables. I eat them several times a week (preferably daily).
Other members of this vegetable family include:
- collard greens
- bok choy
- mustard greens