Brussels sprouts are a member of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables and closely related to kale, cauliflower, and mustard greens.

These cruciferous vegetables resemble mini cabbages and are typically cut, cleaned, and cooked to make a nutritious side dish or main course.

Brussels sprouts boast high levels of many nutrients and have been linked to several health benefits. This article examines 9 ways Brussels sprouts may benefit your health.

1. High in nutrients

Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Here are some of the major nutrients in 1/2 cup (78 grams) of cooked Brussels sprouts (1):

  • Calories: 28
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 5.5 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin K: 91% of the Daily Value (DV)  
  • Vitamin C: 53% of the DV 
  • Folate: 12% of the DV 

Brussels sprouts are especially rich in vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health (2).

They’re also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps promote iron absorption and is involved in tissue repair and immune function (3).

What’s more, their high fiber content helps support regularity and gut health (4).

In addition to the nutrients above, Brussels sprouts contain small amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium, and phosphorus (1).

Summary: Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in many nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

2. Rich in antioxidants

Brussels sprouts have many health benefits, but their impressive antioxidant content stands out.

Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants, compounds that promote overall health and help prevent damage to cells (5, 6).

Eating Brussels sprouts as part of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help supply the antioxidants your body needs to promote good health.

Summary: Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants. This helps prevent cell damage in your body. 

3. High in fiber

Just 1/2 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 2 grams of fiber (1).

Fiber is important for your health, and including a good amount of it in your diet affords many health benefits.

Studies show that dietary fiber can relieve constipation by increasing stool frequency and softening stool consistency to ease passage (4).

Increased fiber intake has been associated with other health benefits, too, such as a reduced risk of heart disease (7).

Current guidelines suggest consuming 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories eaten each day. For example, a person who needs 2,000 calories a day should eat 28 grams of fiber (8).

Eating Brussels sprouts along with other good sources of fiber — like other vegetables, fruits, and whole grains — can help you meet your fiber needs.

Summary: Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, which can promote regularity, support digestive health, and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

4. Rich in vitamin K

Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin K (1).

This important nutrient plays a vital role in your body.

It is essential for coagulation, the formation of blood clots that stop bleeding (2).

Vitamin K may also play a role in bone growth and could help protect against osteoporosis, a condition characterized by progressive bone loss (2).

Notably, if you are taking blood-thinning medication, it’s important that you maintain a consistent vitamin K intake. For this reason, you may need to be mindful of your intake of foods high in vitamin K, such as Brussels sprouts (2).

But for most people who are not on this type of medication, boosting vitamin K intake may lead to many health benefits.

Summary: Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K, a nutrient important for blood clotting and bone metabolism.

5. May help maintain healthy blood sugar levels

In addition to their impressive nutrient profile and long list of health benefits, Brussels sprouts may help keep blood sugar levels steady.

Multiple studies have linked an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, to a decreased risk of diabetes (9).

This is likely because Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels (10).

Increasing your intake of Brussels sprouts alongside an otherwise healthy diet may help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Summary: The fiber in Brussels sprouts may help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

6. Contain ALA omega-3 fatty acids

For those who don’t eat fish or seafood, eating enough omega-3 fatty acids can be a challenge.

Plant foods contain only alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that your body uses less effectively than the omega-3 fats found in fish and seafood.

This is because your body needs to convert ALA to the more active forms of omega-3 fatty acids, and it can do this in only limited quantities (11).

For this reason, you may need to consume a greater amount of ALA to meet your daily omega-3 needs than you would if you were getting your omega-3 fats from fish or seafood (11).

Including a few servings of Brussels sprouts in your diet each week could help with this.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for heart health and brain function. They also play a role in the health of your immune system, lungs, and blood vessels (11).

Summary: Brussels sprouts are a good source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, which may play a role in the health of your brain, heart, immune system, and other parts of your body.

7. May reduce inflammation

Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease (12).

As mentioned earlier, Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants, which can help neutralize the free radicals that can promote inflammation (5, 6).

A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts may reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of pro-inflammatory diseases.

Summary: Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants and contain compounds that may help decrease inflammation.

8. High in vitamin C

Brussels sprouts provide 48 mg of vitamin C in every cooked 1/2 cup (1).

Vitamin C is important for the growth and repair of tissues in your body. It also acts as an antioxidant, is involved in the production of proteins like collagen, and may even enhance immunity (3).

Vitamin C can also increase your absorption of non-heme iron, a form of iron found in plant foods. Your body cannot absorb this type of iron as easily as the iron found in animal sources.

Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, but Brussels sprouts are one of the best vegetable sources available (1).

Adding even just one or two servings of Brussels sprouts to your diet a few times a week can help you meet your vitamin C needs.

Summary: Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that’s important for immune health, iron absorption, collagen production, and the growth and repair of tissues.

9. Easy to add to your diet

Brussels sprouts make a healthy addition to any diet and are easy to incorporate into side dishes and entrees.

People often enjoy them roasted, boiled, sauteed, or baked.

For a simple side dish, first cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts. Mix the sprouts with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roast them on a baking sheet until they’re crispy.

You can also add Brussels sprouts to pasta dishes, frittatas, or stir-fries for a flavorful and nutritious dinner.

Summary: Brussels sprouts are simple to prepare, and you can enjoy them in a variety of delicious side dishes and main courses.

Tips for buying Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be found in the fresh produce section of most grocery stores year-round. 

When picking Brussels sprouts, try to avoid any that are soft or turning yellow. Instead, choose Brussels sprouts that are firm to touch and bright green. 

You can store them in the fridge for up to 1 week (13).

The bottom line

Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.

They may also come with added health benefits, including decreased inflammation and improved immune system health.

Adding Brussels sprouts to a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has the potential to make a major positive impact on your health.