Brussels Sprouts: Cancer-Fighting Food Feature | NFCR


Cancer-Fighting Food Feature: Brussels Sprouts

Cancer fighting foods brussels sprouts

Reach for the greens— good ole brussels sprouts can offer more to your health than you realize!

Gather a group of people and ask their opinion on brussels sprouts – the room will almost certainly be divided 50/50. Some people love brussels sprouts and could eat them for every meal. Others can hardly stand the thought of the squishy mini cabbages. While this could purely boil down to differences in taste, it is far more likely that those who dislike the fiber-packed vegetables have never had them prepared correctly. Gone are the days of bland, tasteless vegetables as brussels sprouts are now prepared to a crisp often paired with cranberries and syrups. However, while chefs have learned a fine thing or two about how to prepare brussels sprouts, researchers have also learned the amazing impact brussels sprouts can have on one’s health.

These fantastically funny-looking vegetables can lower one’s risk of many diseases, from liver disease to cancer. Research shows that a compound in brussels sprouts may help restrict tumor growth by blocking aggressive enzymes known to advance cancer growth. The enzymes weaken the genes that suppress tumors and keep them from spreading. This compound found in brussels sprouts allows tumor suppressors to continue doing their job.

Brussels sprouts also contain a high amount of chlorophyll, the green pigment that occurs in plants. A 2018 study on pancreatic cancer cells suggested that chlorophyll may serve as an antioxidant, acting against some of the compounds responsible for the development of pancreatic cancer. In addition to this new research, there are many older studies proving the positive impact cruciferous vegetables can have on one’s health.

For those still a little burnt from their past experiences with brussels sprouts, try this simple and downright delicious holiday recipe. Brussels sprouts are not only healthy and cancer-fighting, but the perfect companion to any meal throughout the year. Just try for yourself.

Holiday Recipe: Sizzled Sprouts with Pistachios and Pomegranate

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 8 people


3 tablespoons of olive oil
500 grams of brussels sprouts
50 grams of unshelled pistachios
1 pomegranate
pomegranate molasses to drizzle (optional)


  1. Half the brussels sprouts and remove the seeds from the pomegranate (approximately ½ cup)
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. When the oil is heated, add the brussels sprouts to the pan – cut side down – and leave them to fry for approximately 10- 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the brussels sprouts are only lightly browned, continue frying for another 5 minutes until blistered.
  4. Scatter the pistachios over the brussels sprouts in the pan and stir-fry until toasted.
  5. Once pistachios are lightly toasted, remove the pan from the heat and stir through pomegranate seeds.
  6. Season to taste with salt and transfer into a serving dish.
  7. If using pomegranate molasses, drizzle over top. You may choose to use balsamic vinegar in place of the molasses.
  8. Serve alongside a holiday dinner.

Learn more cancer fighting lifestyle tips and easy recipes in the National Foundation for Cancer Research’s blog articles.

Additional Reads You May Enjoy:

10 Ways Your Diet Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Hearty & Healthy Holiday Recipe: Vegetarian Wellington

5 Questions About Nutrition and Cancer with an Oncology Dietitian

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