Brussels sprout is a cruciferous vegetable closely related to the cabbage and a member of the mustard family, Brassicaceae. The sprouts are named for the area in which they were first cultivated sometime around the 15th century, Brussels, Belgium 1. Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, and a good source of manganese. They are also a source of riboflavin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate and potassium 2. Many of these nutrients have antioxidant activities.
Recent attention has been devoted to an additional component of cruciferous vegetables, namely, the glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that can be broken down in the human gastrointestinal tract. Isothiocyanates, including sulforaphane, are the metabolites of glucosinolates that can then be absorbed through the intestine 3. Brussels sprouts have a particularly high glucosinolate content compared to other cruciferous vegetables 4.