The brilliant benefits of brassicas

Brussels sprouts are part of the brassica family, a top source of a number of essential micronutrients, boasting high levels of folate, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K.

Have your parents ever told you to finish your broccoli, or that Brussels sprouts are good for you? Well, they weren’t wrong!

Both broccoli and Brussels sprouts are members of the brassica family, also home to cauliflower, kale, cabbage, radish and rocket, to name a few. Brassicas are one of the most nutrient dense veggies we can consume, and luckily they’re a household favourite.

Firstly, brassica veggies are extremely high in dietary fibre. Fibre plays a huge role in our digestive and long term health, however the majority of people in the western world don’t meet their daily fibre requirements. Fibre is important not only for keeping us regular, our good gut bacteria also need fibre to feed on. Diets low in fibre can lead to a poor balance of our gut bacteria, which can lead to digestive issues, constipation and poor nutrient absorption.

Brassicas are also a top source of lots of essential micronutrients, boasting high levels of folate, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. They also deliver a range of phytochemicals, in other words plant chemicals, that have potent antioxidant action.

There’s one particular group of these phytochemicals to note, glucosinolates, as they are only found in the brassica family. This group of phytochemicals are better known as sulphur-containing compounds, which are powerful antioxidants (they’re also the reason behind the distinct sulphur smell that leftover or rotting cauliflower or Brussels sprouts can give off, as well as the peppery spicy taste of radish or rocket). Through the powerful antioxidant action, there is research showing that these beneficial sulphur-containing compounds may have a protective action against cancer and other chronic diseases.

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Meet the Nutritionist

Emma ‘Edamame’

Our in-house nutritionist Emma ‘Edamame’ was born and bred in mid Canterbury and has the health and wellbeing of Kiwis in mind at all times. As an NZ registered nutritionist (NZ Nutrition Society) with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Auckland, she makes sure we’re all getting our fresh dose of local veggies and our meals are full of nutritious substance – thanks for having our back Em (and our waistlines!). When it comes to New Zealand produce, Emma is a whizz, with fresh berries being her absolute fave. Intrigued to know what food this nutritionist couldn’t live without? Fresh fish and seafood, delivering on both flavour and nourishment. As well as ice cream, especially real fruit ice creams, in the summer time! Life’s all about a tasty balance, right?

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