Eat your brussels sprouts

Once maligned, the often-overlooked veggie packs a serious superfood punch.

Many of us have had a volatile relationship with these green powerhouses that resemble tiny heads of cabbage. (Raise your hand if the nutrient dynamos were right up there with lima beans on the list of foods you sometimes fed to the dog under the table.) Fortunately, Brussels sprouts are finally becoming the most popular kids in class — popping up on upscale restaurant menus and gracing the pages of bestselling cookbooks.

In season now, Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, a known antioxidant and disease fighter. In fact, a cup contains about as much vitamin C as one orange, which is more than your RDA requirement. Another benefit of Brussels sprouts is their cancer-fighting chemicals known as glucosinolates. Enzymes in our cells use these glucosinolates to fight free radicals that wreak havoc on our bodies. These chemicals also help protect your stomach’s mucosal lining against unwanted intruders, such as the bacteria that causes ulcers.

And if being an excellent source of vitamin A, C, K, folate and a slew of minerals wasn't enough, Brussels sprouts are a great way to get in some dietary fiber. Which means that these little nuggets can also help keep you fuller longer and help keep digestion on track.

So let go of those childhood notions, stop wincing and give them a second chance. If you’re still not convinced, then let your taste buds decide with this wintry side-dish of delicious caramelized sprouts with pistachios and orange zest.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pistachios
(Serves 4)

2 c. trimmed and halved Brussels Sprouts
½ c. pistachios
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
½ tsp. zested orange peel
Lemon (to taste)

Heat oven to 400°. Spread Brussels sprouts (cut-side down), pistachios, oil, orange peel and garlic on a large baking sheet. Roast until golden and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Finish with fresh squeezed lemon on top.

Nationally recognized nutrition expert and author Keri Glassman (@KeriGlassman) is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City.