Brussels sprouts are a good source of folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Brussels sprouts contain numerous substances with suspected or demonstrated cancer fighting properties, including allyl isothiocyanate, indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), and sulforaphane, as well as beta-carotene, choline, lutein, and soluble fiber. Brussels sprouts have been shown to suppress inflammation and to reduce the risk of occurrence of multiple myeloma, as well as gallbladder, prostate, lung, ovarian, cervical and colorectal cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts have been found to be promote apoptosis, suppress cell cycle progression and inhibit angiogenesis of human breast cancer cells. Futhermore, brussels sprouts can protect against cell DNA damage. Consumption of brassica vegetables has been shown to reduce the estrogen metabolite 16alpha-hydroxyestrone, which is a breast cancer promoter, and to be marginally inversely associated with breast cancer risk in a population of premenopausal women. Brussels sprouts components I3C and sulforaphane have both been shown increase the anti-cancer effects of the chemotherapy drug Taxol (paclitaxel). The kaempferol in brussels sprouts might help protect against the cardiotoxicity of Adriamycin chemotherapy.
We recommend consuming brussels sprouts and other brassica vegetables as food and against consuming broccoli pills that have been enhanced to boost the proportion of the presumed key anti-cancer chemicals in these vegetables. There is some evidence that concentrated cruciferous vegetable extracts can act as estrogen agonists and promote breast cancer cell proliferation. Also, the anticancer properties of broccoli are likely to be the result of synergistic interaction of its various chemical components - isolated components have successfully inhibited proliferation in the laboratory, but their efficacy and safety in humans needs to be evaluated in large scale clinical trials.
Some cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts contain thioglucoside compounds in sufficient amounts to potentially interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone in women with iodine deficiency.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a list of studies that includes older research, please click on brussels sprouts.