Help Prevent Colon Cancer with Fiber-Rich Brussels

Brussels sprouts are full of fiber, hearty and perfect in the cold winter months. Even better, a diet rich in fiber-filled veggies like Brussels can help prevent colon cancer.

In the heart of winter, comfort foods are a heartland favorite. These may include such things as hot dishes and casseroles made with meat and pastas, or scalloped potatoes made with a creamy sauce. I often hear how it is harder to eat vegetables and fruits in the winter, as they are not as fresh or readily available. Living in the far north we do indeed have to rely on foods grown far away—to a point. Instead of focusing on what we do not have in the winter in the tundra of North Dakota, look at what we do have and look for winter produce and try new things.

From Standard Produce to Adventurous Veggies
I was a farm kid that grew up on the standard vegetables: green beans, corn, potatoes, with the occasional California blend vegetable mix if my mom was feeling adventurous. When I got married, my mother-in-law introduced me to new produce. I actually enjoyed them, but maybe not at first. Brussels sprouts are one of these foods.

Brussels sprouts are an often forgotten food and some find them despicable and indicate that they are strong and bitter. I, too, may have felt the same when I saw the green little globes on my plate the first time at my in-laws’ house. At first, they required a good amount of butter to be palatable. Now, I have found ways to make them truly delicious. I purchase fresh when I can. They can be found in nice little bags at our local grocery stores near the salad mixes.

Preppin’ the Green Globes
I wash the Brussels thoroughly and cut off any leaves that look undesirable. I then toss them in my steam pot until they are just beginning to be fork tender. Next, I place them into a bowl and toss with some flavored balsamic vinegar, peanut oil, rosemary, garlic, ground mustard, salt and cracked pepper. I allow them to marinate for 20 minutes to soak in the flavor, and then I place them in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. The results: pure deliciousness.

Brussels sprouts pair nicely with a lean pork chop, chicken breast or fish. Through marinating and steaming, the bitterness nearly disappears and the result is phenomenal. Best of all—Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin b6, folate and manganese.

Final lesson: Listen to your mom (or mother-in-law), and eat your vegetables.

Ready to kick off your vegetable adventure? Start here: Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts.

Nearly 100,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer every year, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). While we have no control over risk factors such as age and family history, we do have control over healthy eating. Adding fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains aids colon health by keeping you regular. Colonoscopy is the best line of defense in reducing risk.

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Jennifer Haugen has over 14 years of experience as a registered dietitian in the Grand Forks area with eight years in the health and wellness field. She obtained the Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential in July 2011 and also has completed training in adult weight management. Jennifer enjoys many outdoor activities such as ice skating, biking, running, fishing and hunting and spending time with her family.

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