Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Since last winter, the devastating COVID-19 outbreak has brought life to a jarring halt for millions of people worldwide. Hank Dart, a health communications lead at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine, knows how difficult this time has been. “It’s an understatement to say that this may not be the springtime most of us had envisioned during the cold, dark days of January,” he says. “But we also understand how important these steps are, and that, in the end, it’s a temporary situation we’ll get through together.”

Hank Dart IGT

Hank Dart, health communications lead, Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine

Social distancing, frequent hand-washing and face covering are all crucial ways to minimize the risk of contracting the virus. Now is also the time to maintain a strong immune system; adding cruciferous vegetables — such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy — to your diet can help. “Cruciferous vegetables are filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds, including glucosinolates, which can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions,” Dart says. “Studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. And as part of a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits and other vegetables, they can also help keep weight in check and fuel a healthy immune system.”

If you’ve always wanted to try making healthy new recipes, such as cauliflower rice or a bok choy stir-fry, the extra time at home may provide the opportunity to explore new food options, Dart says. “And one of the nice characteristics of many cruciferous vegetables in this stay-at-home period is that they’re available fresh and frozen. This makes them a flexible choice when it’s advised to limit trips to the grocery store.” Better still, frozen vegetables retain nearly all of the nutritional benefits that fresh ones do. “Options abound with so many different types of cruciferous vegetables and so many different ways to prepare them,” Dart says. “Eat healthy. Stay well. We’re all  in this together.”

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In Good Taste is brought to you in partnership with Siteman Cancer Center. Watch for more healthy, seasonal cooking ideas each month.

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