Brussels sprouts are an important dietary source of many vitamin antioxidants, including vitamins C and A (in the form of beta-carotene). The antioxidant mineral manganese is also provided by Brussels sprouts. Flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol are also found in Brussels sprouts, as are the antioxidants caffeic acid and ferulic acid. In fact, one study examining total intake of antioxidant polyphenols in France found Brussels sprouts to be a more important dietary contributor to these antioxidants than any other cruciferous vegetable, including broccoli. Some of the antioxidant compounds found in Brussels sprouts may be somewhat rare in foods overall. One such compound is a sulfur-containing compound called D3T. (D3T is the abbreviated name for 3H-1,2-dithiole-3-thione.) Researchers continue to investigate ways in which D3T is able to optimize responses by our body's antioxidant system.
Treated as a group, the antioxidant nutrients described above provide support not only for Phase 1 of the body's detoxification process but also for all of the body's cells that are at risk of oxidative damage from overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules. Chronic oxidative stress—meaning chronic presence of overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and cumulative damage to tissue by these molecules — is a risk factor for the development of most cancer types.
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