It looks like serving up more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts can help armor-plate our heart health. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition discovered that higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables (at least 45 grams daily) can decrease buildup of deposits on artery walls in older women. This can improve heart blood flow, possibly slashing the risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

One nutrient found consistently in high amounts in cruciferous vegetables is vitamin K, which may be involved in inhibiting the calcification process (narrowing) that occurs in our blood vessels. While it remains to be seen if this benefit applies to other demographics, including men, it does make this Brussels sprout slaw an even more enticing side-dish option.

3/4 lb Brussels sprouts, shredded

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 pear, thinly sliced

2 scallions (green onion), thinly sliced

3 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/2 C pomegranate seeds or 1/3 C dried cherries

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 orange

2 T maple syrup

1/4 C hazelnuts

2 t Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

In a large bowl, toss together Brussels sprouts, carrot, pear, scallion, prosciutto, and pomegranate seeds or dried cherries. Place olive oil, orange juice, maple syrup, hazelnuts, mustard, garlic, and a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper in a blender container and blend until slightly chunky. Toss dressing with slaw. Makes six servings.