Asparagus is among my favorite veggies, especially this time of year when you can get it locally straight from the field.
When I'm pressed for time and still need to eat nutritious, asparagus is my first choice as it takes no time to cook.
Here are 4 reasons it tops my list:
1. It cooks fast, and this preserves most of its nutrition.
2. It goes well with most recipes.
3. Best for stir-fry, you can roast and grill too (it is BBQ season right now!)
4. It can be a snack / appetizer or a salad or add to pastas for a complete meal.
So what else is asparagus good for?
1. Good for your heart: Asparagus contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds which benefits heart health.
It packs an army of flavonoids that fight oxidative damage to your body. The key flavonoid compounds include rutin, kaempferol, and quercetin.
Besides, it also supplies vitamin antioxidants vitamin E, C and betacarotene.
2. It's also a valuable source of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Studies show that optimal levels of glutathione is helpful in protecting from heart diseases.
3. Good for digestive support: Asparagus contains the unique carbohydrate, inulin, that's excellent for gut health.
Inulin is not digested like regular carbs, and reaches the large intestine. Once there it becomes a valuable fuel for good bacteria in the gut.
This helps in healthy bowel movements and prevents colon cancer. Besides, it provides 3 grams of fiber per cup which helps regularize bowel movements.
Good for regulating blood sugar: A cup of raw asparagus gives 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
These 2 nutrients help promote healthy digestion and blood sugar levels.
A study showed that asparagus was helpful in improving insulin secretion.
Researchers also found promising data that it improved beta cell function with type 2 diabetes. Beta cells are present in your pancreas and they help produce, release and store insulin.
This is crucial for healthy blood sugar levels in your body.
4. Boasts an impressive nutrition profile: Aspragaus is super rich in B vitamins folate and B2. It is an excellent source of copper, selenium and vitamin K.
Other vitamin A, C , E, B6, pantothenic acid and are also abundant in asparagus.
Pregnant women can benefit by eating a cup of asparagus every day. Folate and other minerals are important for the nerve development of the infant.
Here are a few fun facts about asparagus you may not know:
The most common type of asparagus is the green one, there are also white and purple ones. Green asparagus is common in North America, while the white one is in Europe.
The purple asparagus is native to Italy and it is rich in the antioxidant anthocyanins. Purple variety is low in fiber and are more tender than the other two types.
Asparagus is not known to cause allergies and it is rare. But, if you are allergic to chives, onion or garlic, you are more likely to develop allergies.
How to choose and store asparagus:
Pick ones that look fresh and firm
Look for tender stems, with purplish tips
Look for rounded stems and not twisted
Store in refrigerator with ends wrapped in damp paper towel
Cook within 2 – 3 days for best flavor and taste
If you buy canned asparagus, be mindful of the salt content. Hundred grams of canned asparagus gives a whopping 287 mg of sodium, while same quantity of fresh asparagus is 2 mg.
Don't miss asparagus on your grocery list, for it's one of the vegetables you don't necessarily need to buy organic! Besides it is quick cooking, versatile and comes chock full of nutrients.
Your partner in health,