Asparagus Health Benefits

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The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. Asparagus season is quickly approaching, so it is a good time to consider this tender and succulent member of the lily family.

 

Like all vegetables, asparagus doesn't instantly "die" when it is picked, but instead, continues to engage in metabolic activity. This metabolic activity includes intake of oxygen, the breaking down of starches and sugars, and the releasing of carbon dioxide.

Asparagus, its fleshy spears topped with bud-like compact heads, is often thought of as a luxury vegetable, prized for its succulent taste and tender texture. It is harvested when it is 6 to 8 inches tall. While the most common variety of asparagus is green in color, two other edible varieties are available. White asparagus has a more delicate flavor and tender texture. The other edible variety of asparagus is purple in color. It is much smaller than the green or white variety and had a fruitier flavor.

Benefits:

Asparagus has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It improves blood pressure, improves blood sugar and controls blood fat levels. Contains rich concentration of insulin, a unique type of carbohydrate, results in better nutrient absorption, lowers the risk of allergy and colon cancer. It has anti-oxidant benefits and digestive support.

Nutrients:

Cooked asparagus, 1 cup, 180 grams, 250 ml contains;

40 calories and low GI.

Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Fiber, Manganese, Phosphorus, Vitamin B3, Potassium, Vitamin A, Zinc, Iron, Protein, Vitamin B6 and Calcium.

Description:

Asparagus, with its fleshy spears topped with bud-like compact heads, is often thought of as a luxury vegetable, prized for its succulent taste and tender texture. It is harvested when it is 6 to 8 inches tall.

Select and store:

Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody. Once trimmed and cooked, asparagus loses about half its total weight. Use asparagus within a day or two after purchasing for best flavor and texture. Store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Tips for preparing and cooking:

Thin asparagus does not require peeling. Asparagus with thick stems should be peeled because the stems are usually tough and stringy. Remove the tough outer skin of the bottom portion of the stem with a vegetable peeler. Wash asparagus under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues. It is best to cook asparagus whole.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add cold asparagus to your favorite salad.
  • Toss freshly cooked pasta with asparagus, olive oil and your favorite pasta spices such as thyme, tarragon and rosemary.
  • Chopped asparagus make a flavorful and colorful addition to omelets.
  • Healthy sauté asparagus with garlic, mushrooms and tofu or chicken for a complete meal.

Add asparagus to your diet to enjoy some of the many health benefits it has.

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