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Of all the vegetables that start to fill the markets in the spring, asparagus is one of my favorites. Not only is it delicious – it has many amazing health benefits.
- It is packed with nutrients. Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that helps regulate blood sugar. It also contains potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and possibly cholesterol.
- Asparagus may help to protect against cancer. It is an excellent source of a powerful antioxidant called glutathione that helps to break down carcinogens. It can also protect the skin from sun damage by neutralizing harmful compounds called free radicals.
- Asparagus supports brain health. It contains the B-vitamin folate that works together with vitamin B12 to prevent cognitive decline as we age.
- Asparagus aids in digestion. It contains a unique type of fiber called inulin – known as a prebiotic. Prebiotics provide food for the healthy bacteria that live in our gut; and these bacteria support digestion as well as enhancing our immune system.
- Asparagus supports weight loss. It’s extremely low in calories, it has no fat, and it’s high in both fiber and water content. It’s very filling and can help to suppress the appetite.
Choose asparagus that have a bright green color and no signs of shriveling. The tender tips can have a purplish color, and they should be firm and never mushy.
When you get it home, you can place asparagus in a produce bag in your vegetable bin; however, it may end up getting bruised, broken, or forgotten. To keep it in prime condition, trim the cut ends, stand them in a glass of water, cover with plastic, and refrigerate (glass and all) for up to two days.
Prepare asparagus by boiling, steaming, roasting, or grilling. You can even eat it raw. Slice thin and add it to a salad or serve raw spears with hummus or your favorite dip.
Grilling is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus and this is the perfect season for it. Click here for the recipe.
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