Nature has indeed blessed us with a variety of weird-looking, nutritious, and medicinally unbelievable plants. One of our favorite’s is the perennial flowering plant, Asparagus!
Asparagus has a rich flavor that is enhanced when roasted, thus making it one of the most popular ways to eat this vegetable. When you buy Asparagus, make sure the spears are bright green and have tightly closed tips. Asparagus pairs pleasantly with lots of other spring vegetables and flavors such as peas, garlic or new potatoes.
Studies show that 1 cup of cooked Asparagus contains approximately 40 calories, 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 404 milligrams of potassium, which is suitable for regulating blood pressure. It also contains a compound called asparaptine, which helps improve blood flow. The most common type of Asparagus is green in color. However, you might see other varieties in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and very difficult to harvest; and purple, which is smaller and fruitier in flavor.
BENEFITS OF EATING ASPARAGUS
A. It’s Loaded with Nutrients and Nutrition Benefits
Asparagus is a very rich source of vitamins A, C, E and K, folate and fiber as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells which is very helpful if you are watching your blood sugar level.
B. It Can Help Fight Cancer
Asparagus is a predominantly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down cancer-causing agents and other harmful compounds like free radicals in the body. This is why eating Asparagus is advisable as this may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon and lung cancers.
C. Asparagus is Packed with Antioxidants
Asparagus is ranked as one of the top spring vegetables in the vegetable chart for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. What does this mean? This means that it may help slow down the aging process and reduce inflammation.
D. Asparagus is a Brain Booster
Like most leafy greens, asparagus provides folate, which works with vitamin B12 to help prevent cognitive impairment. In a study from Tufts University, older adults with healthy intake of folate and vitamin B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility. However, the ability to absorb this vitamin decreases with age, so be sure you are getting enough now!
E. It’s a Natural Diuretic
It has high levels of the amino acid, asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic agent. This is particularly helpful for people who suffer from edema – an accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.
HOW TO PREPARE ASPARAGUS?
With the oven set at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, drizzle olive oil and salt on your trimmed asparagus. Then bake it on sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper. Roast it until crisp-tender, at least 10-15 minutes. This ensures that it will be cooked through, but still crisp and vibrant green.
Asparagus should have a gentle crunch to them. Thus, they should not be mushy. A little lemon zest will help revitalize the natural flavor of the asparagus. There you have it! A simple delicious way to roast asparagus.
Now the beautiful thing about food is that there are many ways to use Asparagus before its prime season runs out! Try it in a salad, toss it in quiche for brunch, blend it for a delicious summer soup, or steam it and enjoy it in your favorite loaded grilled cheese sandwich.