Asparagus has a long history, dating as far back as the first century, with records confirming its culinary use in ancient Rome and Greece. In ancient Egypt, the vegetable was grown for medicinal purposes and is believed to have been offered to gods during religious rituals. Asparagus, much like olives, is grown locally in the Unites States making this cruciferous vegetable available throughout the year. This easy availability of asparagus is a fortunate thing as this vegetable offers a host of healthful goodness.
Read further and learn more about the benefits of asparagus and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends this vegetable.
Asparagus, much like bananas and avocado, is a potent source of potassium, a mineral that most Americans are deficient in. Potassium acts as an electrolyte in the body and is crucial for the proper contraction of muscles. Adequate potassium intake has shown potential in minimizing the risk of stroke and developing cardiovascular disease in a study as well. A serving of asparagus, which contain about five spears, has roughly 670 milligrams of potassium. Eating 3 servings per day then can already provide you with 45% of the recommended daily value for this crucial mineral.
Asparagus is a rich source of folic acid as well. A water-soluble B vitamin, folic acid is crucial for optimal production of red blood cells. Folic acid plays a very crucial role in the healthy formation of genetic material within each cell of the body as well. It is this latter’s function of folic acid that makes it an essential nutrient for pregnant women. Each asparagus spear contains roughly 90 micrograms of this nutrient. Eating five asparagus spears, slightly more for pregnant women, should then provide the recommended daily intake for folic acid.
Asparagus helps in proper weight management as well. A serving, which contain about five asparagus spears, has approximately 20 calories and zero fat. One can then fill up on asparagus without worrying about consuming lots of calories. This vegetable is a natural diuretic, too, so eating asparagus can certainly help in preventing water weight gain. Two grams of dietary fiber can be had from one serving of this vegetable as well. A diet high in fiber not only helps in one’s weight loss goals by ensuring proper bowel movement, but it may also potentially lower the risk of developing colon cancer.
Asparagus provides other vitamins as well. One serving or five spears of this vegetable, for instance, can provide about 16% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A which is essential for maintaining eye health. Roughly 25% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C can be acquired from eating one serving of asparagus as well.
Asparagus Practical Uses:
The texture of asparagus holds better when cooked by steaming in a steamer. You can eat the vegetable on its own or with a dip. For a healthy and protein-rich dip, combine a teaspoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves, and half a cup of organic full-fat yogurt and blend until smooth. Serve the dip as well as the steamed asparagus chilled.
Asparagus tastes great stir-fried in olive oil and garlic as well. For added flavor and healthful goodness, opt to include other vegetables like sprouts, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.