09 Apr 5 Reasons to Eat Asparagus
By: Joni Garcia MS, RD, Contributing Blogger
The first spring veggies are now lining market shelves and thanks to my husband, I’ve grown to love asparagus! It’s one of the few veggies that he really enjoys, so it ends up being a staple for us this time of the year.
In ancient times, asparagus was thought of as a medicinal food with healing and cleansing properties. With so many health benefits, it’s hard not to give this veggie a try. Here are five reasons why you should add it to your shopping cart this spring:
- Cancer fighter – Asparagus is rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps attack free radicals in the body. The veggie is also chockfull of vitamin A and beta carotene, two other antioxidants that boost its cancer fighting ability.
- Natural diuretic – The amino acid compounds found in asparagus make the veggie a natural diuretic, which helps cleanse the body. And don’t worry if you have a funny smell to your urine after eating asparagus. The body is breaking down the sulfur compounds found in the veggies, and it won’t do you any harm.
- Healthy blood – Asparagus is a great source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps prevent birth defects and keeps the blood strong and healthy. It’s also rich in vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. Many medications can interact with foods high in vitamin K, so check with your doctor before upping your diet with vitamin K rich foods.
- Healthy eyes – Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in asparagus. These are two nutrients proven to support eye health and reduce risk of eye diseases, like cataracts and age related macular degeneration.
- Figure friendly – With only about 2 to 4 calories per stalk, feel free to indulge!
Choosing the Right Stalks
Asparagus comes in a variety of colors, including purple and white. Try experimenting with these for a change of pace from the typical green variety. Choose stalks that are smooth with closed, compact tops. Both thick and thin stalks can be equally tender, crisp, and delicious. Freshness plays a role in tenderness, not necessarily the width of the stalk.
Tell Me: What’s your favorite way to prepare asparagus?