Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s so good for the body, when ever I can, this green, stalky, vegetable is added to my plate.
Health benefits of Asparagus – Source:Nutrition-And-You
- Asparagus is a very low calorie vegetable. 100 g fresh spears give only 20 calories. More calories will be burnt to digest than gained..
- The shoots have good levels of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad, “LDL” cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines, and regulates blood sugar levels. In addition, high fiber diet helps prevent colon-rectal cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.
- Fresh asparagus spears are a good source of anti-oxidants such aslutein, zeaxanthin, carotenes, and crypto-xanthins. Together, these flavonoid compounds help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body protect it from possible cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, and viral infections.
- Fresh asparagus are rich in folates. 100 g of spears provide about 54 mcg or 14% of RDA of folic acid. Folates are one of the important co-factors for DNA synthesis inside the cell.
- The shoots are also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid those are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.
- Fresh asparagus also contains fair amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A and vitamin-E. Regular consumption of foods rich in these vitamins helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- Its shoots are also a good source of vitamin K; provides about 35% of DRI. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Asparagus is good in minerals especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for cellular respiration and red blood cell formation.
This week Carla Vavala offers a recipe on page 30 of her book “Fusion of Food and Friends” that is a delightfully easy and deliciously satisfying way to prepare asparagus. Her recipe uses butter, but to go a healthier route, use olive oil instead.
Peggy of Pantry Revisited offers her version which she absolutely loved. Check it out. You’ll drool over the photo.
Baked Asparagus with Balsamic (Butter) Sauce
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed (take the tough ends off, cutting at an angle).
- pepper to taste
- 2 TBS butter – or Use Olive oil
- 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Spray a pan with non stick spray and arrange the vegetable in a single layer. Spray the top of the asparagus with cooking spray (I prefer to drizzle oil on top), and add pepper to taste.
Bake for 10 minutes.
In a medium frying pan, heat butter (or oil) and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Pour over asparagus and serve.
*Alternatively, drizzle the oil, soy sauce, and vinegar over the top of raw asparagus and bake for 10 minutes. It eliminates the need to wash up one more pan.
What’s your favorite vegetable?
Have you ever prepared asparagus raw?