Eating your greens as kid may have been an ongoing battle for you and your parents, but now that you’re older – and hopefully wiser – you know that vegetables are chock-full of beneficial nutrients. Asparagus, in particular, has an array of health benefits that date back for centuries. Augusta Sportswear is ready to give you all the gory asparagus details.
Asparagus is a member of the lily family, and its name originates from a Greek word meaning “shoot” or “sprout.” While there is no definitive date for its origin, use of asparagus as a food source and for medicinal purposes is believed to have begun more than 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean area.
Packed with nutrients, this super vegetable is a valuable addition to any diet. High in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, B-Complex vitamins, and a variety of other phytonutrients, asparagus is nutrient dense – and low in calories!
A cup of cooked asparagus contains:
- 40 calories
- 4 g of protein
- 7 g of carbohydrates
- 3 g of fiber
- 1 g of soluble fiber
- Less than a gram of fat
A significant amount of the following vitamins:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
This vegetable is full of heart healthy nutrients like vitamin K, B-Complex vitamins, and fiber, as well as high levels of antioxidants. Vitamin K helps blood clot, and the B-Complex vitamins assist in regulating homocysteine, an amino acid that at excessive levels is a strong risk factor for heart disease. The anti-inflammatory effects of asparagus, high level of antioxidants, and amount of soluble fiber are all factors that help lower the risk of heart disease.
Rich in antioxidants that help to fight free radicals, asparagus is beneficial for its anti-aging properties. Vitamin E, a lipid-soluble antioxidant, helps protect your tissue cells, and keep your skin looking healthy and young. In addition, asparagus is high in folate that works with vitamin B12 to prevent cognitive decline. Simply put, this vegetable can slow the aging process both physically and mentally.
It’s a Diuretic
Asparagus contains high levels of asparagine, an amino acid that works as a natural diuretic. This helps the body get rid of excess salts and fluids, which can benefit individuals who have high blood pressure or other heart-related conditions. This property also helps flush out toxins in kidneys and prevent kidney stones.
Assists with Weight Loss
One serving of asparagus contains roughly 14 percent of your daily intake of fiber. This aids in digestion and keeps you fuller longer, so you’re less likely to snack when you don’t need to. Additionally, asparagus is very low in fat and at only 40 calories, it’s an easy and low-cal addition to any meal.
Garlic Roasted Asparagus Recipe
Ready to add some asparagus to your weekly diet? Try this super simple asparagus recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.
1 ½ pounds of asparagus spears
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut off 1 to 1 ½ inches of the base of each asparagus spear.
- Thinly slice the garlic cloves.
- Place asparagus and garlic in baking pan.
- Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Enjoy! (Makes 6 servings)
If you aren’t quite ready for asparagus by itself, try adding it to a variety of dishes such as a stir fry, tuna casserole, and omelets or quiche.