One of our first signs of spring in our neighborhood is the Asparagus sign on our local farm, Stades Dairy Farm in Johnsburg, Illinois. What most people don't know is the benefits Asparagus holds! Asparagus is packed with disease fighting abilities and health benefits!
- It's an amazing source of fiber, foliate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability for insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
- Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, ranking one of the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Which is a fancy term for slowing down our aging process! (ok, so why have they not bottled asparagus juice into a face cream yet?)
- Asparagus is also a cancer fighter. Along with Avocado, Kale and Brussels Sprouts, it is rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. Eating Asparagus may help protect us against and or fight certain forms of cancers, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.
- Is your brain not working up to speed? Then eat Asparagus! Asparagus fights cognitive decline. According to Tufts University, older adults who have healthy levels of folate or B12 perform better on speed and mental ability testing. Once you hit 50, you lose your ability to absorb Vitamin B12. So make sure you eat proper veggies with vitamin B12!
- If you tend to retain water or have high blood pressure or heart disease, then Asparagus is your veggie! It contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine which serves as a natural diuretic and helps rid the body of excess salts.
So, how do I cook my asparagus you may ask? Well, you can rinse them in water and cut them up in a salad. You can steam them or place them in a skillet with a little olive oil and garlic or grill them. You can also steam them, and blend them up in a soup. Recipes and ideas are endless!
Here is a healthy recipe to get you started.
Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese (makes two servings)
You will need 10 fresh asparagus spears, trim off about an inch off the bottom and rinse under cold water.
Healthy cooking spray, or olive oil cooking spray
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh garlic to taste or dried garlic or onion
Cook the Asparagus over medium heat in a non stick pan for 10 minutes or until tender with oil and spices. Tossing frequently. Sprinkle cheese over right before serving!
Jill Lindberg, Owner Destination Fitness