Asparagus, officially called Asparagus Officinalis, is a spear-like vegetable and it is a member of the lily family. It comes in a variety of colours: the majority is green, but you can get white and purple varieties too. It’s typically in season from April until June and, being a delicious and versatile ingredient, can be used in many recipes! Let’s find out more about this nutritious vegetable and discover the most important asparagus health benefits.
The benefits of Asparagus
- Low in calories but high in nutrients
Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable but an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals! It is rich in vitamins A – which helps to protect our skin, eyes and immune system – and vitamin C, an essential nutrient involved in collagen formation.
It is also a good source of vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone health, and folic acid, important for making blood cells.
- Beneficial for the digestive system
Asparagus is a good source of fiber, essential for good digestive health and helpful in reducing the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Just half a cup of asparagus contains 7% of your daily needs!
Furthermore, research has shown that cooked asparagus may be useful in some gastrointestinal conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, as it helps to reduce inflammation and promote repair. And don’t forget that asparagus is one of a variety of vegetables that can act as a prebiotic, boosting the good bacteria in the digestive system. Want to know more abut Gut Health and good bacteria? Read this!
- Supports a healthy pregnancy
As a good source of Folic Acid, asparagus provides also an essential nutrient during pregnancy. In fact, Folic Acid helps form red cells and produce DNA needed for a healthy foetal development. Just 150g of asparagus will provide the total recommended daily intake of folic acid for most adults (200mcg). The NHS recommends that pregnant women get 400mcg folic acid a day.
- Good source of antioxidants
Asparagus is also a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. These substances prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce your risk of chronic disease. So, eating asparagus along with other fruits and vegetables can provide your body with a good range of antioxidants to promote good health.
- Diuretic properties
Asparagus has long been known for its diuretic properties. This means that it’s good for helping to flush out the kidneys and may help in the prevention of kidney stones.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, asparagus may also relieve inflammatory conditions.
How do you cook asparagus?
In addition to being healthy and nutritious, asparagus is delicious and easy to add into your diet! It is super versatile and can be cooked in many ways, including boiling, grilling, roasting and steaming. And don’t forget that asparagus can be used in a number of dishes like salads, frittatas, omelets and pastas, and it’s an excellent side dish. Enjoy!