By Erin Ayla
It is asparagus season in Wisconsin! Let’s celebrate the season with three reasons to include asparagus as a potent healthy addition to your plate!
High Nutrient Density Asparagus provides a powerful punch when it comes to getting your recommended dietary allowance of nutrients. It is an excellent source of B vitamins including folate, B1 and B2. Those B vitamins are water-soluble and easily consumed and destroyed in the body. We need to eat sources of B vitamins daily in order for proper metabolism and optimal body system function. Asparagus also is an excellent source of vitamin K which functions in blood clotting and maintaining bone density.
Pro-tip: Include a healthy fat source (like Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to enhance absorption vitamin K.
Many other nutrients in high concentrations are found in asparagus. If you are looking to optimize your nutrition, asparagus is an excellent choice! (article continues below)
Glutathione This molecule is often referred to as the body’s “master antioxidant” and is even beginning to be clinically measured as a predictor of our lifespan! Our bodies internally produce glutathione in order to fight off nasty free radicals and inflammation. Low levels of glutathione and often concurrently high levels of inflammation are found in many chronic disease states.
Asparagus is a super-source of glutathione. It contains glutathione in high concentrations, uncommonly in its pre-formed state, and alongside many cofactors that help glutathione do its sincere internal magic. If you are focusing on optimizing detoxification, longevity, and effectively decreasing inflammation, asparagus is an excellent addition to your weekly diet!
Pro-tip: The above nutrients are very sensitive to cooking and oxidation. If you cook your asparagus, limit cooking to 3 minutes or less to keep those nutrients active.
Pro-tip: The purple variety of asparagus has additional antioxidant power, so make sure you get both the green and purple variety!
Digestive Health We couldn’t recognize asparagus’s health benefits without including the amazing impact it has on our digestive system. Asparagus is an excellent source of both insoluble and soluble fiber. This means many great things for the health of both the gut and your entire body. Fiber is linked to lowering LDL, stabilizing blood sugar, and increased nutrient absorption, promoting healthy blood vessels and effective weight management.
A special shout out goes to the ability of asparagus to help balance your microbiome. In other words, asparagus potently feeds our good bugs which in turn fends off and drives back the troublesome bad bugs. Further, as these good bugs feast on the fiber in asparagus, they produce by-products (short-chain fatty acids) that fuel your intestinal cell lining, further promoting gut health!
Pro-tip: In order to optimize this benefit, eat raw asparagus on a salad. Give it a try, it has a crunchy and refreshing taste!