Aspragus is now in season, which means you can enjoy the amazing health benefits of this wonderful spring vegetable. With its vitamins and nutrients, asparagus is good for all parts of the body, from the skin to the bones. Just take a look at what it can offer you, and we’ve included three recipes to help you get inspired.
The information below is from Natural Wonderfoods – a bible of ingredients to optimize your health and vitality!
What vitamins and minerals are in asparagus?
Vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, C, E, K, beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid; calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc; asparagin; glutathione; flavonoids; fibre; protein
What is asparagus good for?
In mythology, asparagus has been renowned since ancient times both as an aphrodisiac and medicinally, for its healing properties. High in nutrients, low in calories and rich in flavour, asparagus has a wealth of health-enhancing benefits to offer.
Eating asparagus is said to give a natural high. The spears not only taste delicious but also supply numerous minerals and vitamins, including many of the B-vitamins, which play a central role in supporting brain function and the nervous system. If any of these are in short supply, you may be tired, depressed, anxious or constantly on edge. This can happen quite easily if you’re not eating a wide range of healthy foods. B-vitamins work best together, rather than individually, keeping energy levels high and supporting mental and emotional health.
Asparagus is a natural diuretic, encouraging the body to flush out toxins. With its active compound asparagin stimulating the kidneys, bladder and liver, asparagus is a powerful detoxifier. Its cleansing, anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for easing indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also rich in the flavonoid rutin, which we need to maintain a healthy circulation.
According to folklore, asparagus is considered to be a tonic for the reproductive system. It is a fantastic source of folic acid, which is believed to prevent damage to the arteries that supply blood to the heart and the brain. Folic acid has also demonstrated powerful anti-carcinogenic properties and is said to prevent birth defects. An average portion of asparagus provides two-thirds of the daily amount of folic acid recommended for most people.
Asparagus is a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and the antioxidant glutathione, which all lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. The vegetable is also high in antioxidant vitamin E, which fights wrinkles and premature aging, protects the heart and keeps the brain young.
ASPARAGUS WITH HONEY AND GARLIC
450g/1lb asparagus spears, trimmed
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp clear honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp chopped thyme
Steam the asparagus for 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and put on a plate. Mix together the mustard, honey, garlic and thyme, and pour over the asparagus. Serve immediately.
BALSAMIC ROASTED ASPARAGUS
500g/1lb 2oz large asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
grated lemon zest, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C/gas mark 6. Coat the asparagus spears in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on foil on a baking tray for 20–25 minutes, turning them 2–3 times. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Garnish with lemon zest.
for inflammatory conditions
10 young asparagus spears, trimmed
500ml /17fl oz/2 cups vodka
Chop the asparagus and place in a glass jar. Cover in vodka and seal the jar tightly. Stand in a dark, cool place for 10 days, then discard the asparagus. Take 8–10 drops with 1 tablespoon of water three times a day, as needed.
Last month’s In Season vegetable was spring greens – Easter Egg Pies are an unusual (and delicious) way to get them into your diet.