recipe by: Julia Davie, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Spotting fresh, local asparagus at the markets is one of the first signs that fantastic weather is here! This spring/summer vegetable is crunchy yet tender, and is packed with nutrients that provide powerful health benefits. Here are a few of them:
Asparagus is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants
This vegetable is a fantastic source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate and fibre. It also contains chromium, which is a trace mineral that helps to enhance insulin's ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the body's cells. Asparagus is also among the top fruits/vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals, which may help to slow the aging process.
Asparagus can boost your brain
In conjunction with its anti-aging properties, this veggie, like leafy green vegetables, may actually also help our brains fight cognitive decline. Folate, which works with vitamin B12 and is also found in fish, poultry, meat and dairy, has been shown to prevent cognitive impairment. After the age of 50, your ability to absorb B12 begins to decrease, so we need to ensure we're eating enough of this important vitamin!
Asparagus is a natural diuretic
Asparagus contains high levels of asparagine, which is an amino acid that is a natural diuretic. Increased urination releases fluid from the body, plus it helps rid the body of excess salts. This becomes especially beneficial for people with high blood pressure, those with heart-related diseases, or those who suffer from edema (an accumulation of fluids in the body's tissues).
Asparagus isn't always green
The most common type of asparagus is green, but it also comes in white (more delicate and difficult to harvest), and purple (smaller and with a fruitier flavour). No matter the type you choose, asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads.
Speaking of salads, our fantastic RHN Julia created one that highlights this super veggie. Bon appétit!
2 asparagus bunches, washed and ends trimmed
½ a medium sized red onion, sliced thinly
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup organic goat cheese
¼ cup quality olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. raw honey
salt and pepper to taste
- Steam the asparagus greens for 3 minutes or until bright green but still crisp.
- Place asparagus in iced water.
- Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, raw honey and salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Mix until well combined.
- Place asparagus and red onion in a medium sized serving bowl. Pour marinade overtop and toss.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This salad is delicious if marinated overnight as well!
- Just before serving, top with sunflower seeds and crumbled goat cheese.
Tried it and loved it? Let us know in the comments below!