This story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Cincinnati Health & Life Magazine.
Loaded with nutrients, these delicious spears are packed with powerful health benefits.
This tasty vegetable is tender, easy
to prepare and packed with nutritional
benefits. So maybe it’s time to make these
succulent stalks a menu regular in your
Asparagus helps the heart in several ways.
It’s rich in fiber, which can reduce risk of
cardiovascular disease, and full of inflammation-
fighting antioxidants. It also packs
plenty of B vitamins, which help regulate
the amino acid homocysteine, high levels
of which can be a danger to your arteries.
What’s more, one ½-cup serving of this
powerhouse vegetable provides 57 percent
of your daily requirement of vitamin K
(which helps blood clotting and strengthens
bones), and 34 percent of the daily
requirement for folate (needed to produce
DNA and to help the body’s cells divide
properly). Asparagus also contains a type
of soluble fiber that helps us absorb nutrients
by supporting the colon’s probiotic
bacteria. You get all that—and distinctive
taste, too—for only 20 calories!
Choose stalks that are round and neither
fat nor twisted. The stems should be
firm and thin with deep
green or purplish
To store your
spears, wrap a
damp paper towel
or cloth around the
ends and place in
your fridge. Try
to consume asparagus
hours of purchase,
when it’s at its best
both in taste and
Pre-cooking prep is minimal. Use a vegetable
peeler to remove the outer skin of
the stem’s thicker bottom portion, which
tends to be tough and stringy. Don’t cut
the tips off! Wash asparagus under cold
water to remove any sand, soil or pesticide
residue and then cook stalks whole
to maintain nutrients. Serve asparagus
as a side dish by sautéing in your choice
of vegetable or chicken broth, olive oil
or water, or by baking in the oven, lightly
sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. In the
mood for a breakfast with a difference?
Asparagus makes a flavorful addition
to any omelet. Or liven up that lunchtime
salad by chopping up asparagus
spears—raw or cooked—and tossing
them into the mix.
Did you know?
China and Peru are the world’s top
are about 300
the vegetable, but only 20 are edible.
They come in green, white and purple.
While green asparagus sprouts out of
the ground and is harvested when it’s
six to eight inches tall, white asparagus
grows under a layer of mulch—it’s white
because, lacking sunlight, it doesn’t
develop chlorophyll content. (It’s also
more tender and delicate in flavor.)
Purple asparagus is harvested much
smaller than green, at just two to three
inches tall, and tends to be fruitier
in flavor. It also has a higher sugar
content; phytonutrients called
anthocyanins give it its purple hue
and provide additional nutritional