Asparagus is an amazing and very healthy vegetable. It is a vegetable that I would not eat as a child, but I have since discovered how wonderful it is. When it is not overcooked – it is delicious, crunchy, and extremely nutritious. There are so many ways to cook asparagus: steam, bake, grill, sauté, blanche, broil, or it can be pickled. It can also be eaten raw – my Granddaughter loves raw asparagus!
Asparagus is part of the Lily family (liliceae). Other members of this family include tulips, onions and garlic. Asparagus grows all around the world and there are about 300 species in this family. Garden asparagus (green) is the most well known variety. It takes a long time for one planting of asparagus to reach maturity. According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board “An asparagus planting is usually not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted allowing the crown to develop a strong fibrous root system.”
White asparagus comes from a different variety than green asparagus. White asparagus is grown without daylight, which prevents the process of photosynthesis and results in the spears remaining white (instead of turning green). White asparagus is more expensive than green asparagus because it is a more labor-intensive process to keep the plants out of the daylight. The plants are continuously kept covered with soil as they grow, then harvested with a special knife to cut them off well below the soil’s surface. There is some controversy as to whether white asparagus contains as many nutrients as green asparagus.
Asparagus has historically been used as a herbal medicine because of its anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. One study done in 2009 reported that asparagus can alleviate alcohol’s hangover effect, and provide some protection for the liver.
Asparagus is very nutritious. It contains:
- Pro-Vitamin A (carotene – an antioxidant)
- Vitamins A, E and C (antioxidants)
- Folate (folic acid, a B vitamin)
Asparagus and folic acid
An interesting note is the fact that asparagus contains a very high amount of folate or folic acid. Folic acid is very important in the formation of our blood cells and in the prevention of liver disease.
Here is a delicious recipe: Easy Cream of Asparagus Soup. This recipe is dairy free, gluten free, and vegan. Enjoy!
Are you interested in learning more about which vegetables are energizing and nutrient rich? Do you need more information about how to fit healthy vegetables into your dietary lifestyle? Contact me, and let’s talk about which vegetables and energizing foods are right for you!
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