Health Benefits of Asparagus

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on November 14, 2011

If you're looking to add a vegetables to your diet that is chock full of nutrients, consider one that is stalk-full, too — asparagus! According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB), "Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It leads nearly all produce items in the wide array of nutrients it supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet." Moreover, it's easy to incorporate this tasty food into your diet. Whether you enjoy it steamed, sauteed or roasted on its own, or incorporated into other dishes, asparagus provides many essential nutrients — plus variety for those who want to branch out beyond the same old veggies night after night.

Important nutrients. We all know that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. In fact, the USDA even raised its dietary guidelines to place even more emphasis on the importance of daily consumption of large amounts of produce. And asparagus is a great choice. Asparagus is low in calories and high in fiber and vegetable protein. Flavorful and filling, asparagus has been touted as part of a diet to lose weight, but it may prevent more than just obesity. It also may help promote cardiovascular and hepatic health. Unlike many other "super foods," many of its benefits actually have borne out of evidence-based studies, rather than just anecdotal claims.

Eating for two? One of the biggest perks of asparagus is its folic acid content. Folic acid is important for prenatal development and liver health. It's crucial for women who are pregnant or those who may become pregnant, who often are advised to increase their consumption of the nutrient. While supplements can provide a boost, getting nutrients from food sources is always ideal. Just one serving of asparagus provides about 60 percent of the recommended daily requirements.

Choosing asparagus. Asparagus is widely available in grocery stores. Look for firm, crisp stalks, and use it before it molds or discolors.