All About Asparagus

Asparagus has not been as widely studied as some other foods for their health promoting, disease-fighting potential. But don’t let that deter you from including this nutritious option in your diet. In honor of Asparagus Month, we’re going to share the benefits this veggie adds to your diet as well as tips of how to choose, store, and prepare it.

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Excellent source of key nutrients thiamine, folate and selenium
  • Full of anti-inflammatory/antioxidant properties, which may help protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Contains inulin, a prebiotic that nourishes healthy gut bacteria

SHOPPING TIPS

Look for asparagus with firm, thin, green stems and closed tips. Check that the asparagus is kept refrigerated or in trays with stalks standing in several inches of ice or cold water.

STORAGE

Wrap the stalk bottoms in a damp paper towel and store in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator. It will keep for up to five days, but the flavor will diminish after only a day or two—so plan it into your meals fairly quickly.

PREPARATION

Prior to cooking, wash asparagus in cool, running water and cut off any tough, white ends. If any stalks are particularly thick, peel the stalks off. Asparagus can be quickly cooked by any method in just 3 to 7 minutes, so it’s perfect for when you’re short on time. Some quick tips:

  • If boiling, watch the timer. When overdone, asparagus can become limp and discolored with a bitter taste.
  • It’s best to keep the stalks whole, unless stir-frying.
  • If steaming, keep the stalks upright. When properly cooked, the spears will be firm-tender.
  • Heavy or creamed sauces are not needed for asparagus. You don’t want to disguise its naturally delicate flavor.
  • A simple seasoning with lemon and herbs such as rosemary or dill suits it perfectly.

A final word: Don’t stop eating asparagus if you notice a strong odor in your urine after eating it. Research shows this poses no health risks.

Check out http://www.asparagusrecipes.net/ for tons of neat asparagus recipes!

– True Health Clinical Health Consultant Terri Klose, MS, RD, CDE

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For more information on nutrition for exercise and other lifestyle tips, contact True Health Diagnostics at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Clinical Health Consultant.

All True Health Diagnostics materials are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on contents of this information. Readers should always consult the appropriate health professional on any matters related to their health.