Whether you’re a huge fan of asparagus already or you haven’t given the veg much thought, you should be adding more to your plate. Not only does the stalk have several health benefits, but it’s also super tasty in salads, grain bowls and pasta, or as a roasted side dish. Here’s what you get when you eat the green (or white, or purple!) stuff.
1. It’ll fill you up without weighing you down.
While low in calories, one of asparagus’ benefits is that it’s high in fiber and water. “That can help you feel full and satiated,” says Eliza Savage, R.D. at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. It’s an excellent companion to a healthy diet and can help you stick to weight-loss goals. Wondering how to prepare it? Savage’s go-to pairings are two boiled eggs with roasted asparagus or salmon with steamed asparagus.
FYI: Here’s how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg:
2. It’s packed with healthy nutrients.
Another asparagus benefit is that it packs a punch when it comes to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The veggie is high in vitamins A, C and K, along with minerals like iron and potassium. “All of these are essential vitamins and minerals, meaning we need to consume them through food as our bodies do not make them on their own,” says Amanda Baker Lemein, WH advisor and R.D. based in Chicago.
Vitamin K is particularly important for bone and blood health, and cooking asparagus with a healthy fat like olive or coconut oil may help the body better absorb it, notes Savage. Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants, and potassium has been shown to decrease the risk of stroke, lower blood pressure and protect against muscle loss. “Iron is beneficial for immune health and blood health—you can increase your uptake by eating your asparagus with a squeeze of vitamin-C packed citrus juice or bell peppers,” says Lemein.
3. It can keep your urinary tract healthy.
Asparagus is a diuretic, which means it will help you pee more often, flushing out your urinary tract and removing any extra salts from your body, says Lemein. Some research has found that asparagus may help combat UTIs. Praise hands.
4. It’ll keep you regular.
The high fiber content in asparagus can get things moving in your digestive system, and inulin, a prebiotic in asparagus, can help feed the good bacteria, or probiotics, in your intestines, leading to a happy microbiome, says Savage. “Pre and probiotics can improve gut function, digestion, and elimination.”
5. It promotes healthy pregnancies.
High folate content is one of the top asparagus benefits. Folate is a vitamin that’s crucial to decreasing the changes of birth defects in a baby’s brain and spinal cord. While prenatal vitamins with extra folate are typically recommended for expecting moms and those trying to conceive, getting added folate from food sources is totally healthy, says Savage.
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