One of our favorite weight-loss-friendly foods is asparagus; learn why and try out these delicious recipes
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Learn why early spring's delicacy, also known as asparagus, is good for weight loss and so healthy for you!
When spring begins to bud, asparagus is everywhere! While very low in calories, this vegetable is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It is also simple to cook. It can be grilled, roasted, sautéed, or steamed in minutes. If you think you don't like asparagus because you grew up eating bitter, soggy, over-boiled asparagus, then please give it another chance with another cooking method. Learn to love this veggie by simply not overcooking it.
I smiled when I found websites devoted entirely to asparagus. I don't know why-everything else has a website, so why not asparagus? The major producers of asparagus in the United States have advisory boards and websites devoted to asparagus: Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, California Asparagus Commission, and the Washington Asparagus Commission. Check out their websites for tips on cooking and storage as well as for recipes.
Asparagus is particularly high in folate and vitamins A and K. Keep in mind that a food is considered an excellent nutrient source if it meets 20% or more of your RDA in one serving. For asparagus, a standard serving size is six medium spears, a 1/2 cup of pieces, or just over three ounces cooked. For only 20 calories, you get a lot of nutrients!
You may already know about the importance of folate during pregnancy. Folate is also an essential player in protein and DNA metabolism and red blood cell formation for people of all ages. Super-rich in folate, one serving of asparagus provides a whopping 134 mcg of folate (over 30% RDA for most adults).
A fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A is necessary for vision, immunity, and proper growth and healing. Vitamin A's plant form, beta-carotene, is an orange pigment with antioxidant properties. Beta-carotene is commonly found in orange-colored fruits and veggies but also many green veggies like asparagus. The green chlorophyll pigment masks the orange pigment. One serving of asparagus provides 906 IU of vitamin A (30% RDA for most adults).
Proper blood clotting and bone metabolism are among the necessities of the fat-soluble vitamin K. One serving of asparagus provides 45 mcg of vitamin K, which is 50% of the Adequate Intake (AI) for all adult women and 38% AI for adult men. By the way, nutritionists apply the AI when there is not enough data to formulate an RDA.
Want even more recipes? Check out Cooking Light's 77 Healthy Ways to Cook with Asparagus.
The next time you shop at the grocery store or the farmer's market and want something green to add to your meal, consider asparagus. It is nutrient-dense, low in calories, can be eaten raw or cooked, and tastes great in a variety of dishes.
This blog was reviewed and updated by Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES on March 13, 2021.Foods & Recipes->Fruit & Vegetables Nutrients->Other Vitamins & Minerals