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Food Spotlight: Asparagus

Posted on 06/08/2016 at 10:42 AM by Lia Bahls, RD

Asparagus is around 90% water and is a good source folic acid, vitamin K, and potassium. 

Asparagus is a prebiotic, meaning that it promotes the health and growth of probiotics (the bacteria that hang out in our gut). Probiotics are beneficial for immunity, gut health, and much more.

 

Asparagus is the least expensive during the spring months, but can usually be found year-round and is available in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. 

 

The asparagus we typically find in the grocery store is green however did you know that this nutrition-packed vegetable can also be found in purple and white variations? White asparagus is the end product of blanching the shoots as they grow. These shoots are covered with soil during the growing process to prevent sunlight exposure inhibiting photosynthesis. 

 

Asparagus contains high levels of asparagine, an amino acid, which works as a natural diuretic in the body. Increased urination assists the body with excretion of excess fluids and salt and can be beneficial for those dealing with edema.

 

Both California and Michigan hold a festival in celebration of asparagus. 

 

Cooking Methods:

Asparagus is a versatile vegetable when it comes to cooking. It can be added raw to salads or on a veggie tray. It can also be grilled or baked in the oven with a little seasoning and olive oil. Throw some chopped asparagus in your eggs in the morning or in your next stir-fry meal. 

 

Try the following asparagus recipe!

 

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

  • 2 ½ lbs. fresh asparagus
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 lemon wedges

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the woody stalks of the asparagus (thicker pieces will have woodier stalks). Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with the lemon wedges.

 

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002.

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