Today we are talking about Asparagus. These spear-shaped veggies actually originated in the eastern Mediterranean over two thousand years ago. A succulent, tender vegetable, it was considered a delicacy. Although a vegetable, asparagus is actually a part of the lily family and can be found in variety of colours. That’s right, it’s really a flower! The green stuff we are most familiar with is the American and British variety, but you can also find purple, the French variety, and white which is know as the Spanish or Dutch variety.
This multicultural veggie has been highly regarded for its digestive system benefits. That’s good to know because a healthy digestive system is associated with a number of benefits including better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergies, as well as reducing the risk of some cancers.
For every cup of asparagus you get about 3 grams of fiber; 1 gram soluble fiber, and 2 grams insoluble. Those fibers make it a great food for maintaining a healthy weight. Soluble fiber helps slow down digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Insoluble fiber does the reverse, it helps speed up the waste going through your intestinal tract. This tasty vegetable can help keep a trim waistline with the ability to act as a natural diuretic, by reducing swelling and water retention.
Another interesting characteristic of asparagus is that it contains a protein called Inulin, which is a unique carbohydrate called polyfructan; a prebiotic. Inulin is one of the few things that doesn’t get broken down until it reaches the large intestine. Once it has made its way down there, it becomes food for some of the good bacteria living there (Lactobacilli & Bifidobacterria). It helps those little warrior bacteria grow and prevent the bad bacteria from taking over.
There are a number of creative ways to enjoy asparagus other than steamed. Try it tossed in your next salad, add it to pasta sauces or as a tasty topping for pizza.