Asparagus. The sight and taste of this pungent dark green vegetable brings back so many memories. When I was a child I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house in Southern Ontario. My cousins, sister and I would spend all day, every day, outside playing and exploring. Of all the wonderful ways we spent our time, one of my favorite activities was scouring the road side for wild asparagus. If we looked carefully we could search out a precious stalk or two. We would snap the tender green tops off their woody stems and proudly carry them home to give to my grandmother. She would, in turn, kiss our cheeks and tell us how wonderful we were in a way that grandmas do best.
These days I have to go to the grocery store or farmers market to source out my asparagus. However, it is still a staple in our diet during the spring and summer months. My children love it as much as I do! In fact, at one point my son proudly announced it as his favorite food. I have also come to appreciate this delicious vegetable for even more reasons, including its amazing nutritional benefits. Asparagus is a powerful food that improves the health of the gut and increases a feeling of satiation.
Asparagus is very high in inulin. Inulin is a special type of carbohydrate that doesn’t break down until it reaches the large intestine where it acts as a prebiotic or food source for important gut bacteria. When the gut bacteria is balanced, feeding the microbiome may improve the digestion and subsequent absorption of nutrients, reduce the development and frequency of allergies and intolerances and bolster the immune system.
Asparagus is also rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Its fiber content makes asparagus an excellent food for increasing feelings of satiation and delaying hunger. For this reason, enjoying asparagus at breakfast can help us feel fuller for longer and reduce overeating. This may, in turn, support gentle weight loss.
When selecting your asparagus it is important to look for the thinner stems. Fat asparagus tends to have a woody texture and is not as tender and flavorful. Use your asparagus as soon as possible after purchasing to ensure that it is at it’s tastiest and most nutritious. To store asparagus, trim the ends and place upright in a glass of water. Cover it with a plastic bag and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
If you don’t eat asparagus regularly I hope that this short blog has inspired you to get to it!