Top Asparagus Health Benefits
You may see asparagus in your grocery store year-round, but spring is the best time to enjoy this nutrient-packed vegetable. During its peak season in April, asparagus has a fresh, mild, and earthy flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes, from fresh fish and salads to hearty pasta dishes. Read on to learn the health benefits of asparagus and how to incorporate this veggie into your diet.
Support Cognitive Health
A half-cup of asparagus provides 34% of the recommended daily intake of folate. This vitamin promotes cognitive function, and low folate levels in adults over 60 is associated with poor cognitive function and dementia. While cognitive decline is associated with many factors and more research needs to be conducted on the effect of folate on cognitive performance on older adults, several studies have shown that consuming sufficient dietary folate may combat the risk of cognitive decline.
Promote Blood Clotting & Bone Health
A half-cup serving of asparagus contains 37% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K was named for its ability to coagulate (or clot) blood, so maintaining the proper dietary intake of this vitamin can prevent excessive bleeding (however, individuals on blood thinners should consult their doctor before changing their diet or boosting their intake of vitamin K). New research has shown that vitamin K plays a larger role in human health than blood clotting alone - low vitamin K intake is also associated with lower bone density and an increased risk for bone fractures.
READ MORE: New Research Shows A Link Between Bone Health & CoQ10
Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Asparagus contains chromium, a mineral that promotes human health. Chromium is often referred to as an “essential trace element” because humans only need a small amount of the nutrient to lead a healthy lifestyle. Consumed as part of a healthy, well balanced diet, Chromium helps normalize blood sugar levels by improving the way our body uses insulin - namely, the nutrient helps transport glucose from the bloodstream to the cells more effectively.
Heart-Healthy Asparagus Recipes
Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetable options - with just a touch of olive oil and an almost unlimited number of seasoning options, this veggie can be transformed to suit just about any palate. This roasted asparagus recipe is easy and provides several topping ideas to play with. For a bold, summery flavor, try grilled asparagus instead - the char of the grill will add richness and depth to your dish. If you have leftovers, chop up the stalks and throw them into a salad or pasta - depending on how you season the asparagus, it can go with almost any meal!