Our food pick of the month is like a super hero—fighting cancer, aging and heart disease!
Asparagus, the spear-shaped vegetable that’s at its peak right now, is packed full of disease-fighting properties. Here are five reasons to cook some tonight:
It’s a nutrient powerhouse. Asparagus is an excellent source of fiber, folate, potassium (promotes smooth kidney functioning), and vitamins A (for good vision), C, E and K. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
It could be the fountain of youth. Asparagus is chock-full of antioxidants; in fact, it is ranked among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Preliminary research says this may help slow the aging process.
It keeps your brain spry. This spring veggie contains folate, which, in addition to being a must-have for pregnant women (and those trying to get pregnant), works with vitamin B12 to prevent cognitive decline. A Tufts University study found that older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on speed and mental flexibility tests.
It helps kick cancer’s butt. This plant is rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down cancer-causing toxins. A diet that includes asparagus may help protect against certain forms of cancer, including breast, colon and lung cancers.
It may help lower blood pressure. Low-fat asparagus has high levels of the amino acid asparagine, a natural diuretic that helps rid the body of excess salt. Folks with high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases might want to stock up!
Note: Once harvested, asparagus can go bad quickly. Keep them in cool storage to maintain freshness.
Perfect Roasted Asparagus
1 pound asparagus, rinsed and tough ends discarded
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large baking pan, arrange asparagus in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle salt and pepper and toss gently to coat. Bake at 400 degrees until asparagus is tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.