If you're still debating which side dishes to feature on your holiday table, asparagus may be a good bet. Whether you steam the spears lightly (they're best when they're bright green and still crisp) and serve them with olive oil and a dash of salt or a salt-free spice blend; steam them and serve them with your favorite dressing for dipping; or toss them with a little olive or coconut oil and roast them until they're just tender, they're always delicious. But, beyond being tasty, they're also full of various vitamins, minerals, fibers, and other plant compounds that contribute to a balanced diet. Here's a breakdown of just a few of them:
- Inulins. Asparagus contains inulins, which are chains of fructose sugars that are not digestible by the human intestinal enzymes; instead, they're digested by friendly colon bacteria, strengthening their colonies and improving our digestive and immune health. They also appear to help lower triglyceride levels.
- Vitamin K. Like other green vegetables, asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K. One cup provides all you need for one day.
- B Vitamins. Asparagus spears are high in vitamin B1 (thiamine), and a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin).
- Antioxidants. This green veggie contains a number of antioxidants, including selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc, all of which may help protect the heart and blood vessels.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition