This tasty green veggie makes it onto my Super Foods list for a number of reasons. Let's start with the fact that asparagus is one of the best foods to help boost your body's production of glutathione.
What's glutathione—and what's so great about it?
It happens to be the most powerful antioxidant produced by the body and it plays a key role in your immune system. Specifically, when it comes to ensuring optimal heart health, glutathione has been shown to protect the integrity of your blood vessels by fighting inflammation and preventing damaging oxidation that can lead to clogged arteries.
Asparagus provides additional heart-health protection since it also contains alpha-linoleic acid and folic acid, both of which prevent hardening of the arteries.
And eating asparagus is simply a great way to fill up—and stay full—without having to worry about putting on weight. That's because asparagus is a slow-burning, low-glycemic index vegetable that is low in calories, while its stalks are high in satiating fiber.
Sides, Salads, Soups, and More
There isn't much you can't do to asparagus when it comes to preparing it. Steam it. Roast it. Grill it. Stir-fry it.
Asparagus is always a healthy family favorite at our backyard summer barbecues. You can also add asparagus to the menu by having it atop a salad, tossed in an omelet, or swimming in soup. Or try it ladled over pasta as in the recipe below. (Get more heart-healthy recipes.)
Since you can serve asparagus hot or cold, there is almost no limit to the ways you can enjoy this heart-healthy super veggie. In fact, our granddaughters love crispy asparagus baked in the oven (with a drizzle of organic extra-virgin olive oil) as a healthy substitute for French fries!
Spelt Pasta with Asparagus and Tomato
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 oz. asparagus, cleaned and cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 4 oz. spelt pasta, cooked according to package directions
- 6 basil leaves, slivered
- Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add garlic and asparagus and stir-fry until asparagus is tender. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes longer. Spoon mixture over pasta and garnish with basil and Parmesan.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 320, Fat 10 g, Sodium 125 mg, Carbs 49 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 13 g
WATCH: Dr. Sinatra's Top 12 Healing Foods
Video courtesy of HeartMDInstitute