Home Heart Health Recipes Healthy Table: Load up on asparagus for its healthy dose of folate and antioxidants

Healthy Table: Load up on asparagus for its healthy dose of folate and antioxidants

6 min read
Healthy Table: Load up on asparagus for its healthy dose of folate and antioxidants

Darlene Zimmerman, Henry Ford Health System
Published 6:00 a.m. ET April 15, 2018

Spring is a great time to reacquaint your family with fresh vegetables and there is no better time to add asparagus to the menu. According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, the Great Lakes State ranks second in the U.S. for asparagus production, harvesting approximately 20 million pounds a year.

Aside from taste, we have three great nutritional reasons why you’ll want to pick up some asparagus soon.

A mere five spears of asparagus provides almost half the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in blood clotting. It is so important that newborns receive a vitamin K injection immediately after birth to prevent bleeding. People taking anticoagulants or blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) must pay close attention to the amount of vitamin K they consume, as it can alter the effectiveness of the medication.

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Asparagus provides a healthy dose of the B vitamin folate. Pregnant women who don’t get enough folate are at risk of having a baby with neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Folate deficiency can also increase the chances of having a premature or low-birth-weight baby.

According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, asparagus contains glutathione, an antioxidant and potential cancer fighter.

When buying asparagus for today’s recipe, look for firm, bright green stalks that stand straight. The tips should be a deep green or purplish color, closed and compact. Partially open or wilted tips are signs of age. Store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator to preserve its tenderness and natural sweetness. For best quality, use within three days of purchase.

Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular 
Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.

Marinated Asparagus

Serve:  4 / Prep time: 20 minutes  / Total time: 20 minutes (plus marinating time)

Make sure you purchase enough asparagus for today’s recipe. It calls for 
one pound trimmed asparagus, which means you’ll need to purchase at least 1 ½ pounds untrimmed.

1 pound trimmed fresh asparagus spears
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup golden balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Steam asparagus spears by placing them in a steamer basket fitted over a 
saucepan filled with a ½-inch of water (water should not touch the bottom of the 
steamer basket). Cover tightly and heat to boiling; reduce heat to low and steam 
for 2 minutes. Immediately place steamed asparagus into a bowl of ice water (ice 
bath) to chill. Drain well and place in a container that allows marinade to cover 
spears. To prepare marinade, whisk together oil, orange juice concentrate, sugar, 
vinegar, water, mustard, salt, and pepper until sugar is dissolved. Pour marinade 
over asparagus, add garlic, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, allowing flavors 
to blend.

Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

47 calories (19% from fat), 1 grams fat (0grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 9 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 48 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 31 mg calcium, 2 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 vegetable. 

 

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