Spring into action
Spring is in the air and one of the first vegetables of the season is asparagus. So, this month, let's focus on why asparagus should be at the top of your shopping list.
These wonderful spears, which start poking through the soil in spring, are loaded with goodness. To begin with, they are great for gut health thanks to their particular fibre. They provide a fabulous feast to the ‘good bacteria’ in the gut, which promotes healthy bowels.
Now, don’t be alarmed if you have strong smelling urine after eating asparagus - this is perfectly natural. In fact, during the asparagus season in the early 19thC, members of a British Men’s club were requested “not to relieve themselves in the hat stand" to avoid the pungent smell! This is just the sulphur compound that is so pungent!
Asparagus is also a great diuretic. This means that they may help to lower blood pressure, reduce pre-menstrual water retention and according to research, help to prevent kidney stones.
Like all plants, it is rich in antioxidants. The ones found in asparagus are famed for its anti-cancer properties as well as being important for healthy blood capillaries. In other words, great for anyone suffering from varicose veins, and haemorrhoids or those who may be at risk of having a stroke.
Finally, asparagus is very rich in folate, (folic acid) vitamins C, E and iron. These are not only important for foetal development but for DNA synthesis and keeping the brain young – how good does that sound?!
The Roman Emperor Augustus used to say “do it as quick as cooking asparagus”. He was right! I love asparagus slightly crunchy, which means just one minute on the boil, then served with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon and sprinkle of fresh pepper. Delicious and so quick!
Here’s another lovely easy recipe to help you spring into action.
Griddled asparagus with goats cheese, avocado and pine nuts (Serves 4)
1) 2 bundles of asparagus - washed, (woody ends trimmed) and marinated in a drizzle oil olive oil and fresh pepper for 30 mins.
2) 100g of rocket or watercress
3) 150g of goats cheese – cut into small pieces
4) 2 avocados – scooped out into chunks
5) 75g of pine nuts or walnuts
6) Juice of 1 lemon
7) A generous glug of olive oil
8) 2 tsp of grainy mustard
1) Griddled the asparagus for 2 minutes on each side
2) Divide the rocket onto the plates
3) Place the cooked asparagus, avocado, goats cheese and pine nuts onto the rocket.
4) Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, olive oil and mustard together.
5) Pour the dressing onto the dish just before serving.
Perfect for #diabetics, #coeliacs, #asparagus lovers, #healthy eaters.
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