Protect your liver - eat asparagus!
Asparagus is such an amazing and flavorful vegetable. Packed with folate and other B vitamins, asparagus helps to promote heart health, stamina and a healthy weight.
Compounds in asparagus aid in liver health by nourishing the production of liver enzymes. Liver enzymes work to detoxify harmful substances that our bodies are exposed to daily from the environment and from biochemical reactions that naturally occur as a result of metabolism.
Michigan is the third largest grower of asparagus! Consider these facts from the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (www.aspagagus.org). You'll also find wonderful asparagus recipes in the mealbox menu planner to the right (and two of my favorite recipes below!)
*The larger the diameter, the better the quality! Choose asparagus with tight and compact purple tips. At home, trim the ends of spears and stand them upright in about an inch of water, cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Or wrap the ends with damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
*Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food which in high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
*Asparagus has No Fat, contains No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium.
*Asparagus is a member of the Lily family.
*Asparagus spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils.
*Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10" in a 24-hour period.
*Each crown will send spears up for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer.
*The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking...early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, a particular field may have to be picked every 24 hours.
*After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns, which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season.
*An asparagus planting is usually not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted allowing the crown to develop a strong fibrous root system.
*A well cared for asparagus planting will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted.
Asparagus, Shrimp & Pesto Pasta
Makes: 6 servings, 1 1/2 cups each, Total Time: 35 minutes
•8 ounces Meijer whole-wheat fettuccine
•1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
•1/2 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
•1/4 cup prepared pesto
•2 teaspoons Meijer extra-virgin olive oil
•1 pound raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
•1 cup dry white wine (optional, reduced sodium chicken broth may be substituted)
•Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions specify. Add asparagus and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the fettuccine and asparagus and return to the pot. Stir in peppers and pesto. Cover to keep warm.
2.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 3 minutes. Add wine, increase heat to high and continue cooking until the shrimp are curled and the wine is reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and the reserved cooking water to the pasta; toss to coat. Season with pepper and serve immediately.
Per serving : 303 Calories; 8 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 115 mg Cholesterol; 32 g Carbohydrates; 21 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 284 mg Sodium; 292 mg Potassium
2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat
Source: From EatingWell: March/April 2007, EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook
1 lb. Asparagus, ends trimmed
1 large sweet onion, thickly sliced
2 Tbls. Meijer Italian Dressing
1 Tbls. minced garlic
(Prep Time:5 minutes, Total Time:10 minutes)
1. Preheat grill to medium-high (350°F to 400°F). Fold the edges of a sheet of heavy-duty foil to form a pan. Snap tough ends off asparagus, season with salt and pepper; place onion slices and asparagus spears in foil pan.
2. In a small bowl combine dressing and garlic drizzle over asparagus. Place foil pan with asparagus on grill. Grill, covered, 6 to 8 minutes, or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning occasionally.
Sat, March 13, 2010
by Healthy Living Dietitians filed under