Asparagus, a vegetable that has been eaten as a delicacy since the Roman times, is perfectly in season. It is loaded with mood-boosting potential and and nourishing prebiotics, food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
The vitamin content is impressive, with abundant amounts of vitamin A, C, E and K. But asparagus also contains hard-to-get chromium, a mineral that enhances insulin’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Chromium is a common supplement for those who suffer with blood sugar highs and lows which result in mood swings.
Another mood enhancing property of this seasonal vegetable is that is delivers folic acid which is a B vitamin. In a recent study, older adults with healthy levels of folic acid and B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility.
As mentioned, asparagus is good for your gut. It contains a special type of fibre called inulin, which is a prebiotic - a source of food for microbiota, or healthy gut bacteria. Inulin doesn’t get broken down in the early stages of digestion and instead passes all the way to our large intestine where it boosts beneficial bacteria. This helps reduce intestinal disorders, which are linked with high levels of major depression and anxiety.
Asparagus tastes just as good when eaten raw, and even contains more beneficial prebiotic fibre when uncooked. Slice it finely, or shave it with a cheese grater and have it in a salad. Why don't you try the recipe below!
Shaved Asparagus Salad (Serves 1)
- 1 bundle asparagus, shaved
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1/2 reduced fat mozzarella in cubes or shaved parmesan for a more intense flavour
- 1/2 fresh lemon, juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- Sunflower seeds
Break of the ends of the asparagus and shave them with a vegetable peeler and add to a bowl. Toss in the chopped spring onions and mozzarella. Chop up the remains of the asparagus and add to the bowl. Make the vinaigrette with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and wholegrain mustard and add to the salad. Mix well and sprinkle over with some sunflower seeds.