Even though the White Asparagus is no easy to get out here in the tropics, when it is in season in other parts of the world (i.e. springtime.. around the month of April or so) and we see it on the menu is some restaurants, we obviously go for them because they are so darn elusive.. and so bloody tasty!
It may look unappealing because it is so pale, but you can be sure it has high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients for the body.
Fresh asparagus is rich in folates – Folates are one of the important co-factors for DNA synthesis inside the cell. The shoots are also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid. These group of vitamins are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions. They are also full of antioxidants such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A, and vitamin-E. Regular consumption of foods rich in these vitamins helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
It contains Vitamin K – role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
And finally it is also bursting with minerals, especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for cellular respiration and red blood cell formation.
And the reason why white asparagus is white, is because they have not let the green ones turn green. They cover up the stalks in a thick layer of mulch and dark plastic so that no sunlight reaches the spears – i.e. no photosynthesis. As such, the pale white asparagus spears that have a more delicate flavor than their green cousins.
The Green vs. the White
1. White asparagus has a more mild or delicate flavor than your usual green asparagus. Since it is more labor intensive, it is generally more expensive than green asparagus.
2. One serving of White asparagus has 20 calories, no fat, 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of natural sugar. For green asparagus it would be 25 calories, 2.75 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs, 2.7 grams of fiber and 2.4 grams of natural sugar.
3. White asparagus does not seem to be as high in phenols, a natural antioxidant plant compounds, as its green relative.
4. Some analysis shows vitamin C content in White asparagus higher than the content listed in official USDA tables for green asparagus; however it’s not clear whether testing methods in these reports give directly comparable results.
5. Green asparagus is an excellent source of the B vitamin folate. Overall, the White asparagus has only a minute less amount of nutrition than green asparagus, but it is so much more plump and succulent. Be sure to add this to your diet, as it’s still a healthy choice!