Spicy Asparagus

This is another simple vegetable dish that is delicious. I like to marinate the garlic and chili flakes in the oil for at least 15 minutes. This is the first step that I’ll do before I start cooking anything for the meal — which guarantees the oil will sit for at least that long and usually a good deal longer. It really helps with flavoring the dish. By the way — this is spicy!

Spicy Asparagus

2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tbls olive oil 1 tsp red chilli flakes (cut in half for a less spicy version) 1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed 1 tbl filtered water salt to taste

  1. Chop the garlic and place it in a small bowl with the olive oil and red chili flakes and set aside.
  2. Wash and trim the asparagus.
  3. Add the oil mixture to a sauté pan over medium heat, once you begin to smell the garlic add the asparagus and toss to coat. Cook for about three to four minutes.
  4. Add water to the pan, cover and cook until asparagus is tender, about seven minutes.

Nutrition Nuggets

Asparagus is low in calories and carbohydrates while relatively high in protein compared to other vegetables. It has been used historically to treat arthritis due to its unique phytochemicals and anti-inflammatory properties.

Garlic is a nutritional powerhouse and has many medicinal properties which are thought to be largely the result of the sulfur-containing compounds it contains. It has high levels of trace minerals, particularly selenium. Studies have shown that garlic decreases total cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL, which is protective against heart disease. It has also shown to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Garlic has been used throughout history to fight infections. It is antimicrobial due to the sulfur compound allicin, which has been shown to be effective against colds, flu, stomach viruses, as well as stronger pathogens. Garlic appears to be protective against some cancers. Studies have shown that as few as two or more servings of garlic a week may help protect against colon cancer.

Red Chili Peppers actually help reduce body temperature. It sounds counter-intuitive, but capsaicin, the phytochemical in chili peppers, stimulates the cooling center of the hypothalamus in the brain. This is why traditionally, people in tropical climates have used hot chili peppers medicinally and therapeutically. Capsaicin has also been shown to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which our bodies burn calories and fat for energy. Studies have shown that adding chili peppers to your diet, along with garlic is a natural and effective way to help your body burn fat. Capsaicin has also been shown in clinical research to be an effective pain reliever, a digestive, and an anti-ulcer aid. A New England Journal of Medicine study recently found that daily doses of red pepper significantly reduce symptoms of indigestion.