Loving the BITE: Asparagus, Snow Pea, Chicken Stir Fry

Asparagus is one of those foods that you absolutely know must be extra-healthy for you just by looking at it.  It looks like it’s ready to defend itself.  And guess what?  When you eat it, it will add to your defenses.  And, it just might make you a better cyclist this week.

How?  Keep reading while enjoying our delicious recipe of the week:

Easy Asparagus, Snow Pea & Chicken (or other protein source) Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. organic chicken thighs or other protein source (shrimp, turkey breast, firm tofu, etc)
  • 16 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 cup fresh snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos or reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon water

Directions:

  • In a large skillet, stir-fry chicken on medium-high heat in 1 Tbsp peanut oil until browned AND cooked through. Set aside.  Add asparagus, snow peas, 1 Tbsp peanut oil, and butter.  Stir-fry for ~4-5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic powder; stir-fry 2 minutes longer.
  • Combine liquid aminos (or soy sauce)  and water; stir into skillet. Add back chicken.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Yield: 4 servings.

Comments:

How can asparagus make a difference in your cycling this week?

First, like most vegetables, it has major anti-inflammatory & anti-oxidant benefits (noticing a pattern?):

If fact, it has a unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients including saponins like asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin. These anti-inflammatory components reduce risk of many diseases, including brain and nervous system conditions, and promote overall health.

Alongside the anti-inflammatories, asparagus is full of anti-oxidants.  Vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E,  zinc, manganese, and selenium to name a few. It also contains my all-time favorite antioxidant: glutathione (read all about it @ http://lovingthebike.com/nutrition-tips/nutrition-tip-february-5-2011).

And what do many type of cancers have in common?  Well, many things, but one is an increased risk with chronic, excessive inflammation and chronic oxidative stress.  Enter anti-inflammatory factors and antioxidants, such as those from asparagus.

More asparagus = more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients = healthier, younger cells w/ reduced risk of disease = faster, healthy recovery = stronger cycling.  Solid Cyclist/Dietitian math.

Next, it aids digestion…Keep your gut healthy and it will keep you healthy:

Not many foods contain inulin (specific soluble fiber).  Asparagus happens to be a good source of it.   We’ve talked a good deal about probiotics (healthy bacteria that live and grow in your gut), but little about prebiotics.  Prebiotics are simply probiotic food – they allow the probiotics to stay healthy and proliferate.  One of their favorite foods is inulin.

More asparagus = more inulin = more probiotics = more healthy digestion and better immune function = more antioxidant absorption = more healthy days for cycling.   More solid math.

Keeps your heart healthy and blood sugars in check:

As we discussed above, it provides anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits.  This is always good for your heart, hormones and blood sugar.  Then, it has an amazing B-vitamin content – it’s an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6.  It contains choline, biotin, and pantothenic acid.   These vitamins are important for heart health, metabolism of sugar, and energy production.

More asparagus = healthy cells & more energy = faster, better, cycling.

Bonus Recipe:

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