This spring vegetable is rich in several vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent addition to any diet. Just half a cup (90 grams) of asparagus provides one-third of your daily folate needs. This amount also provides plenty of selenium, vitamin K, thiamin and riboflavin.
Getting enough folate from sources like asparagus can offer protection from disease and can prevent neural tube birth defects during pregnancy. Some test-tube studies also show that asparagus may benefit the liver by supporting its metabolic function and protecting it against toxicity.
Summary: Asparagus is especially high in folate, which may help prevent neural tube birth defects. Test-tube studies have also found that asparagus can support liver function and reduce the risk of toxicity.
11. Red Cabbage
This vegetable belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables and, much like its relatives, is brimming with antioxidants and health-promoting properties. One cup (89 grams) of raw red cabbage contains 2 grams of fiber as well as 85% of the daily vitamin C requirement. Red cabbage is also rich in anthocyanins, a type of plant compound that contributes to its distinct color as well as a whole host of health benefits.
In a 2012 animal study, rats were fed a diet designed to increase cholesterol levels and increase plaque buildup in the arteries. The rats were then given red cabbage extract. The study found that red cabbage extract was able to prevent increases in blood cholesterol levels and protect against damage to the heart and liver. These results were supported by another animal study in 2014 that showed that red cabbage could reduce inflammation and prevent liver damage in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet.
Summary: Red cabbage contains a good amount of fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins. Certain studies show that red cabbage may decrease blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and prevent heart and liver damage.