If you caught me pausing in front of the asparagus bin, you might wonder what the big deal is. The hopeful but torn expression on my face would be more suitable for one picking out a engagement ring for their beloved, rather than a simple vegetable choice.
This is what is passing through my mind:
- Wow, asparagus! It tastes so delicious!
- Look at the price! Even on sale it’s twice any other vegetable!
- The last time I bought asparagus, half of it went badal!
- Asparagus is so good. There is nothing so delicate and unique as freshly steamed asparagus!
- Maybe I can keep it fresh and use it right away?
- I will try again! After all it’s so good for you!
In the end, I rationalize my purchase with the health benefits of this unique powerfood.
9 Health Benefits:
1. Traditional Aphrodisiac
Many cultures traditionally consider asparagus to be a natural aphrodisiac. Although there is not a lot of research to back this up, its close “cousin” Shatavari (also part of the asparagus family) is called “she who possesses 100 husbands” for good reason. Satavari is also known within the Ayurvedic health system to feed both male and female reproductive tissues and has been used to treat PMS and menopause symptoms for centuries.
2. Weight Loss
The calories in asparagus are 27 in one cup. With its high fiber content, and low glycemic index it is considered a smart carb. Too bad they haven’t invented asparagus chips or snacks. It would be so much better than junk food or fries.
3. Prevents Cancer
Asparagus is the food highest in glutathione, an important anti-carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute as well as the most potent antioxidant available.
Glutathione also makes asparagus a a great cleanser for the body! We use it in our Spring Cleanse.
4. Feeds Friendly Bacteria
Aparagus contains a unique carbohydrate called inulin. Inunlin promotes the growth and activity of these friendly bacteria in the intestines making it difficult for unfriendly bacteria to grow.
5. Helpful for Conception and Healthy Pregnancy
Aspargus is a great source of Folic Acid (B9, vitamin M). The only better plant source are leafy greens.
It helps prevent the neural tube defects that cause paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year.
6. Prevents Hangover
Amino acids and minerals in asparagus extract may ease hangovers and protect liver cells against the toxins in alcohol.
7. Natural Diuretic
Asparagus is a good source of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic. This increased urination releases fluid and helps rid the body of excess salts.
8. Naturally Organic
Because asparagus grows so quickly, the need for pesticides and other chemicals is next to none. Asparagus is on the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 list of fruits and vegetables with the lowest occurrence of pesticides. Of course, you can still eat organic for for that little bit extra of nutrition and buy organic to support the cause.
9. Alkalizes the Body
Like almost all vegetables, asparagus helps to balance out, what for most individuals is an overly acidic diet. Being more alkaline creates greater energy, beautiful skin, a stronger immune system and reduced risk of degenerative diseases.
Buy It Fresh and Use It Right Away!
Asparagus goes bad very quickly. Suddenly, it seems, those delicate tips grow soft and smelly! Asparagus can also dry out quickly. One popular way to keep asparagus fresh is to soak the stems in water. I haven’t tried this myself, but I know if you eat it asparagus right away you won’t have any regrets!
I’m writing this in Canada where late May to the end of June is the time for best local asparagus. Of course in the grocery store it is more widely available.
For Maximum Nutrition – Stick with the Green Asparagus.
White asparagus is created by covering the plants with soil so the light doesn’t reach the growing shoots. This reduces the overall nutrition, raises the price, and although you may think I’m overreacting, strikes me as kind of mean to the plants. Try purple asparagus if you want to spruce up your plate without sacrificing nutrition. But, since it’s so rare, it may expensive if you don’t grow it yourself.
5 Great Recipes:
Asparagus With Lemon Juice: A classic favorite. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Baked Asparagus If you have a bit more time, this has an extra heavenly taste.
Asparagus Tomato Salad Just try it. You will love it!
Written by Randy Fritz, co-creator with Diana Herrington at Real Food For Life.