Asparagus – The Balanced Powerfood

| April 21, 2009 | 8 Comments

 asparagus benefits 2 (randy-HP's conflicted copy 2014-04-29)

It is Asparagus season and that means it is Spring!

“Keep bees and grow asparagus, watch the tides and listen to the wind instead of the politicians …if you want to live the good life.” – Miriam Waddington, Driving Home ‘Advice to the Young’.

Health Benefits:

1. Feeds friendly bacteria. One of the few vegetables containing a carbohydrate called inulin. Inulin promotes the growth and activity of these friendly bacteria in the intestines making it difficult for unfriendly bacteria to grow.

2. Anti-Carcinogen: Asparagus is the food highest in glutathione, an important anti-carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute.

3. The root is used to treat urinary as well as kidney and bladder stones.

4. Help with a hangover. Researchers say amino acids and minerals in asparagus extract may ease hangovers and protect liver cells against the toxins in alcohol.  “These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.” said lead researcher B.Y. Kim, Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea.

5. Is used as a tonic in Ayurvedic medicine.

6. Excellent source of folacin which has been shown to help in the prevention of neural tube defects that cause paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year.

7. Has many medicinal properties according to the ancient Romans.

8. Easy Weight Loss: Like many vegetables has very low sugar content, smart carbs,  zero fat,   a low glycemic index, and lots of fiber.

8. Naturally Organic:  Because asparagus grows so quickly the need to pesticides and other chemical is reduced.  It 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. Traditional Aphrodisiac:   Many cultures traditionally consider asparagus to be a natural asphrodisiac. Although there is not a lot of  research to back this up, it’s 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.

white asparagus powerfood

Trivia and Interesting Facts about this Powerfood:

  • Asparagus historically was considered as an aphrodisiac, probably because of its phallic shape.
  • White asparagus is regular asparagus, just covered from the sun so green chlorophyll doesn’t develop.
  • Helmut Zipner peeled a ton of asparagus in 16 hours! – Guinness Book of Records
  • Asparagus can grow up to 10 inches in a 24-hour period!
  • Did you know that asparagus is a member of the lily family?
  • Besides being yummy the asparagus plant is very long lived, lasting up to 15 years!
  • “Asparagus Capital of the World” in Schwetzingen, Germany holds its annual asparagus festival in the first week of May. The person who grows the heaviest stalk is named Spargel King or Queen. Also asparagus chefs compete to create the best recipes. http://www.zurika.com/2007/05/spargelfest.html
  • All commercially grown asparagus must still be harvested by hand.

Asparagus Nutrition:

  • It is a nutritionally balanced vegetable full of lots of nutrients making it a powerfood!
  • Very good source of vitamin K, the B vitamin folate, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
  • Is filled with B vitamins (B1, B2, B3 and B6).
  • Excellent source of folacin.
  • Full of the minerals manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.
  • Good source of fibre (3 grams per 5.3 oz. serving).
  • Even has some protein (3 grams per 5.3 oz. serving).
  • It contains No Cholesterol or Fat.
  • Very low in sodium.
  • Less than 4 calories per spear.

asparagus powerfood

History

Asparagus was first cultivated 2,500 years ago by the Greeks.

Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans liked asparagus as much as we do and ate it when in season.

Please Note:

Some people have strong smelling urine after eating asparagus, sulphur like odour resulting from the digestion of certain amino acids. And some people are genetically unable to detect the smell!

Buying Asparagus:

  • Best to buy fresh at the farmer’s market.
  • Choose firm, bright-green spears with closed and dry tips. Asparagus can have thick or thin best if you choose one or the other when cooking so spears will cook at the same rate.
  • Avoid shrivelled or smelly asparagus and if the woody bottom ends of the stalks exceed 15% of the total length of the spears is likely to be tough.
  • It is fragile, damages easily and dries out quickly; best to eat as soon as possible.
  • Gently squeeze the bunch of asparagus — if it squeaks, it’s fresh.
  • You may think the thin stalks are tenderer but that is not the case; often jumbo stalks are more tender and succulent than their pencil-thin counterparts.

How to Store:

  1. Cut off the bottom inch of the stalks.
  2. Wrap the freshly cut stems in a wet paper towel.
  3. Place the asparagus in a plastic bag.
  4. It will last in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
  5. For a longer life; stand asparagus upright (cut end down) in water, and cover it with a plastic bag to retain moisture.

asparagus ends

Tips for eating or cooking:

  • The easiest way to get asparagus into your diet is to eat it raw; simply cut it up and add to your salad.
  • Another simple thing to do is to just steam it for a few minutes and it is done. Careful not to overcook it.

asparagus tomato salad

5 Great Recipes: 

Asparagus Tomato Salad   Just try it.  You will love it!

Asparagus With Lemon Juice:  A classic favorite.  It doesn’t get any better than this!

Cream of Asparagus Soup This delicate delight is dairy free and gluten free.  It also is NOT heavy.

Baked Asparagus   If you have a bit more time, this has an extra heavenly taste.

White Bean and Asparagus Stew  This contains three powerfoods, asparagus, seaweed, and Stevia.

Copyright © Diana Herrington You are welcome to share this article with anyone who you think may benefit from this information as long as you give credit to Real Food for Life by including the link to the home page www.RealFoodforLife.com or the direct link to the post. Asparagus Season

About Diana Herrington

I am the Founder and Author at Real Food For Life. Taught cooking classes worldwide. Create original, healthy recipes and menus, which are gluten free and white sugar free. Also, the author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.

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Category: Nutrition, PowerFoods

Comments (8)

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  1. Riesah Prock says:

    Onions, shallots, artichokes

  2. George Arthur says:

    The lily family is asparagus, chives, garlic, leel(aster), onion, and sparsparilla

  3. George Arthur says:

    that is leek

  4. Diana says:

    Gosh, it is looking like George is going to be the winner unless anyone can come up with more…there is one more that I can think of. :) Must say I had not heard of sparsparilla, then I realized it was a spelling thing so the name is sarsaparilla.
    I found out that Native Amazonian people have used sarsaparilla to improve their virility and to treat problems associated with menopause.
    Caution though as this is a medicinal herb:
    Sarsaparilla can cause nausea and kidney damage; large dosages taken over long periods of time must be avoided at all costs.

  5. John Prokopchuk says:

    I don’t know too much about the veg but my answer is
    onion , garlic, leek, & chives.

  6. Diana says:

    You are right John but I have to say that George did discover more then you did so it looks like he is the winner of the ‘Vegetable Smartie’ contest unless anyone comes up with the one that has not been found out yet……good thing I am not in the running. :)

  7. Diana says:

    Okay, I guess I better say the one lily family food that is missing….lily bulbs.

    Lilium bulbs are starchy and edible as root vegetables, although bulbs of some species may be very bitter. Their texture and taste are similar to a potatoes.

    Caution: Many varieties of lily are toxic to cats, causing acute renal failure even in small amounts.

    When you decide to cook up some lily bulbs make sure they are the edible type and the best way to do that is to go to a Chinese vegetable store where they sell them.

  8. Tyler Clarke says:

    my grandfather is fond of ayurvedic medicines coz he know that it works well”`’

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