Food of the month: Asparagus
Asparagus are poor in calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of folic acid, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin C.
They are also a fair source of calcium and fiber.
Benefits of Asparagus:
Asparagus season begins around mid-April and lasts approximately two months. Asparagus is one of the most nutrient rich foods. It provides 60% of the RDA for folacin. Folacin is utilized in the body for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver diseases. Asparagus contains a measly 20 calories in 5.3 ounces, which is slightly less than 4 calories per spear! It contains NO fat, NO cholesterol, it’s low in sodium, high in potassium, fiber rich, thiamin, vitamin B6, and is one of the most abundance sources of rutin, a nutrient that that helps strengthen capillary walls.
100 g of asparagus provides 146 mg of vitamin B9 that is 1/3 of our recommended daily allowances.
Vitamin B9 is particularly important for pregnant women since not enough of it can cause the birth of a baby with spina bifida.
A Fresh asparagus contains various elements such as calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), potassium (K) and phosphorus (P).
There are old beliefs that asparagus could increase feelings of compassion and love, promote fertility, reduce menstrual cramping, and increase milk production in nursing mothers. In some countries they are also used as an aphrodisiac.
What to look for when purchasing asparagus:
This is the time of year when you’ll start to see more asparagus in the markets.
Look at the tip and ensure it is so tight that you could actually use it as a pen! That’s when you know you have the freshest piece. Why are some stems crooked and bent and others straight? Are the straight stems fresher? The answer to this question is bent and straight stems are equally fresh. Bent asparagus is caused by winds that bent it during its growing stages but it doesn’t affect the nutrient value of this veggie. One thing to note though is the green and white varieties are slightly healthier with more fiber and less sugar than the purple versions.
Quirky facts about asparagus:
The effect of eating asparagus on one’s urine has long been known since ancient times. Asparagus is filled with sulfur-containing amino acids that break down during digestion that give urine a unique smell. The sulfur is from the same compounds that give skunks their unique odor! This scent usually occurs within 15-30 minutes of asparagus digestion and although the scent occurs in 100% of individuals but interestingly enough only 40% of people carry the gene to smell it. But not to worry, it is not bad for one’s health. In fact, due to these diuretic properties it has been used for centuries as a medicine to cure urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones.
Below is the complete list of all great health benefits of asparagus:
* It is high in vitamin K and Folate
* Eat asparagus when you are pregnant or thinking about conceiving – because of it being high in folic acid it helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida
* Great for your heart
* Helps with menstrual cramps and fertility problems
* Great for your gastrointestinal tract and your colon
* Great food to help treat depression
* Has been known to increase the success rate of chemo therapy
* Is considered a diuretic which means it is a good anti-inflammatory – best for arthritis, asthma rheumatism, and even water retention…PMS
* Help get rid of warts
* Helps detoxify your body
* Add more asparagus to your diet to lower cholesterol
* Great for nursing mothers stimulating milk production
* Has antioxidant agents – prevents the effects of aging
* Has antifungal and antiviral qualities
* Great for your kidneys – cleansing your body by stimulating urination and preventing kidney stones
* Helps prevent bladder and urinary tract infections
* Known to be used as an a aphrodisiac – increase sexual and comforting feelings
* Helps with treating HIV
* Helps prevent multiple sclerosis
* Helps prevent scurvy
* Asparagus has anti-cancer agents – especially lung cancer
* Helps fight chronic fatigue syndrome
* Helps fight off high blood pressure
* If you bruise easily – eat more asparagus
* Is considered a laxative – eat an asparagus if you have diarrhea and constipation
* Great for your capillaries – eat more asparagus to avoid varicose veins
* Great for your eyes preventing cataracts
* If you are experiencing hair loss- eat more asparagus
* Helps treat toothaches