Asparagus & Reasons to Love It!
Asparagus season is just about here and if you fancy picking some yourself to share with family & friends why not try out a pick-your-own farm like Wash Farm http://www.washfarm.co.uk/page2.html. Not only does asparagus taste great and look stylish on your plate it also has a staggering number of health benefits:
As a detox – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium per cup. Potassium is known for reducing belly fat. It also contains 3 grams of fiber which cleanses the digestive system. It has virtually no natural sodium so no bloating during PMS, has no fat or cholesterol, and one cup has only 40 calories.
For anti-aging purposes – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. It is also very high in glutathione – an amino acid compound with protent antioxidant properties; a must as an anti-aging deterrent. Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals.
As an aphrodisiac – the asparagus is considered a psycho-physiological aphrodisiac because of its shape. It is said to trigger the mind to have a physiological response.
Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate which is now known to be an important protection against cancer. Note: Folate is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, and citrus fruits. While folic acid is said to be the same as folate, folic acid is the supplemental form.
Reducing pain and inflammation – it is the folate that helps reduce inflammation.
Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes. Asparagus has been listed as the number one source of vitamin K.
Reducing the risk of heart disease – it is the folate that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate (doctors often recommend the folic acid supplement) is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect).
For more about asparagus and how best to cook it, I enjoyed this Guardian article by country-tastic Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/may/09/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-recipes