Asparagus Health Benefits! YUM!

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Just Blogging
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How do y’all feel about asparagus? Its one of my favorite sides for our meals! I love it just steamed or grilled but there are so many ways you can incorporate it into your meals! I love love it! And if you haven’t tried it you really should it has great health benefits and is so yummy!

Health Benefits of Asparagus

And just as a spear is used as a weapon, asparagus’s javelin-shaped form could be viewed as symbolic for its age- and disease-fighting abilities. Asparagus is just packed with health benefits:

It’s loaded with nutrients: Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.
Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, ranking among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This, according to preliminary research, may help slow the aging process.

Another anti-aging property of this delicious spring veggie is that it may help our brains fight cognitive decline. Like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12—found in fish, poultry, meat and dairy—to help prevent cognitive impairment. In a study from Tufts University, older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility. (If you’re 50-plus, be sure you’re getting enough B12: your ability to absorb it decreases with age.)

One more benefit of asparagus: It contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic, and increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema (an accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues) and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.

And finally, to answer a question I often get regarding why eating asparagus causes a strong urinary odor: asparagus contains a unique compound that, when metabolized, gives off a distinctive smell in the urine. Young asparagus contains higher concentrations of the compound so the odor is stronger after eating these vernal shoots. There are, however, no harmful effects, either from the sulfuric compounds or the odor! While it is believed that most people produce these odorous compounds after eating asparagus, few people have the ability to detect the smell.

The most common type of asparagus is green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier in flavor. No matter the type you choose, asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads.

Keep in mind these cooking tips to preserve antioxidants and keep your preparation healthy:

Roast, grill or stir-fry your asparagus. These quick-cooking, waterless methods will preserve the fabulous nutritional content and antioxidant power of asparagus.

Enjoy your asparagus without salt, butter or sauces to get the most out of its diuretic properties, as salt can cause water retention in some people.

Cheryl Forberg, R.D., is a James Beard Award-winning author, the nutritionist for NBC’s The Biggest Loser and author of Positively Ageless: A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You (Rodale, 2008).

Comments
  1. rachelaugh says:

    We love asparagus. One of our favorites, grilled, steamed, or roasted! YUM!

  2. cathyo says:

    one of my favourite way to eat asparagus is to wrap small bunches of 2 or 3 spears in a piece of proscuitto and grill them up…totally amazing! The asparagus cooks perfectly and the proscuitto goes nice and crispy…delish! every time we have asparagus, my kids say “oh great…my pee is going to smell bad later”! They think that is hilarious!

  3. I Love asparagus also. Folk who’ve not tried this, may give it a try and will love it too. The key to a wonderfully healthy diet is a variety of wonderful foods to enjoy. Lovely Blog

  4. UGH…. it is one of the two things (the other is beets) that I will NOT eat…. It figures it would be good for me….

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