By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2012-05-09 12:14:04 -0500
Started 2012-05-06 17:33:40 -0500

8 Health Benefits of Asparagus
Diana Herrington, May 2, 2012

It is asparagus season and that means it is spring!

Health Benefits:
1. Feeds friendly bacteria: Asparagus is 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 issues 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 yearly.

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

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

Trivia: Interesting Facts
* Asparagus historically was considered 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 one full ton of asparagus in 16 hours.
* Asparagus can grow up to 10 inches in a 24-hour period. (Wow)
* 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.
* The “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.
* All commercially grown asparagus must still be harvested by hand.

Asparagus Nutrition:
* It is a balanced vegetable packed with nutrients, making it a power-food.
* Very good source of vitamin K, the B vitamin folate, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
* 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 fiber (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 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 – a sulfur-like odor 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 spears. It is best to choose one or the other when cooking so spears will cook at the same rate.
* Avoid shriveled or smelly asparagus.
* If the woody bottom ends of the stalks exceed 15 percent of the total length of the spears, it is likely to be tough.
* It is fragile, damages easily and dries out quickly. It’s 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 more tender but that is not the case. Most often, jumbo stalks are more tender and succulent than their pencil-thin counterparts.

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

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.
* Lemon is another power-food that happens to be great for acid-alkaline balance.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-ben...
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-ben...
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-ben...
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-ben...

35 replies

GabbyPA 2012-05-07 21:09:41 -0500 Report

I like asparagus, but I am alone in the family in that category. I knew it was good for me, but I had no idea it was so useful. I like the skinny stalks. Have you eaten the white or purple ones?

Caroltoo 2012-05-07 23:31:13 -0500 Report

I have only eaten the green. I've seen the white and have a friend who will only eat the white as she says it is very good. I like the slender stalks also and the only times I've seen the white in the store, they were always big, fat stalks.

GabbyPA 2012-05-09 07:46:10 -0500 Report

I think that is what steers me away from choosing the other colors. I like mine skinny too, sauteed in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. YUM. I also like them raw in the form of a sandwich. Great with a little cream cheese or miracle whip. My brother used to eat them canned...I hated them for a long time because I had never had them fresh. I won't eat the canned ones...slime!

Nick1962 2012-05-07 09:53:34 -0500 Report

Mmmm love me some cream of asparagus soup, quiche and asparagus, asparagus with lemon pepper, grilled asparagus…
Didn't know the Greeks were responsible.
Asparagus is one of my "indicator" foods. Lets me know when it gets into the bloodstream and leaves.

jayabee52 2012-05-07 10:10:17 -0500 Report

how does it do that Nick?

Nick1962 2012-05-07 10:15:03 -0500 Report

Ya had to ask. I'm one of those that gets the strong sulphur odor. It comes and goes almost completely in sync with my blood sugar rise and fall.

jayabee52 2012-05-07 10:27:34 -0500 Report

I really was clueless regarding that. I have only recently started eating asparagus so I wouldn't know.

Caroltoo 2012-05-07 18:09:42 -0500 Report

Well, maybe you are one of the ones they are referring to when the article stated that "some people are genetically unable to detect the smell."

jayabee52 2012-05-07 11:00:48 -0500 Report

Didn't like it as a kid so I really didn't pursue it much in middle age. Neither 1st or 2nd wives cared for it either so not a lot of pressure to eat it. Don't know about my new GF SQ. I'll have to ask her. I really didn't know about the health benefits until recently.

Also there is a bit of a gag factor now with it because when I swallow the head part it scrapes the inside of my throat. (I had sauteed it)

I just bought some canned and will see if that is any better with the gag factor.

Caroltoo 2012-05-07 14:27:54 -0500 Report

Grew up on canned. Always liked asparagus flavor, but the canned has the texture of watery mush. Not pleasant to me now! I really find the flavor and texture of fresh much better. I usually sautee mine in EVOO, it doesn't get crispy like it can on the grill, but avoids the mushiness of the canned. You might give that a try as a third alternative.

Caroltoo 2012-05-08 11:03:29 -0500 Report

No, don't think so; can't quite wrap my tastebuds around that one because the fresh, light flavor is what I find attractive.

Nick1962 2012-05-08 11:09:41 -0500 Report

Pretty much a mountain thing here - pickled carrots, cauliflower, pole beans. definately an aquired tast.

Wound Lady
Wound Lady 2012-05-08 12:56:22 -0500 Report

I grew up on a farm in Missouri andwe grew all our food. pickled beets was on the list. Also canned beans,potatoes,had berries strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries,rubarb. Wonderful things that grew with no trouble. this Okie soil is hard to grow anything I like. (: I remember the beets cause I had to pull all 4 rows up then I had to clean them. Mother would cook the beets and pickle for the table then we canned the rest. One season we had 100 pints of pickled beet. 100 pints of tomatoes, green beans, peas, carrots. Canned peaches,pears, blackberries,gooseberries. We always fixed the strawberries for the freeze. We never went hungry. All the canned food went to the root cellar where we had potatoes, onions hanging.
We also made kectup, grape juice. I think of those days and wonder if our kids will ever have those things again. For sure none of us was in trouble. I spent my summer months working on the farm. Got up 5:30 AM worked till dark. Good old days.

Caroltoo 2012-05-08 13:09:48 -0500 Report

Sounds like some of the stories my mom told me about her growing up days in Missouri where she was born. Her family also farmed in Michigan for a large orphanage there. Must have felt right at home cause they had 12 kids of their own. After she and my dad met and married in Virginia, she did what she could with a home garden, but no more root cellars and such. I recall the endless bottles of canned goods from our garden in So. Cal. where I grew up. Right now, I have strawberries, 3 kinds of squash, eggplant, and 2 varieties of tomatores in bloom. I've already had some tomatoes and strawberries, the squash are just starting to bloom.

Caroltoo 2012-05-08 19:03:02 -0500 Report

The irony of it is that I'm growing my veggies on the lanai in hanging baskets because of the townhouse "rules" about everything having to be in a pot or planter and not in the ground. Dumb…!

Nick1962 2012-05-07 11:34:46 -0500 Report

Guess i can understand that. I prefer the tips myself (no one says you have to leave them on), but the canned stuff seems kind of mushy to me. We're not big on it - maybe 2x month - but I prefer it over broccoli.

Caroltoo 2012-05-07 14:29:14 -0500 Report

Oh, I am very big on it. It's a breakfast or lunch item 3-4 times a week. (Dinner tends to be lunch leftovers, given Wayne's usual dinner of a bowl of cereal.)

Next Discussion: When dose it get better »