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It is the first week of spring and one of my favorite spring foods is asparagus. I buy from a local farmer and his asparagus just about melts in your mouth. But since I live in PA and we just got slammed the week before spring started, with 21 inches of snow and temps in the teens at night and 20’s and 30’s in the day, I think it might be awhile before we get local asparagus.
Benefits of asparagus
You might be thinking, “Why do I want to eat asparagus?” Well, for one thing it is a very healthy vegetable. It contains fiber, folate, fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K (very important for metabolizing fats in your body) and also the very necessary vitamin C. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. And along with chromium is the fact that it is a low-carbohydrate vegetable (most green veggies are low-carb), so it is a great food when dealing with insulin resistance.
It contains a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals, which makes it effective against certain cancers (bone, breast, larynx, lung, and colon). Other foods that also have glutathione are avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts, so you may want to get more of those in your diet as well.
Asparagus also is very high in antioxidants, which neutralize damaging free radicals in the body. (Free radicals contribute to cancer and also hasten aging, so both thing we don’t want in our bodies.) “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.” (source)
Asparagus does have the ability to make your urine smell different after eating it. Some people (but not all) can detect a strange, semi-sweet odor after eating asparagus, but not everyone has that ability. It comes from a compound unique to asparagus called asparagusic acid. This gets broken down into sulfur containing compounds and it is the sulfur which gives off the peculiar odor. It is not harmful to the body in anyway, so go ahead and eat asparagus until your heart is content. (source)
Who knew that the lowly asparagus plant had so many wonderful benefits? And I am in the mood for asparagus, so I decided to collect some recipes from some of the best food bloggers I know.