Eat for Health: Asparagus

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I’ve been on an asparagus tip lately. Not only are these Lily family members versatile and delicious, they are one of the most royally healthful foods on the plant. Asparagus is an alkaline food rich in protein but low in calories. Here’s what you may gain in health by eating them:

  • Anti-Cancer Potential: Rich in folate, niacin, phosphorus, vitamins A, C, E, K, and glutathione and rutin (healing compounds for the liver and blood vessels), and one of the few vegetables that has the ideal calcium and magnesium ratio of 2:1.
  • Anti- Inflammatory: Provides a unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients which are some of the best risk reducers for common chronic health problems and in the relief of arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Blood Sugar Regulation:  Rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, and because B vitamins play a key role in the metabolism of sugars and starches, they are critical for healthy blood sugar management.
  • Detoxification:  Contains powerful detoxifying compounds that help to cleanse the body of water material, breaking down carcinogens and free radicals, while promoting cellular rejuvenation.
  • Digestion Improvement: A good source of dietary fiber and noteworthy amount of protein, and contains significant amounts of the nutrient inulin often referred to as a “prebiotic.” Unlike most other carbs, inulin doesn’t get broken down in the first segments of our digestive tract – it passes undigested all the way to our large intestine where it becomes an ideal food source for certain types of bacteria that are associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer.

One cautionary thing to note is that asparagus contains naturally-occurring substances called purines, which can be broken down to form uric acid. It’s been advised that people with kidney problems and gout should limit or avoid intake of purine-containing foods like asparagus.  Aside from this, it appears most people will have a lot to gain by adding these gems onto the dinner plate. Buy it fresh and in season, and do your body good.

Sources: here, here, here, here, and here

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