Beverly’s Best: Asparagus

Asparagus

Wow, I recently had my first out of the garden asparagus and could not believe this succulent and tender ancient delicacy! The imported, greenhouse-grown asparagus available year-round just can’t match the flavor of fresh-from-the-garden stalks starting in some areas as early as February and extends through July in the Midwest and East.

 

This glorious veggie is a must have in your garden for not only the taste but did you know a cup of asparagus contains 70 percent of your daily-recommended amount of vitamin K, which helps transport calcium to your bones, and 20 percent of your vitamin A, which helps your immune system? It’s also a great source of protein and folate. Another reason to love asparagus? Eating it before your drink alcohol is known to ward off hangovers.

 

Check out the Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Oxidant Phytonutrients Benefits in Asparagus

Asparagus is heralded as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant food which are some of the best risk reducers we know for common chronic health problems, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As an anti-inflammatory food it provides a truly great combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients such as saponins, including asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin. Other anti-inflammatory nutrients in asparagus include the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin which many have been linked with improving allergies.

Of great interest, one of the saponins (sarsasapogenin) has been linked to benefit amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”. Excessive unwanted inflammation may play an important role in the death of certain nerve cells (motor neurons) in ALS. Saponins have also been associated with improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar regulation and better control of blood fat levels.

The wide variety of antioxidant nutrients in asparagus includes vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium. In addition to the antioxidant nutrients, this much-loved vegetable may also contain a valuable amount of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). GSH is one of the body’s best-studied antioxidants; it consists of three amino acids — glutamic acid, glycine, and cysteine — combined into one molecule. At least one published study has estimated the amount of GSH in fresh asparagus to average 28 milligrams per 3.5 ounces. Asparagus compares favorably with many of the cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, and while it ranks lower than some of the green leafy vegetables like spinach, it is still very high on the list of antioxidant foods.

ENJOY Raw or lightly cooked for The Health of It!