Asparagus

thick-purple-haze-asparagus

Asparagus is another easy and delicious vegetable to incorporate into your diet. It pairs well with seafood, chicken, rice or steak. You can lightly steam it,  saute it or even eat it raw.

Asparagus is a powerful anti-inflammatory and rich in numerous vitamins. You may improve your blood sugar levels due to all the B Vitamins, relieve digestive issues due to the inulin content, and may reduce your chances of cancer by decreasing inflammation. The stalk contains a “truly unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Among these anti-inflammatory nutrients are asparagus saponins, including asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin. One of these saponins (sarsasapogenin) has been of special interest in relationship to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Even though ALS is classified as a chronic, neurodegenerative disease and is not currently accepted as an autoimmune disorder, excessive, unwanted inflammation may play an important role in the death of certain nerve cells (motor neurons) in ALS.” WHfoods

Asparagus is rich in a long list of Vitamins and nutrients including Vitamin K, Vitamin A, folate, iron, B1, Vitamin C, Copper, tryptophan (anti-wrinkle), B2, figer, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, Vitamin E (good for skin),  phosphorus, B3, B6, protein, choline, zinc, magnesium, selenium, B5, and calcium. It also contains the anti-inflammatory flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin and the amino acids glutamic acid, glycine, and cysteine.

Spring is the season for asparagus. April and May are peak times in the United States. I just bought the ones photographed at Whole Foods and they are about an inch thick. Purple Haze are unique and a gorgeous purple color, hence the name. The green variety is always available.

Buy organic if you can. Look for ones that are less woody at the end and are easy to snap. Those are the freshest. Asparagus looses its nutrients very quickly and perishes much faster than many other vegetables. Enjoy the vegetable as soon as you purchase them. Even better, grow them in your garden and eat them the day they are picked for the maximum benefits.

References:
http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?pfriendly=1&tname=foodspice&dbid=12
http://www.alignlife.com/articles/digestivehealth/Its_Time_for_the_Power_of_Asparagus.html

 

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Recipe by Back To Organic at http://backtoorganic.com/asparagus/