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Spring deliciousness with Asparagus

Asparagus is a spring vegetable, derived from the lily family. It’s not definite where asparagus originated, most likely from the Mediterranean area, but we know today that asparagus was a food source two thousand years ago in ancient Egypt and Greece, the Roman Empire, and some Asian countries. It was widely used as medicine for its detoxifying, laxative effects and aphrodisiac qualities.

Asparagus could win an award for being a king vegetable full of healthy nutrients. It’s rich in folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium, and vitamin K. Potassium boosts diuretic properties, which help to detox the body by reducing fat, improving the digestive system, and preventing kidney stones. In ancient Rome, philosopher and surgeon Galen explained asparagus’s effects as ‘cleansing and healing’. Potassium also helps to prevent the loss of calcium, which benefits the bones and muscles. Asparagus acts as a potent antioxidant and reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, reduces inflammation, and promotes youth across the body’s organs. It also has a vitamin C, which keeps the immune system strong and lowers blood pressure. Folic acid helps to strengthen fertility and reduce birth defects in infants by regulating nerve-cell formation. Asparagus is known to help to prevent hair loss and fight fatigue and depression. Some people are concerned with the smell that occurs in urine after eating asparagus. Asparagus contains certain sulphur-containing compounds such as methyl mercaptan, which can produce a specific odour. Some scientists argue that asparagine, an asparagusic acid, should be blamed for the distinctive smell. However, the smell is not a worry; it happens to most people and can be an indication of normal kidney functioning.

This super aphrodisiac can be cooked in many ways. It’s often served on its own, boiled, steamed, or grilled, with some kind sauce on the side. In Europe, it’s accompanied by vinaigrette or hollandaise sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or olive oil. Asparagus is a great garnish for meat and fish dishes. It’s one of the key ingredients in Asian cuisine; it’s added to salads, sushi rolls and omelettes. I like asparagus in risottos, pastas, and sandwich wraps.

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This article was written on 19 Apr 2015.

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