Asparagus, an Aphrodisiac?
Did you know that this long, slender, easy to cook vegetable is as good for your love life as it is for your health? Asparagus is said to be an aphrodisiac, as it is high in nutrients such as vitamin E which helps support the production of your sex hormones. It's also a must-eat for mothers-to-be as it contains a a high amount of folate. This nutrient also helps to increase histamines, which can stimulate your sex drive.
In addition to vitamin E and folate, asparagus also contains potassium, fiber, iron, manganese, protein, thiamin, chromium and vitamins A, B6, C and K. This veggie is a nutritional powerhouse! Let's take a look at how asparagus boosts our health...
- Regulates Blood Sugar— Asparagus contains the trace mineral chromium which helps regulate blood sugar and starches in the blood stream by helping insulin to transport glucose into the cells.
- Maintains Bone Health— Vitamin K is helpful for maintaining bone health in order to prevent osteoporosis and just half a cup of asparagus has more than half of your daily requirement of vitamin K.
- High In Antioxidants— Asparagus is rich in glutathione, an antioxidant which attracts toxins and free radicals and then carries them out of the body. It also contains selenium and beta-carotene which help to detoxify your body as well.
- Reduces Inflammation— You can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease by eating a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods such as asparagus. This succulent veggie contains anti-inflammatory compounds such as asparanin A, diosgenin, sarsasapogenin and protodioscin.
- Aids Digestion— Asparagus contains inulin, a compound that remains intact all the way through your digestive system until it reaches the large intestine and provides healthy bacteria for your body.
- A Natural Diuretic— It contains high levels of asparagine which is an amino acid that helps to eliminate excess fluid from the body. Increased urination can help with detoxification and for those with edema.
- Cancer Prevention— The combination of anti-inflammatory properties of asparagus, paired with the antioxidants may protect you from cancer [I]. While research is on-going, preliminary findings have shown that the extracts from this vegetable can change the activity of cancer cells in your favor.
A quarter of the population is said to be aware of having smelly urine after consuming asparagus...I'm sure you know whether or not you are part of this group! Asparagus contains a distinct sulfurous amino acid that breaks down in the body. Since these component are volatile (airborne), some of us are keenly aware of the odor that wafts out. No worries though, it seems to be just a strangely unpleasant side effect. Don't let it stop you from eating these green beauties!
The most common type of asparagus is green but white and purple asparagus exist as well. The white variety is delicate which makes it difficult to harvest and thus pricier than it's green relative. Purple asparagus doesn't grow to be as tall but has a wonderful, fruitier taste.
Best When Fresh
An all-around great vegetable, asparagus recipes are best created and tastiest when consumed during it's peak growing season, which is early spring.
Asparagus also doesn't last long after being picked, so you should consume it within 48 hours of purchase. If your garden or farmers market has an abundance of it, blanch and freeze the asparagus spears and enjoy it well after the season is over.
Cooking and Serving Suggestions
This spring veggie is delicious fresh, baked, boiled, steamed and stir-fried. It goes well in salads and in pasta dishes and also makes a hearty cream-based soup. One of the simplest, healthiest and best tasting asparagus recipes is to lay it on a baking pan, drizzle olive oil on top and then sprinkle it with freshly chopped garlic and sea salt. Bake it at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tender. The addition of garlic doubles this dish's immune-boosting power!
[I] L. Reddya , B. Odhava , K.D. Bhoola. "Natural products for cancer prevention: a global perspective". Pharmacology & Therapeutics 99 (2003) 1-13. Web. June. 2016. <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lalini_Reddy2/publication/10709542_Natural_products_for_cancer_prevention_a_global_perspective_Pharmacol_Ther/links/566040ac08ae1ef929857ebb.pdf>.