Asparagus is renowned as an excellent source of folic acid, a B vitamin that is essential for proper cellular division and DNA synthesis as well as a healthy cardiovascular system.
Asparagus also provides health-promoting carotenoid phytonutrients, such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which can function as powerful antioxidants that protect cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
There are over 300 varieties of asparagus, although only 20 are edible. These fall into 3 categories, green, white and purple. Asparagus is an almost leafless perennial that belongs to the Lily family and a single plant can produce spears for up to 20 years.
Health benefits of asparagus include, digestive health, has natural diuretic properties, hearth health, bone health, promotes fetal health as well as helps with energy production. They are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals to include, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese as well as many others.
Four out of ten people notice that their urine has a strong sulfur odor after eating asparagus. A variety of chemicals- many fall into the thiol family of chemicals- are responsible for the “asparagus smell.” These compounds have been shown to have no adverse effects on the body.
For best results with cooking asparagus, lightly sauté but do not overcook them. Over cooking asparagus will significantly decrease its nutritional value: as much as 50% of some nutrients can be lost.
Asparagus and also be served raw, try chopping them and adding a little olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, sea salt and pepper, and sprinkle parmesan cheese or enjoy the stalks of raw asparagus with your favorite vegetable dip.
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