Monday, October 5, 2009

Asparagus Week!!


Let's ring in Asparagus week. I know it's not exactly the height of asparagus season, but one of the great things about living in California is the abundance of this veggie year round. Asparagus also happens to be an incredibly flavorful veggie that is both filling and low calorie. It's name comes from the Persian word asparag meaning "shoot" or "sprout." Makes sense right? In America it has taken on some funny variations of it's name- in Texas it is Asper Grass and in some places you can hear it called Sparrow Guts.

Asparagus is a member of lily family along with onion, leeks and garlic. After harvest it grows into a fern. I can't picture that but that's what good ol' Wiki says.


Ok. Nutritional overview of this green powerhouse. Asparagus provides approximately 60% of your recommended daily allowance in folates, remember those from Artichoke week? Folates help produce and maintain new cells and help to prevent changes in DNA and RNA that may lead to cancer. They also help with the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid, which if you have too much of can lead to developing heart disease and Alzheimer's disease as well as increase the risk of osteoperosis. Folates help with the creation of healthy red blood cells which prevents anemia.

In addition to their folic fun, asparagus are rich in potassium, vitamin c, vitamin b6, and Thiamin. Asparagus is a diuretic, meaning it will flush you out, taking toxins with it. But my favorite benefit to these vegetable swords of nuturion is the- inulin. Inulin you ask. Inulin is a fiber that is undigestible by us humans but when ingested feeds your flora. Which can lead to some "tummy shame," otherwise known as gas, when the bacteria in your intestines digests the inulin fiber. Also the indigestible fiber moves through the colon helping with regularity, kind of like a bottle brush scrubbing out the excess junk. Gross I know. Inulin is also linked with the management to diabetes because it does not break down into a sugar. Inulin is increasingly being added to foods for the fiber benefits.


We can't have Asparagus week and not talk a little about pee. That smell that your pee gives off after eating asparagus has been said to be the digested sulpher in the amnio acids. Oddly enough, only 22% of people have the autosoma genes necessary to smell it.

Ok enough about that, let's eat!!


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