Asparagus is a member of the lily family which includes leeks, garlic and onions. It has a spear top with bud-like, compact and pointed head.
Perhaps it may surprise you that there are a few hundred varieties of asparagus but only a small number is edible.
Although it’s available all year round, asparagus usually is most found and best in spring and is harvested when it is about 6 to 8 inches tall.
The variety we eat is usually green or greenish purple in color. There is also a white variety which is grown underground to preserve its delicate flavor. But these sunlight-deprived stalks also lack the goodness of chlorophyll.
Asparagus is expensive compared to other more common vegetables simply because it is harvested by hand.
Asparagus is an alkaline food which is rich in protein but low in calories and carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of potassium, folate, vitamins A, C and K, and traces of vitamin B complex.
A good source of dietary fiber, asparagus is also rich in niacin, phosphorus and very low sodium. And certainly most impressive is that it is one of those few vegetables that actually has the calcium and magnesium in the ideal ratio of 2:1.
Asparagus has an abundance of an amino acid called asparagine, that helps to cleanse the body of waste material. As a result, some people’s urine may have a foul odor after eating asparagus. Don’t worry if this happens to you. Just be glad that your kidneys are getting a good cleansing.
Asparagus is one of the few vegetables that is dense in healthful nutrients that help many ailments.
Acidity, Blood: The high alkalinity of this wonder juice is effective in reducing the acidity of the blood and helps cleanses the tissues and muscles of waste.
Arthritis and Rheumatism: A unique phytochemical in asparagus that produces anti-inflammatory effect helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism.
Bowel movement: Consume asparagus regularly for its mild laxative effect and dietary fiber that provides for regular bowel movement.
Cancer: Asparagus is a prime source of anti-oxidant and glutathione that can help prevent the dreaded cancer.
Cataracts: The anti-oxidant and glutathione in asparagus prevents the progression of cataracts and other eye problems.
Diabetes/Hypoglycemia: The healthful minerals in asparagus juice make it an important diet for people who are controlling their blood sugar levels. However, it is not to be taken by people with advanced kidney diseases.
Diuretic: Asparagus is a wonderfully diuretic vegetable and its efficacy is more pronounced when it is taken in juice form.
Heart disease: Drink a small amount of asparagus juice mixed with raw honey three times a day daily to strengthen a weak or enlarged heart.
Kidney: The diuretic and alkaline properties of asparagus help prevent or dissolve kidney stones. It helps break up oxalic acid crystals formed in the kidney.
PMS symptoms: The diuretic effect of asparagus juice helps relieve premenstrual swelling and bloating. The magnesium in this wonder juice also help relieve irritability, fatigue, depression, etc.
Pregnant women: The high content of folate, calcium and other minerals in asparagus are important in reducing the risk of birth defects and low birth weight. The diuretic effect of the juice is also a big help in reducing water retention in pregnant women.
When buying asparagus, choose straight, firm stalks with tight tips. Always eat fresh but if have to store, keep them dry and tightly-wrapped in a plastic bag for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Eat asparagus for its dietary fiber. But also make juice out of it, especially using the tough stem ends.
Suggestion to make a nice glass of asparagus juice: To a small bunch of asparagus (about 10-12 stalks), add a carrot, two green apples, and a slice of lemon with peel.
When eating asparagus, always lightly steam, rather than boil, to preserve the sodium and other minerals from boiling away. Avoid cooking asparagus in iron pots as the tannins in the asparagus can react with the iron and cause the stalks to become discolored.