When I was a kid we always went asparagus hunting in the spring. I say hunting because asparagus could be found growing wild along the roadside in the country. Back then, it was a challenge among my siblings and I to find the most asparagus – not necessarily to eat the most asparagus! Back then, it was not on my favorite food list.
Now I consider asparagus a superfood. What makes asparagus so special?
4 Health Benefits of Asparagus
- It contains glutathione, a potent antioxidant, well known for it’s detoxifying properties.
- Is a good source of fiber, folate, iron, vitamins A, C, E and K.
- Is a natural diuretic – a beneficial food for those with high blood pressure and other heart-related conditions.
- It contains inulin – a prebiotic which helps support the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Asparagus is also one of the foods on the List of 15 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic. Since it is relatively clean, nutrient dense, and low carb, there isn’t much bad to say about it! Four ounces of asparagus is only 22 calories, 2 grams net carbs, and 2.5 grams of fiber. Since it is a non-starchy vegetable, it is low on the Glycemic Load Index too!
The only bad thing (kind of) about asparagus, is that it makes your pee smell. According to Carolyn O’Neil on Web MD, “Researchers believe that, during digestion, the vegetable’s sulfurous amino acids break down into smelly chemical components in all people.” Within 15 minutes of eating asparagus, the odor can be present. So if your urine smells after consuming, rest assured, you are normal!
However, scientists from the Monell Center used complex sensory testing in a study to show that about eight percent of the subjects tested did not have smelly urine, while six percent couldn’t smell the odor. One person did not produce the odor and was also unable to smell it.
The Monell Center found that “the inability to smell asparagus odor was linked to a genetic variation within a family of olfactory receptors.” The variation in gene is apparently the reason why about one-third of people can smell the sulphurous pee while the rest of the population can’t – are you one of the lucky ones that can’t?
It’s interesting that one of the benefits of asparagus, is that it offers kidney and bladder cleansing support. I’m not sure that the smell has anything to do with the kidney cleansing support, but it doesn’t really matter. Most anyone can use occasional kidney cleansing, especially those with lower back pain from a variety of conditions.
Want the cleansing support but don’t like asparagus, or the smell? Get the benefits without the smell! Try K-Drain by Transformation Enzyme for effective kidney support and to help remove metabolic waste. As mentioned earlir, asparagus also has diuretic properties so it is frequently found in diuretic supplements like Herbal Diuretic from Vinco.
Now, if you love asparagus and want to grow it in your garden, The Cooperative Extension of New Hampshire offers tips on where to plant, how to grow it, pest control, how to harvest and store these tasty spears.
Choosing asparagus is easy; spears can be thick or thin as that doesn’t necessarily mean they are tender or tough. In the store, choose firm bunches with the cut ends resting in water. In addition to green, you’ll find white or purple spears. Refrigerate and use within a couple days for the best taste and nutrition.
The key to preparing asparagus is starting at the opposite end of the spear, gently test the toughness of the spear with a paring knife. You’ll feel the give in the spear when you reach the tender part and that’s where you’ll trim the bottom off.
Trimming in this way will keep the tough part out of your delicious spears. Lightly steamed or oven-roasted asparagus are my preferred cooking methods.
To oven-roast it, preheat the oven to 450. Mix the trimmed asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes. Voila – enjoy!
I also love to throw in other veggies into the roasting pan and roast them all together. This is a great way to use up small portions of fresh veggies. A favorite veggie combination is asparagus, red pepper, portabella mushrooms, chunked onion and broccoli spears. After roasting, finish off with a smidge of balsamic vinegar sprinkled on top.
If you’ve got a fantastic recipe for asparagus, share it below! If we all eat more of this superfood and enjoy the health benefits of asparagus, there might be less disease in this world.
Still can’t eat asparagus even knowing all the benefits? You can still support your kidney function and help remove metabolic waste by buying a kidney support supplement.