Vegetables and Vegetables

Health Benefits of Asparagus

Did you know that asparagus is a word that comes from the Persian asparag and means “fruits that can be eaten”? Scientifically known as Aspargus officinalis  L , is native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. Known since antiquity, it was used by the Romans, Egyptians and Greeks. Grown almost all over the world, asparagus is widely used in England, Germany and France, where it arrived during the reign of Louis XIV. In Brazil, the vegetable is little consumed.

There are many species, and one of the best known is green asparagus, called “fresh asparagus”. Europe concentrates many varieties; in Germany alone there are 45. In this country and also in the Netherlands and Belgium, white asparagus is preferred. Types can be differentiated by thickness and color. English asparagus does not have a very thick stalk, French asparagus is light violet and has a somewhat thick stalk, and Italian asparagus is purple.

ASPARAGUS CULTIVATION

In addition to the old continent, Australia, the United States also cultivate the vegetable. The cultivation of asparagus in Brazil began in the 1930s, at the hands of an agronomist in the city of Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul. In the country, plantations are concentrated in the South region, mainly in Rio Grande do Sul. In the Southeast region, the São Paulo cities of Campos do Jordão, Socorro, São Roque, Piedade, Águas da Prata, Vargem Grande, São Miguel Arcanjo and Capão Bonito are places dedicated to culture.

Cultivation of asparagus requires well-drained soil, with a pH of 6.5 and, before planting, it is necessary to regulate the acidity, lime level and organic fertilizer. The land cannot have residues from other plants either. Large seeds over 5 years old should be chosen. Leave a space of 5 cm between them, or delimit lines with 30 cm, if the production is commercial. Fertilize annually with organic fertilizer covered with earth or straw. Harvest is after 3 years, preferably at the end of winter. As it is perennial, the asparagus plant lasts 13 years and roots periodically renew, generating new shoots.

 ASPARAGUS PROPERTIES

Asparagus is a vegetable with high nutritional value. Source of fiber, calcium, vitamins A, B. C and K, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium and folic acid. The diuretic action, provided by the asparagine component , increases the frequency of urine, eliminating toxins that cause swelling. Women with PMS and people with rheumatism and arthritis should consume it regularly. Check out the benefits of asparagus and be surprised.

  1. Strengthens the immune system:  Asparagus is rich in vitamin C. This is an antioxidant, a component responsible for ridding the body of toxins. The vegetable still has vitamin E, which does the same function. To maximize the effect, consume with olive oil.
  2. Improves bowel function:  Fiber makes the bowel function properly. Inulin carbohydrate stimulates the production of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria bacteria which, in turn, prevent the absorption of harmful bacteria to the intestinal flora.
  3. Helps to prevent congenital problems in babies:  All vitamins are very important in pregnancy. However, B9, or folic acid, always gets a little more prominence. The lack of this nutrient is related to spina bifida, an anomaly that causes the opening of the spine.
  4. Protects bones:  Asparagus is a source of vitamin K. The nutrient has osteocalcin, a protein linked to bone formation and maintenance. Another factor in the link between vitamin K and bone health is that the nutrient only absorbs the necessary amount of calcium, so it doesn’t overload the bones.
  5. Improves heart condition:  Consumption of asparagus is good for the heart for four reasons: First, asparagine helps to eliminate excess salt. Second, the presence of B-complex vitamins balances homocysteine ​​levels, lowering the risk of heart complications. Third, the B-complex vitamins, especially B6, regulate blood sugar. Fourth, the vegetable improves the functioning of beta cells, responsible for the production, storage and release of insulin.
  6. Prevents cancer:  The antioxidants contained in asparagus removes toxins that can cause cancer. Folic acid acts on DNA and improves the absorption of disease-preventing substances.
  7. Prevents Premature Aging:  Glutathione is an antioxidant that slows down skin aging as it protects against pollution and sun damage. Vitamins B9 and B12, on the other hand, prevents the aging of the cognitive system, so much so, according to a study by the University of Tufts (United States), this relationship between vitamins B9 and B12 and cognitive health was purchased.
  8. Helps you lose weight:  Do you need to lose weight? Invest in asparagus, because every 100 grams has between 18 and 22 calories. In addition, vitamin K is a diuretic and B-complex vitamins balance glucose levels.
  9. Fight the Hangover:  Did you drink too much? Mineral salts and amino acids leave the liver clean, helping to alleviate a hangover. Who proves this is the study published in 2009 in the American Journal of Food Science.
  10. Sexual stimulant:  A thousand and one uses, asparagus is still an aphrodisiac. Vitamins B6 and B9 provide arousal, while vitamin E improves the quality of sex hormones.

Attention: asparagus should not be eaten raw. There are also contraindications! People with kidney stones, urinary inflammation and nervous system instability should avoid consumption.

HOW TO BUY, CHOOSE AND STORE ASPARAGUS?

Unfortunately, asparagus is rarely used in Brazilian cuisine because it is seen as something sophisticated. Even outdoors, the vegetable is also uncommon in kitchens. Great Britain, for example, experienced a boom in sales, with an increase of 30% per year in 2010.

In Brazil, it is found year-round in supermarkets, due to exports from China and Peru, considered the largest exporters. The price of asparagus in a bundle with 15 or 20 sprouts is approximately R$30.00. The price of canned asparagus varies between R$15.00 and R$26.00.

A good asparagus is one with a firm stem and ends. The tip of the sprout must be closed and the green asparagus must not have yellowish spots. Storage is in long horizontal plastic containers. It is essential that the pot is covered.

HOW TO PREPARE ASPARAGUS?

The most used part is the shoot, which is dark green in color. It is a great accompaniment for meat, the base for risottos and the cream is delicious. But what does asparagus taste like? It is a little bitter and crunchy. If you have no idea how to make asparagus, the basic preparation is quick: just cut 4 or 5 cm from the base, remove the lower skin from the asparagus flower and cook in boiling water; salt can be added only after cooking. When you’re done, just add extra virgin butter or oil. This is a great option for meat and fish, but there are several delicious recipes, check it out:

PICKLED ASPARAGUS

Ingredients

  • 30 asparagus;
  • 1 white onion, sliced ​​​​into rings;
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed;
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of dill seed;
  • 2 bunches of fresh dill;
  • ½ teaspoon chili pepper;
  • ½ cup of coarse salt;
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar;
  • 2/4 cold water.
  • 2 cups of sugar tea.

preparation mode

Cut 4 or 5 cm from the base. Slice the asparagus and place in a large container with coarse salt and cover with water. After 2 hours, remove the water, rinse with cold water and dry. Sterilize 2 long, horizontal pots with boiling water and wait 5 minutes. Cook the sugar, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of refined salt, mustard, onion and seeds. When it comes to a boil, wait 1 minute. Place the asparagus in the pots, add the dill to the mixture made with sugar and pepper. Cover the jars, allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

ASPARAGUS RISOTTO WITH BRIE CHEESE

Risotto is short for rice in Italian. The first record of the dish points out that it was presented at the wedding party of the daughter of Valério de Fiandra, creator of the famous stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Milan. See the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus;
  • 500 grams of arboreal rice;
  • 1 medium onion;
  • 2 small leeks;
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1 liter of vegetable broth;
  • 150 grams of brie cheese;
  • 50 grams of Parmesan cheese;
  • 100 ml of white wine;
  • 2 tablespoons of butter;
  • Black pepper.

Preparation mode

Saute the onion with oil and add the leeks. When it’s sautéed, add the rice, sauté it for 3 minutes and add the wine. After the rice has absorbed the wine, add the vegetable broth gradually for 15 minutes. Add chopped asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter, cheese and pepper.

ASPARAGUS CREAM

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of green asparagus;
  • 100 ml of fresh cream;
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth;
  • Black pepper;
  • 1 liter of water.

Preparation mode

Remove asparagus tips and set aside. If they are large, remove the stalks and the hardest parts. Slice the asparagus and bring to a boil with water and vegetable stock. Beat everything in a blender or mixer , strain, re-cook and add the asparagus tips. When it boils, add the cream. Serve immediately.

Asparagus is a vegetable that deserves to be discovered. Delicious and healthy, it will give your life a new flavor and make you healthier. Combine consumption with physical activity and see the results. However, talk to your doctor if you have urinary inflammation, kidney stones, and nervous system problems.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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