Asparagus – An Unsung Hero

Asparagus is an ancient food that is a member of the lily family. Its name is Latin, as the Romans took the plant from the ancient Greeks and cultivated it. The plant takes several years to mature, and as a perennial can last up to twenty years producing its nutritious and tasty fruit. During the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arabs introduced asparagus to the Spaniards, Assyrians and Egyptians, and by the mid 15th century the plant arrived in France, and a century later in England. By the mid 19th century, it was introduced into the New World countries, China and the Malaysian peninsula.

This nutritious food adds vital nutrients to any meal. It is rich in Vitamin K and folate, as well as calcium, niacin and phosphorus. It is a good source of potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C. Asparagus is one of the super foods that relieve a myriad of physical problems like menstrual problems and anemia, and it also regulates the coagulation of blood. It improves heart health and regulates the gastro-intestinal system. It reduces high cholesterol and is an effective aid to combat depression. It is conducive for ocular and renal health and prevents the problem of hair loss.

Because asparagus is so rich in vitamins and minerals, this food contributes to good health. It is an antioxidant, which combats many cancers. It is high in folic acid, which can prevent birth defects like spina bifida. Asparagine is an amino acid found in asparagus that is an effective diuretic and has been used throughout history to treat arthritis and rheumatism. It aids digestion and benefits the skeletal system.

Aside from its health benefits, asparagus can be cooked in many different ways, making it an interesting addition to any meal. Raw, it can be added to salads. Lightly steamed asparagus is an ideal side dish with meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or as your favorite vegetarian entree. It can be pureed for a unique flavor to sauces or cut up into a stew. It can be cooked in the oven, grilled, baked, and as an addition to soups and pastas.

Whether picking asparagus from your garden or buying it at the store, organic asparagus is a healthy addition to any meal.