Latin name: Asparagus oficinalis
What is Asparagus?
Asparagus is a member of the lily family with an erect stalk and small, scale-like leaves along the stalk, capped by a ruffle of small leaves. A young stalk is tender with a slightly pungent, bitter flavor, an apple-green color and a purple tinged tip. It becomes tougher as it ages.
Asparagus is revered for being one of the most nutritionally well-balanced produce in the world, not only for its vitamin and mineral content, but also for its ability to help stave off a plethora of diseases. Asparagus has its roots in ancient Greece, about 2,500 years ago, where its powers were held sacred in a number of medicinal functions.
What are the health benefits of Asparagus?
In addition to these functions, the plant has persisted today and has been best known for its high content of folacin. Folacin, from which folic acid is derived, is a necessary component for the formation and growth of cells and for the prevention of liver disease. It is also responsible for the interplay of nutrients that combine to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus. These types of defects, which occur at a rate of 2,500 a year, can result in spina bifida, paralysis, and death. A person can reap the benefits of 60% of the daily intake for folic acid in just over 5 ounces of asparagus.
Asparagus also contains glutathione, also known as GSH. Glutathione is found in the body and serves as a primary opponent to carcinogenic and oxidative damage from the environment. Asparagus is one of the best sources of GSH, which makes it a superb choice to combat these poisonous influences.
Where can I find Asparagus?
Asparagus can be found in most grocery stores and some outdoor markets; asparagus is at its best from spring to early summer.
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