Saturday, April 19, 2008

Asparagus Healthy Food

Asparagus has been prized as a springtime delicacy for centuries, this edible member of the lily family is now so widely cultivated that it is available in every season of the year. Lightly boiled or steamed, asparagus makes a very tasy and nutritious appetizer, salad ingredient or even just as a tasty side dish.

Centuries ago the ancient Greeks and Romans thought that asparagus possessed medicinal qualities, curing everything from rheumatism to toothaches. But none of these properties have any proof or have been proven true, but asparagus does definately provide so many essential nutrients. Just six spears, or half a cup serving, contains 90mcg (micrograms) of folate, almost one half of the adult recommended intake (RNI); as well as 20mg of vitamin C, or half of the RNI; and 750IU of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, or about one fifth of the RNI. Also asparagus is low in calories (25 in 6 spears), high in fibre and also a great source of protein.

Asparagus should be eaten as soon after picking as possible, it will spoil very quickly, plus if unrefrigerated, it loses half of it's vitamin C and a lot of the flavor in just 2 to 3 days. If you freeze quickly asparagus retains most of it's nutrients; canning destroys some flavor and nutrients while adding salt.

People who suffer from Gout should be advised to stay away from asparagus because it contains purines, substances that can bring on a painful attack of the desease. Some peeople also notice that asparagus gives their urine a pungent odor; this harmles reaction occurs when the body metabolizes the sulfur compounds in the food. StudiesHowever studies show that only a small percentage of the people have this problem.

*A good low calorie source of folate andvitamin A and C.*Stalks are high in fiber.

*Contains purines which may precipitate a Gout attack.

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