By Lorri Schreiber
The jaunty, crown-topped asparagus is an all-around super health food and one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. The popular spring veggie is jam-packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, folate, iron, potassium, copper, calcium and protein. Plus, it's a rich source of antioxidants.
Eating asparagus has several potential health benefits. Asparagus can help with weight loss, help prevent UTIs, has antioxidant effects that help the body fight free radicals that are harmful to health, helps strengthen the immune system while protecting cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, may help lower blood pressure, may help fight cancer, promotes reproductive health, is great for gut health, is a natural diuretic, is great for bone health and more. And, at only has about 3 calories per stalk, you can indulge on asparagus without worrying about your calorie intake.
Back in the Renaissance Era, the Greeks and Romans believed in its medicinal qualities as well as its natural aphrodisiacal qualities. Its perky top and meaty stalk provide many nutrients that boost moods and produce healthy hormones giving it a reputation for increasing sexual desire and improving your sex life. Many nuns even banned the veggie from meals for fear it may ignite some lusty appetites.
Asparagus, which made its way to America with the early settlers, eventually took root in Michigan where it thrives in our sandy, well-drained soils. Amazingly, in ideal conditions, it can grow 10 inches in only 24 hours!
Michigan produces roughly 20 million pounds of asparagus and is ranked first in the nation for production. Oceana County is known as the “asparagus capital of the world” where they host the National Asparagus Festival. Empire also hosts a fun asparagus festival each year.
While asparagus is grown on farms, you can also find it growing wild along roadsides and hillsides. Similar to the mighty morel, wild asparagus patches are coveted locations kept secret even among close friends.
And, did you know that asparagus comes in three colors? Green stalks are the most popular in America, but asparagus also comes in white and purple. Green asparagus has more of a grassy flavor, white asparagus is milder with a touch more bitterness and purple asparagus is nuttier and sweeter.
In conclusion? Eat more asparagus! You can’t go wrong with this well-balanced veggie full of nutrients and only three calories per stalk that is believed to improve your mood and sex life.
Stock up while it's in-season. If you don’t have your own secret wild patch, find fresh asparagus nearby at https://www.michiganfarmfun.com/planyourtrip.asp?ait=us&q=asparagus&cid=