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Spring forward with Asparagus

Spring is a time of new beginnings and renewal. Include potassium and fiber rich vegetables such as asparagus in the diet to support the body’s natural cleansing and detoxification process in a gentle and natural way.

Here are three compelling reasons why you should include asparagus in your spring time menu:

  1. Asparagus is loaded with nutrients and is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances energy transport;
  2. Along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts, asparagus is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a compound that helps you to eliminate toxic metals and other harmful compounds; and
  3. Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic. Increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema (an accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues) and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.

Asparagus & Apple Detox Smoothie

  • ½ cup chopped asparagus
  • ¼ cup of hemp seeds
  • ½ a green apple
  • ¼ cup frozen pineapple (if not frozen add ice cubes)
  • ½ cup of water

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

For optimal nutritional value, drink within 30 minutes.

Asparagus Tapenade

  • 2 cups asparagus, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp. of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro (fresh tarragon or basil also works well)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh pepper and sea salt to taste.

Soak raw cashews in warm water for 10 minutes.

Cut asparagus into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Add asparagus to boiling water or steam for about 3 minutes (until just soft and still bright green). Drain well and set aside.

Drain cashews, add remaining ingredients to a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Add cooked asparagus. Pulse until thoroughly blended but still roughly chopped. Transfer to clean container and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

Serve as a salad topper or with raw vegetables as a dip.

Asparagus “Tips”

How to select the freshest asparagus

The freshness of asparagus is important for flavour, as the naturally occurring sugar in asparagus is converted to starch over time.

Purchase from farmers’ markets, for freshly harvested asparagus. If purchasing from supermarkets, select asparagus that is displayed upright with the ends submerged in water. Aim to select firm, smooth green stalks with tightly closed tips.

How to store asparagus properly to prolong freshness and nutrients

This storage method will keep asparagus spears fresh for up to 10 days. Be sure to rinse the stems and change the water if it becomes cloudy.

  1. Keep the rubber band on to hold the bunch together, and trim one inch off the ends of the ends.
  2. Stand the asparagus up in a glass or jar and add water so all the ends are fully submerged by one inch.
  3. Loosely cover the asparagus with a plastic bag (to protect the asparagus tips).

How to increase nutrient absorption when eating asparagus

Asparagus contains vitamins A, E & K — three of the four fat-soluble vitamins. Therefore asparagus must be eaten with ‘good fats’ so that these vitamins will be absorbed. In the recipes above, the hemp seeds in the smoothie provide dietary fats as do the cashew nuts in the asparagus tapenade recipe.

For a simpler option, sauté asparagus in coconut oil, or drizzle with olive oil once steamed or boiled.

By Kylie Delfino, RHN. The Nourished Self Nutrition Clinic.

Published: May 19, 2015