Now that it is finally starting to feel like spring, I feel inspired to do write about spring cleaning your body — beginning with asparagus.
When you eat fresh, seasonal vegetables, you automatically feel more alive. Head out to farmers’ markets over the next couple of months and you will no doubt find fresh asparagus from local farms. Here’s why Asparagus gets an A+ for nutrition in my book: Asparagus is super high in vitamin K and folate.
Vitamin K is important for healthy blood clotting, and most people get enough in their diets for that function. But vitamin K helps with many other body functions as well, and most people do not get enough to for those.
Vitamin K keeps bones strong. And it is crucial to protect our bones as we age. Bone loss is the cause of many health problems, especially hip fractures, which can start a downward health spiral for women after they go through menopause.
It’s never too early to protect your bones. Most of us know that calcium is great for bone health. What vitamin K does is help get calcium and other important minerals into your bones.
Several Japanese clinical trials have proven how amazing vitamin K is for your bones. One study found that vitamin K supplementation produces a 60 percent reduction in vertebral fractures and an 80 percent reduction in hip and other non-vertebral fractures.
Vitamin K can also help prevent cancer. A German study found that vitamin K helped prevent prostate cancer; and other studies have found that vitamin K helps protect you from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as colon, stomach, and oral cancers.
Folate helps prevent soaring homocysteine levels. When your homocysteine levels are high, you are at a much greater risk for developing heart problems.
High homocysteine levels can also impair the brain, causing dementia or mood imbalances. So get your folate to manage your heart and mind.
Folate is also one of the most important vitamins for women to consume when they are pregnant; in addition to helping maintain a healthy mood, it also helps prevent birth defects.
In addition to vitamin K and folate, asparagus is an anti-inflammatory that contains dozens of antioxidants. Because those antioxidants destroy free radicals, you are essentially helping to prevent almost every health ailment when you eat asparagus.
So head out to the market and get some asparagus today. In addition to the familiar green asparagus, white and purple varieties are yummy too.
Lightly sauté it as a side dish. Toss it in salads too.
To get the most nutrients from asparagus, try to consume it within a couple days of getting it from the market.
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