Spring into Health with Asparagus

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4012644047_0828109f44_o.jpgNow that it is FINALLY starting to feel like spring (after it just snowed a couple days ago), I feel inspired to do a mini-series on spring cleaning (your body). Let me begin with asparagus. There is no better time to start increasing the seasonal veggies in your diet. It’s time to detox from those heavy winter meals!

When you eat fresh, seasonal veggies, you automatically feel more alive. Head out to the farmers’ markets the next couple of months and you will no doubt find fresh asparagus from local farms. I consider asparagus a spring veggie superstar! Here’s why Asparagus gets an A+ for nutrition in my book.

Asparagus is super high in vitamin K and folate.

Many people I have worked with know that vitamin K is important for healthy blood clotting and most people get enough vitamin K in their diet to help ensure that the blood is clotting optimally. However, vitamin K helps with so many other functions and most people do not get enough vitamin K to help with these factors.

Vitamin K keeps your bones strong. It is crucial as we age to protect our bones. Bone loss is the cause of so many health problems, especially hip fractures, which in many cases starts a downward spiral in health ailments for women after they go through menopause. But it is never too early to protect your bones. Most of us know that calcium is great for bone health; consider vitamin K as the key holder to getting calcium and other important minerals into your bones. Several Japanese clinical trials have proven how amazing vitamin K is for your bones. One study using data collected from the trials 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 in 2008 found that vitamin K helped prevent prostate cancer; other studies have found that vitamin K helps protect you from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, colon, stomach, and oral cancers.

Folate is an energizer! Folate helps prevent soaring homocysteine levels. When your homocysteine levels are high, you are at a much larger 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 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 heralded as an anti-inflammatory because it contains dozens of antioxidants! Because those antioxidants destroy free radicals, you are essentially helping to prevent almost every health ailment when you eat asparagus!

Head out to the market and get yourself some asparagus today! The 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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