French,  Nutritional information,  Savoury

Asparagus: The great spring cleaner

It’s asparagus season which, for me, results in really bizarre, almost psychedelic dreams. Every Spring I hope this will be the year I can eat asparagus to my heart’s content without the added bonus of technicolour horror films. I suppose it could be related to its powerful detoxifying properties. I would be interested to hear if anyone else suffers from this.
Consuming seasonal produce provides unequalled support for our health. And at this time of year, when we need to be detoxified and invigorated after a winter of excesses and heavy, rich food, asparagus is unrivalled.
White asparagus, reputedly cultivated in France since the renaissance, was dubbed the ‘food of kings’ by Louis XIV, aka the Sun King, who grew asparagus year-round in hothouses at Versailles and ate them dipped in a soft boiled egg. Ironically enough, white asparagus must be covered with soil and protected from the sun at all times or it produces chlorophyll which makes it turn green or purple. White asparagus is particularly delicate and well-suited to the light, mineral-rich, sandy soils of this region, the Landes, in southwestern France.
Asparagus is nutrient-dense and high in vitamins A,  B, C ,E and K, as well as potassium, iodine, chromium and zinc. It is also an excellent source of rutin, a flavonoid that prevents small blood vessels from rupturing. It should be noted that the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) should be eaten with healthy fats to be efficiently absorbed, which is why asparagus is best eaten with melted butter, vinaigrette or dipped into an egg yolk like the Sun King.
Asparagus also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help reduce chronic health problems such as type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The antioxidant glutathione has been shown to slow the ageing process and break down free radicals, protecting your skin from sun damage and pollution. Glutathione also plays a pivotal role in immune function.
With its high levels of the amino acid asparagine, asparagus also acts as a natural diuretic, ridding the body of excess salt and fluid, which is very beneficial for people with oedema and high blood pressure. Researchers have also discovered that asparagus is useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections by reducing pain and swelling.
The high inulin content of asparagus feeds and promotes the healthy gut bacteria that are responsible for better nutrient absorption and better digestive, immune and mental health. Finally, asparagus is an extremely good source of fibre, which moves through the digestive tract trapping excess fat, sugars, bacteria and toxins to remove them from the body.


  • kristenannmoore

    Asparagus is one of the few veggies I have to force myself to eat. I hope I grow to love them one day b/c they are so healthy and they grow abundantly here in the Pacific Northwest. No crazy dreams with them that I’ve noticed. Such an interesting side effect you have!

  • KJ

    I’ve not developed a taste for the white asparagus. I much prefer the green kind and cook it many different ways. M’s favorite is when I steam it for just a few minutes, to get it less rigid, cook up some farm-fresh bacon in a pan, with a dash of olive oil, butter, then add the asparagus, salt & pepper, to the pan and finish it off. Topped with fresh-grated Parmesan, it is very tasty. As you may remember, his favorite vegetable is ketchup, but presented in the manner described, asparagus is right up there in the second spot. When I prepared it in this way a few days ago, I took the remnants and made a nice creamed asparagus soup (with condensed milk) for the next day, which was exceptionally good. Not something I would recommend for a steady diet, of course, but it was a treat.

    • The Healthy Epicurean

      Asparagus, bacon and parmesan are a heavenly combination. Almost as good as ketchup (Léo’s favourite vegetable too) 😉 I know what you mean about white asparagus, but since living here I have developed a taste for it and we get it here straight out of the ground so it’s so fresh and tender it’s hard not to like. Creamed asparagus soup is divine too, although I’ve never tried it with condensed milk…

      • KJ

        The condensed milk didn’t cause me any allergic reactions, so I have used it on occasion, for soups. Real milk is a killer, for me. As for the soup, I did what M loves (and Luc probably would like, as well) by emptying the remnants from the pan, with the leftover asparagus, and condensed milk, right into the blender. There is something about “the drippings” that make everything magical, for M.

Leave a Reply