The edible parts of asparagus, scientific name Asparagus officinalis of the Liliaceae family, are its young shoots. These vegetables bring important healthy substances, such as rutin, with a protective action on the heart, brain and blood vessels, quercetin, an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant substance, but also fibers, beneficial for the gut, vitamins A, B, C, K and E, zinc and folic acid, namely vitamin B9, (Nishimuro et al, Nutrients, Apr 2015 - Ganeshpurkar et al, Saudi Pharm, Feb 2017). Asparagus shoots are diuretic and therefore recommended in case of water retention as can occur in the premenstrual period. Finally, this vegetable stimulates the production of hormones from the adrenal glands. However, asparagus should be avoided in case of rheumatism, gout or kidney stones since, due to some contained substances such as oxalates and purines, may worsen the situation, and in pregnancy. Let us now look at the possible food combinations and cooking methods to maximize the properties of asparagus thus making these vegetables a useful food when there is to stimulate the activity of the thyroid, in weight-loss diets or when a tonic action is required on the debilitated organism.
Hard boiled egg and parsley
Who would have thought that an appetizer with steamed asparagus served with a sauce obtained by mixing 2-3 crushed hard boiled eggs, some parsley, 1 teaspoon of mustard and extra virgin olive oil enough to give the right creaminess is also a healthy, tasty and fresh dish? These ingredients in fact act in synergy and can be used in weight-loss diets in case of overweight, when it is needed to give a boost to the metabolism with a diuretic effect and in case of hypothyroidism to stimulate the thyroid (Fausto Aufiero in his book The Nutritional and therapeutic role of food). Asparagus enhances the antioxidant action of parsley (Dartsch, Phytother Res, Feb 2008) while the egg stimulates the action of the thyroid and adrenal glands, organs responsible for the production of hormones that play a pivotal role in the regulation of the immune system, in metabolism and to support the body in case of stress (Megha et al, StatPearls, 2019). This action is also supported by the iron and vitamin C of parsley. Lastly, we should not forget that asparagus contains quercetin that is considered an activator of sirtuins, proteins of the body able to activate survival processes in which less fat is accumulated and damaged cells are repaired thus helping us live longer, slimmer and healthier (Libert et al, Annu Rev Physiol, 2013 - Villalba et al, Biofactors, Sep 2012).
Strawberries and poached egg
A plate with steamed asparagus and poached egg followed by a cup of strawberries as a dessert is able to bring mineral salts, it is diuretic and, thanks to the iodine contained in strawberries and egg, it stimulates thyroid activity and metabolism. Therefore, this recipe is useful to maintain body weight or can be introduced in case of obesity or overweight.
Raw asparagus in salad
Asparagus can also be eaten raw. In this case, after having cleaned the vegetables, their final parts, more tender, are cut and added to the salads. In this case asparagus will be useful in convalescence and asthenia as they will help the activity of the adrenal glands which, as mentioned, are at the heart of several vital processes including pressure regulation, cortisol production, metabolism (Megha et al , StatPearls, 2019). Asparagus will help to give tone and well-being to the body.