Inspiration can come from the most unexpected peoples and places. A few days ago while shopping for dinner ingredients, my fiance and I decided to get asparagus. At the dinner table with guests the conversation led to medical topics and my fiance mentioned asparagus’ diuretic properties. I looked at him and brushed the whole thing off since I had never heard of such a concept! But lo and behold late that night we looked it up and came across a medical article dated 1855 discussing asparagus’ diuretic properties!
Apart from its diuretic properties, the International Society for Horticultural Sciences states that:
“A number of cell and animal studies have shown that protodioscin [from asparagus] possesses several bioactivities, which include strong cytotoxic activities against many cancer cell lines, increase levels of androgens [ie. Testosterone], and enhancement of sexual activities. A moiety of protodioscin, diosgenin, has been found to reduce cholesterol uptake and serum LDL levels, but not the HDL levels. Diosgenin has also been shown to prevent the initiation and development of colon cancer in rat induced by carcinogen azoxymethane. Rutin, a flavonoid, is also present in notable quantity (~0.03% fresh weight) in green asparagus spears. Rutin and its aglycone, quercetin, are antioxidants. Both quercetin and rutin have been found to reduce the events of colon cancer in mice induced by azoxymethane.”
As with all other green vegetables, asparagus has strong anti-oxidant properties and has been shown to prevent colon-cancer in animal models. It also is able to mildly influence cholesterol levels and to increase male sex hormones (androgens). Those with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) should therefore use asparagus in moderation while those with low sex drives might observe benefits from its androgenic properties!
Fruits and Vegetables of all colours & varieties have unique health benefits. Always remember Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food”!
Here are 4 tips for gaining the most from what mother nature has to offer:
- Choose seasonal and local food as it not only tastes better but also has more nutrients than food that has been stored.
- Eat a variety of food with different flavours, colours and textures as this ensures the full spectrum of nutrients while different foods satisfy us in different ways.
- Reduce or eliminate canned, frozen, processed, refined food and foods with additives, synthetic colourings, chemicals, hormones and pesticides.
- Vegetables that are deeper in colour and smell fresh contain more nutrients.