Asparagas: The good and the bad
Never mind that it’s delicious. Asparagus is one of the healthiest, most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables you can eat.
- Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid, which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease.
- Low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
- Contains no fat or cholesterol.
- Very low in sodium.
- A good source of potassium.
- A source of fiber.
- A significant source of thiamin.
- A significant source of vitamin B6.
- One of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls.
- Contains glutathione (GSH).
Ok....but what's up that not-so-pleasant smell you notice in the bathroom as little as 15 minutes after eating asparagus?
The Smithsonian says it all comes down to one chemical: asparagusic acid.
By itself, this acid is pretty tame. But once the body's digestive system gets a hold of it, it breaks down into a group of related sulfur-containing compounds. And one more thing: these compounds are volatile, meaning that they can vaporize and enter a gaseous state at room temperature, and waft their way up to your nose in a jiffy. But not everybody can smell it. Some people have body chemistry that just doesn't produce the sulfur compounds. But studies indicate that more people just don't perceive it. It's in their genes. Maybe someday, gene therapy will get rid of the smell once and for all.
For me.....the taste and health benefits far outweigh the olfactory objections.
Next.....I'll have some growing tips if you'd like to plant a patch of asparagas in your yard.