Prized for over 2000 years, asparagus has long been eaten for its medicinal properties. Fat free and low in calories, it is also super nutrient-rich. 

Asparagus is one of the world’s best sources of folic acid, a form of B vitamin that not only helps prevent birth defects, heart disease and even some kinds of cancer, but also aids in regulating moods. Research shows that up to 50 per cent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels. Just half a cup of asparagus provides 60 per cent of the recommended daily intake of folic acid. Among older individuals, healthy levels of folic acid paired with vitamin B-12 (found in meat, fish, poultry and dairy) also improve mental dexterity and response speed. In addition, this vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which the body converts into serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Asparagus is also a particularly rich source of gluthathione, the key antioxidant that helps other antioxidants such as vitamins C and A (which asparagus has high concentrations of) function effectively. Gluthathione is believed to help break down carcinogens. 

To take best advantage of the nutritional benefits of asparagus, eat it raw or lightly cooked (steaming is ideal). Of course, they are also tasty when roasted, grilled or briefly stir-fried. Choose asparagus spears that have tightly furled tips and firm stalks that are not woody. Try to pick a bunch that has stalks of fairly equal thickness to ensure even cooking. And eat them as fresh as possible (within approximately 48 hours of purchase). The best way to store them is by wrapping the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper or cloth towel.

Asparagus is available at SuperNature Forum.