Asparagus for gut health
One of the reasons why I love asparagus as an allergy mom is its inulin and querceptin content:
- I talked about querceptin before – in test tubes, these compounds have been shown to prevent mast cells (one of the immune cells) release histamine, so it is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Querceptin is most abundant in onions, but also found generously in asparagus. And isn’t it magical that asparagus comes into season in spring when environmental allergies play up? Could it be nature’s way to help you dose up on those natural anti-histamines and fight seasonal allergies? (don’t get me wrong, I still need to give zirtek from time to time to Thomas but every little helps)
- Inulin – this is a fiber that is not broken down in the digestive tract and reaches the colon to act as a food for the good bacteria (prebiotics, what I talked about in my gut health article) – asparagus is particularly rich in inulin so will feed and increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, bulk up stools and help with gut regularity.
- There are many other health benefits too: it contains vitamin K, folate, B vitamins and minerals like manganese and selenium. The flavonoids found in asparagus are great antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.
How do I eat it?
The benefits are greatest when they are raw – however, that is not very palatable and definitely not kid-friendly.
So I ferment them (which soften them and increase their gut healing properties):
- Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in 500ml of boiling water. Let it cool down to room temperature
- Cut up the asparagus (peel off the fibrous skin near the bottoms or just discard if too tough)
- throw them into the cooled brine solution, make sure they are entirely immersed and leave to ferment over 3-4 days – watch out for mold. (If you are pregnant or have health conditions consult a doctor before eating home-fermented foods as it may be contraindicated).
- I then slice up the fermented asparagus and mix it into dishes (to ‘hide’ them) e.g. I might saute some frozen sweetcorn and throw some sliced asparagus in (off the heat). I also throw them into my smoothies (tips on how to hide kid-unfriendly items in smoothies coming up soon)
Kids love grilled asparagus with olive oil, lemon and salt. When they are slightly charred they taste fabulous.