Sex enhancer, poison or slimming agent?: Is bitter asparagus poisonous? Which myths about vegetables are true and which are not

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Asparagus increases potency, is bitterly toxic and loses flavor after freezing? Is all this really true? Here, the most stubborn myths surrounding popular stick vegetables are put to the test.

Sex enhancer, poison or low-calorie slimming agent? Many myths about asparagus persist. However, the fact remains: asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables in Germany, no other country in the world eats or produces as many stalk vegetables as Germany. Reason enough to take a closer look at the myths surrounding asparagus…

The myth of asparagus as a potency-enhancing agent has been around since ancient times. Even then, the vegetable was administered to treat potency and desire disorders – and it still is today. One reason the misconception persists is that asparagus contains vitamin E, a vitamin that is actually said to have libido-enhancing effects.

However, according to medical research, the dose of vitamin E to have an effective potency effect must be so high that it cannot be achieved by just eating asparagus. Another reason why the myth has persisted for so long: the phallus-like shape of asparagus alone seems predestined for this root vegetable to act as an aphrodisiac.

However, even today, asparagus juice and asparagus essences are recommended, especially in Ayurvedic medicine, for lust and impotence disorders – although there is no scientific evidence for an aphrodisiac effect. Nevertheless, a romantic meal with asparagus and wine can certainly create a lustful atmosphere…

Although asparagus does not make you feel better in bed, it can be beneficial for the health of pregnant and lactating women. Because 100 grams of asparagus contains 108 micrograms of folic acid. The water-soluble vitamin supports growth, cell division and nervous system development in unborn babies and should be taken daily during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Another misconception: asparagus becomes poisonous if it tastes bitter. It is true that bitter substances can form in asparagus if it is cut too close to the rootstock or if there is a drastic cold during growth. But these substances are in no way dangerous to health. Bitter substances are neutralized during cooking with a little sugar and butter.

Raw asparagus is not unhealthy or even poisonous as is often believed. Raw asparagus spears are not dangerous to health and can be eaten safely. Tender, uncooked asparagus heads taste especially good in salads or they can be used as a garnish on the side of a meal or on a plate.

Asparagus is healthy. This statement is basically true – but not for everyone. Asparagus contains many healthy nutrients such as potassium and calcium, which especially strengthen the cardiovascular system. It also contains fiber that protects the gut, as well as plenty of vitamin C and folic acid for the immune system. But in exceptional cases, asparagus can harm your health.

People with gout or kidney disease should avoid asparagus. Because asparagus contains purine, which turns into uric acid in the body and can cause gout attacks. A particularly large amount of uric acid damages kidney function and is then not excreted. This leads to the formation of uric acid crystals, which can cause joint pain.

Another myth: White asparagus is healthier than green asparagus. But this is also not true, because the situation is exactly the opposite. Unlike white asparagus, green asparagus grows above the ground and therefore develops the healthy, natural pigment chlorophyll and plenty of vitamin C in the sun.

Of course, white asparagus is also healthy. White asparagus contains many valuable ingredients such as fiber, iron, vitamins, beta-carotene, minerals such as calcium and potassium, as well as secondary plant substances and sulfides. Mainly due to its high water content, asparagus is said to have a slimming effect. Because 100 grams of asparagus contains only 19 calories.

Although green asparagus is healthier than white spears, white asparagus is still more expensive. Vegetables with green stems are easier to harvest and are simply cut off from the ground. White asparagus, on the other hand, must be carefully dug up and speared by hand. Appropriate harvesting conditions increase the price of white asparagus.

Can't freeze asparagus? On the contrary – if you follow certain rules. Asparagus must be fresh and peeled before freezing. For the ideal enjoyment, asparagus should not be thawed in advance, but should be cooked frozen. Then the asparagus retains its flavor and does not become watery.

Asparagus spears often have a bluish tip. Then this asparagus is often sold cheaper. But a blue tip is not a sign of bad taste. Because this purely visual difference occurs when the asparagus sprouts from the ground earlier than it is cut. It only takes a few hours of sunlight for a head of asparagus to turn blue.

Asparagus not only with blue heads, but also with blooming asparagus tips are often traded as an inferior commodity. Totally wrong. Because even asparagus with a loose head tastes just as delicious as stalk vegetables with a completely smooth end. Split ends are simply a sign that the vegetables have been in the sun longer than usual.

Apparently there is a beep test to test the freshness of asparagus. When you rub the stalks together, you should hear a certain crunch, only then is the asparagus fresh. But this is certainly not the only quality of fresh asparagus. Asparagus's undamaged, shiny skin and moist interface are just as reliable indicators of its freshness.

The freshness of asparagus also affects the nutrient content, which decreases relatively quickly after harvest. Therefore, it is recommended to process asparagus immediately after purchase. If this is not possible, vegetables can be stored unpeeled and wrapped in a damp cloth in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for about two days.

Unfortunately, asparagus cannot be grown all year round – although some asparagus lovers would like to. But the official end of the asparagus season in Germany is traditionally June 24. And not without reason. In order to ensure a good harvest next year, the plants need sufficient recovery – at least 100 days as a rule of thumb.

However, it is possible to extend the very short asparagus season. Near the end, popular vegetables are often sold a little cheaper: a good time to stock up. Fresh, peeled asparagus can be frozen very well and can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Author: Natalie Cada

Surf Tip: Price and Life Cycle Assessment – A nutrition expert reveals the truth about asparagus

This article “Is bitter asparagus poisonous? Which myths about the vegetable are true and which are not” was originally from Teleschau.

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