A theme of this blog has been health and the Talmud. Daf 51 deals with the health benefits and risks of asparagus. The Talmud advises us to eat or drink it in different ways in order to bring about different effects. Asparagus is said to be beneficial to heart, eyes, intestines and spleen. It is harmful however to the head, intestines and haemorrhoids!
So the question is what does modern research tell us about asparagus?
Well it apparently leads to an increased frequency of smelly urination and flatulence! The plus side however is that it is a vegetable rich in important nutrients including: Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium. Asparagus is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol.
It is clearly a very healthy vegetable which should be included in your 5-a-day but may not be linked to the health of particular organs.
So the moral of this story is eat lots of it but only if you live alone!
[Kashrut note from the OU website]
Asparagus is a spear-like vegetable approximately 6–8” long with triangle scales along the sides, culminating with an arrangement of triangular tips.
Thrips are primarily found under the triangle scales and somewhat less frequently in the tips of the asparagus.
Asparagus can be used in the following manner:
1. Shave down the floret at the asparagus tip.
2. Remove the triangle parts along the side of the asparagus. (A potato peeler is recommended.)
3. Wash thoroughly.
When prepared in this manner, special inspection is not necessary.