nutrition and diseaseASPARAGUS is a great source of beta-carotene, vitamins B, C and E, potassium, zinc and iodine. It is also high in folate, the vitamin which helps prevent neural birth defects.

Roast Asparagus with Sesame Seeds

  • 2½ lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or melted butter)
  • 2 tbsp shallots
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 lemon
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix the olive oil and asparagus in an ovenproof baking dish and toss asparagus to completely coat with oil. Roast for around 8 minutes, shaking the dish every couple of minutes. Add the shallots and sesame seeds, shake the dish again and bake for another minute or two.  Transfer asparagus to heated serving bowl and squeeze lemon juice all over. Season to taste with salt.

Asparagus has long been considered an aphrodisiac, possibly due to its phallic shape, but also because according to traditional Indian medicine, it increases circulation in the genito-urinary system. Chinese traditionalists believe the roots increase compassion and love, so they save the best ones for their friends and family, while in India it is used to cool fever, increase the production of mother’s milk and reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramping.