When I was prepping for my bodybuilding/figure competition 5 years ago, one of my mentors told me to eat asparagus as it helps to rid your body of excess water. And so, when I was 12 weeks out from my competition, I incorporated raw asparagus into my meals. It absolutely helped my body rid itself of excess water.
Since then, I have developed chronic inflammation (long story) and have been seeking alternative methods to rid my body of inflammation and I remembered what this mentor told me about asparagus.
I have also incorporated other anti inflammatory vegetables into my daily regimen that have helped me immensely with keeping inflammation down.
Here I will share the Best Foods to Eat for Inflammation.
Why does asparagus have a diuretic effect
Asparagus contains a high amount of the amino acid asparagine which acts as a diuretic. That makes it great for decreasing swelling and inflammation. It’s also helpful when feeling bloated after eating something high in salt by flushing out excess fluid. Due to an increase in urinary output, asparagus can also be helpful in preventing Urinary Tract Infections.
You will find that asparagus seem to come in different sizes. Sometimes they’ll be very thin and other times you’ll see them a lot thicker. My personal preference is when they are of a medium to a larger thickness as I find they are more tender and less fibrous. The more fibrous spears can be hard to chew.
When I bring asparagus home from the grocery store, I take them out of the package they come in and place them in a cup of filtered water (In about 1″ of water), like flowers in a vase. Then put them in the refrigerator. They keep very nicely and the tips stay fresh this way without spoiling.
Whenever I prepare to cook asparagus, after rinsing them off under fresh water, I cut the ends off. Taking a small sharp knife, I start at the non-flowering end of the asparagus pressing the blade into the spear until I can easily cut the end off. This removes the more fibrous part of the asparagus.
You can always eat them raw, chop them up and put them in a salad, or cook them. If you do decide to cook them, the best way to retain as much of their nutrients as possible is to steam them for 2 minutes maximum.
I eat about 4 to 6 spears a day to help with inflammation. I suggest not eating them later in the day and into the evening since they increase urinary output. You’ll be up all night visiting the bathroom.
What about cruciferous vegetables
There are many vegetables that fall under this category such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Kale, Bok Choy, Radish, Rutabaga, Turnip, watercress, wasabi and Arugula.
I love Broccoli and Cauliflower. I can eat it lightly steamed with nothing on it like potato chips. Knowing that these veggies are so good for me makes me want more of them in my day to day eating.
Research has shown that there is a chemical compound called sulforaphane that is in these vegetables that makes them Powerhouses of nature nutritionally. It has shown to have potent anti-cancer benefits and powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Much research has been done to show that the compound sulforaphane, that is in cruciferous vegetables can stop cancer in its tracks and is toxic to malignant cells.
If you steam the broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes maximum, you get the most Sulforaphane out of your broccoli.
And then there’s Broccoli Sprouts
3 day old broccoli sprouts are 10-100 times higher in sulforaphane, thus having even more of the cancer preventing and cancer figting properties of mature broccoli. Mature broccoli however is higher in other nutrients than broccoli sprouts so it’s important to have both.
Broccoli sprouts have also shown to bring relief for depression. An animal study in 2015 showed that high amounts of Sulforaphane helped with depression and anxiety.
According to Mercola.com, they are also detoxifying. In a 3-month-long study done in China with 300 people living in the most polluted area in China, showed that those who consumed a mixture containing water, pineapple juice, lime juice and a broccoli sprout powder, eliminated 61% more and 23% more of these two carcinogens than the control group that drank the same mixture minus the broccoli sprout powder. That’s a lot of toxins.
Sulforaphane is one of the most potent food derived anti-carcinogens.
Broccoli Sprouts have the highest potency of Sulforaphane of all the cruciferous vegetables.
How to get the most out of your broccoli and broccoli sprouts
The best way to get the highest concentration of Sulforaphane out of your broccoli sprouts is to chew them well or blend them into a juice, as the enzymes that activate the Sulforaphane can’t do their job until they are released by the chewing, cutting or grinding process.
Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a researcher who has done extensive research on the benefits of broccoli sprouts has found a way to triple the potency (increase the bio availability) of broccoli sprouts. This may all seem like a lot to do, but actually once you set it up, it’s really easy.
Place your broccoli sprouts in a large glass measuring cup, heat up some water in your electric tea kettle. Suspend a digital cooking thermometer into the kettle so that when it reaches 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit), you can turn it off. Pour the water over the broccoli sprouts and time for 10 minutes. Immediately rinse your sprouts, drain and use in a salad, put into the fridge in a covered container for use later, or you can turn it into a smoothy by adding it to a blender with ice and a little water.
Dr. Rhonda says that you can get even more out of your broccoli flowerettes using the same method as that for the broccoli sprouts but at 60 degree Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
How to get your broccoli sprouts
A couple of ways. You can buy them from the health food store, however you can’t guarantee their freshness.
You can grow your own, that way you can have broccoli sprouts on demand, since you are controlling it.
Or you can try a broccoli sprout supplement. You have to be careful of the brand as many brands are not the real deal. Since Dr. Rhonda is a researcher and very passionate about this topic, I trust her judgment when it comes to her recommendations. She talks about a pure Sulforaphane supplement that unfortunately is only available in France, not in the US yet.
The next best supplement is Avmacol by Nutramax. It contains the precursor to Sulforaphane called Glucoraphanin coupled with the enzyme (Myrocinase) that converts it to Sulforaphane.
There’s another one she recommends by Thorne Research called Crucerra-SGS. This one too is the precursor to Sulforaphane coupled with the enzyme Myrocinase. They call it Sulforaphane Glucosinolate.
Supplements are a good way to go when you’re too busy to tend to your sprout garden or are traveling. However, sprouting your own is most effective nutritionally and most cost effective.
I have found that the best foods to eat for inflammation are no doubt asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower. The more you eat, the better off you are.
It’s also important to stay away from foods that cause inflammation in the body. Check out my post on How bad sugar is for your health. Sugar has the opposite effect from broccoli and broccoli sprouts. Sugar feeds cancer cells.
Also check out my article on the best anti-inflammatory foods.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you have any questions or feel free to comment below about your experience with broccoli sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables or if you have anything to add. I’ll get right back to you.
In Good Health,