The Healing Power of… Asparagus? Why Not? Brain Imaging Shows Beliefs Can Cause Biological Changes

The other day I wrote in How to Get Lots Done Even When You Feel Low Energy that I’d woken feeling very lethargic, feeling as though I had 10 pound weights at my arms and legs, and like I was in slow motion, underwater.  Picking up the lawn sprinkler, it felt like it weighed 20 pounds.  Mentally I felt a little foggy but mood wise I felt great.  Every move I made exhausted me, yet I felt compelled to keep moving (and hydrating).  I also felt compelled, at the end of the day, to drive to the market for some fresh asparagus to make an asparagus and mushroom soup for dinner. I’ve learned to follow my cravings, it is my body talking to me.  I had a fridge full of food and felt almost too exhausted to drive, but felt compelled to run out for asparagus.  I made a beautiful light soup for dinner, a seasoned low fat chicken broth with mushrooms and spices and an entire bunch of fresh asparagus.  I nibbled the soup all evening and awoke the next day feeling completely restored to health.

Okay, so I don’t have a chronic illness, but my guidance was saying asparagus soup, and I’ve learned to follow it.  Especially when I don’t feel well, which is rarely. But I’ve seen a pattern that when I feel low energy, I crave asparagus and feel improved the next day. I did some quick research and found:

Asparagus is one of the most nutrient rich foods. It provides 60% of the RDA for folacin. Folacin is utilized in the body for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver diseases. Asparagus contains no fat, no cholesterol, it’s low in sodium, high in potassium, fiber rich, thiamin, vitamin B6, and is one of the most abundance sources of rutin, a nutrient that that helps strengthen capillary walls.

* It is high in vitamin K and Folate
* Eat asparagus when you are pregnant or thinking about conceiving – being high in folic acid it helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida
* Great for your heart
* Helps with menstrual cramps and fertility problems
* Great for your gastrointestinal tract and your colon
* Great food to help treat depression
* Has been known to increase the success rate of chemo therapy
* Is considered a diuretic which means it is a good anti-inflammatory – best for arthritis, asthma rheumatism, and even water retention…PMS
* Help get rid of warts
* Helps detoxify your body
* Add more asparagus to your diet to lower cholesterol
* Great for nursing mothers stimulating milk production
* Has antioxidant agents – prevents the effects of aging
* Has antifungal and antiviral qualities
* Great for your kidneys – cleansing your body by stimulating urination and preventing kidney stones
* Helps prevent bladder and urinary tract infections
* Known to be used as an a aphrodisiac – increase sexual and comforting feelings
* Helps with treating HIV
* Helps prevent multiple sclerosis
* Helps prevent scurvy
* Asparagus has anti-cancer agents – especially lung cancer
* Helps fight chronic fatigue syndrome
* Helps fight off high blood pressure
* If you bruise easily – eat more asparagus
* Is considered a laxative – eat an asparagus if you have diarrhea and constipation
* Great for your capillaries – eat more asparagus to avoid varicose veins
* Great for your eyes preventing cataracts
* If you are experiencing hair loss- eat more asparagus
* Helps treat toothaches
(The above excerpted from from Food of the month)

It was interesting that I was guided to eat the asparagus before I read anything about it.  The next day a Facebook friend made a post about asparagus as a miracle food .  I thought wow, confirmation that I was wise to follow my body’s craving for asparagus when I felt icky.  Then I saw that Snopes was unable to confirm the origin of the story, although they didn’t refute it.  I thought, hmmm.

I know that what I read about ahead of time will be the filter through which I perceive something.  But I’d had the experience with the asparagus before I read anything about it, and that made me research it further.  But I didn’t need experts to convince me of something that my experience already told me might be true for me.  So it wasn’t The Placebo Effect , although I am a great believer in that as a healing tool.

Brain imaging shows that beliefs can cause biological changes and affect levels of chemical messengers and stress hormones.  “If it were not for the placebo effect, physicians would not be nearly as successful as we are,” said Dr. Thomas Schnitzer, a Northwestern University arthritis specialist. He helped lead a big study that found glucosamine and chondroitin supplements were no better than dummy pills for arthritic knee pain.  In Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical Center’s anesthesia chief Dr. Richard Dutton said: “It’s all about creating the right mental state in the person.”

I’m willing to be tricked into thinking a situation will improve, if it helps me keep my expectation and belief in a place that attracts the improved situation to me.  I do self hypnosis on myself all the time as an aid to keep my thoughts laser focused during particular projects.

So, did the asparagus heal me, or do I simply think the asparagus healed me? For me, the bottom line is:

I felt icky, I craved asparagus, I ate asparagus, I felt back to normal the next day.

Do I believe in its benefits more now than before I researched it?

Absolutely.

The recipe for Andrea’s Healing Asparagus Soup

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