In ancient times, asparagus was renowned as a aphrodisiac, and maybe for good reason. This succulent, savory vegetable contains a stimulating blend of nutrients that help boost energy, cleanse the urinary tract and neutralize excess ammonia, which can cause fatigue and sexual disinterest.
High in vitamin K and folate (vitamin B9), asparagus is extremely well balanced, even among nutrient-rich vegetables. “Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients,” said San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flores. It also “provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese and selenium.”
Furthermore, the vegetable contains the amino acid asparagine, which is important in the development and function of the brain, according to a study published in 2013 in the journal Neuron. It is also contain chromium, a trace mineral that helps insulin do its job transforting glucose. It’s also especially rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compund that can help destroy carcinogens. For this reason, asparagus may help fight or protect against certain cancers, including bone, breast, lung and colon cancers
Asparagus is extremely low in calories at about 20grams per serving (five spears), has no fat, and is low in sodium. It can be eaten raw or cooked; however, cooking times affect health benefits. A 2011 study published in Food Chemistry examined blanching (cooking asparagus briefly in boiling water) and saw a marked difference in the asparagus depending on how long the vegetable was submerged. In general, the longer the asparagus was blanched, the more nutrients it lost, though cooking it for too short a time resulted in hard stalks. Furthermore, the tip, middle and bottom sections of the spears had diffirent sensitivities to blanching times, with the tip being most likely to lose nutrients quickly. The authors of the study therefore recommended blanching diffirent segments of asparagus for diffirent lengths of time.
Asparagus is nutrient-packed vegetable. It is very good source fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. That’s good news if you’re watching your blood sugar.
NUTRIENTS OF THE ASPARAGUS
Asparagus is low in calories but boasts an impressive nutrient. In fact, half a cup (90 grams) of cooked asparagus contains (1):
. Calories: 20 grams
. Protein: 2.2 grams
. Fats: 0.2 grams
. Fiber: 18 grams
. Vitamin C: 12% of the RDI
Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
. Vitamin K: 57% of the RDI
. Folate: 34% of the RDI
. Potassium: 6% of the RDI
. Phosphorous: 5% of the RDI
. Vitamin E: 7% of the RDI
Asparagus also possesses small amounts of the micronutrients, including iron, zinc, and riboflavin.
It’s an excellent source of vitamin K,an essential nutrient involved in blood clotting and bone health. In addition, asparagus is high in folate, a nutrient that is vital for a healthy pregnancy and many important processes in the body, including cell growth and DNA formation.
Asparagus is low-calorie vegetable that is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamin A, C and K
Asparagus is good for your ticker in a variety of ways. Flores noted, “Asparagus is extremely high in vitamin K , which helps blood clot.” And the vegetable’s high level of B vitamin helps regulate the amino acid homocysteine, too much of which can be serious risk factor in heart disease, according to Harvard University School of Public Health. Asparagus also has more than 1 gram of soluble fiber per cup, which lowers the risk of heart disease, and the amino acid asparagine help flush your body excess salt. Lastly, aspargus has excellent anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of antioxidants, both of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
GOOD SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants are compounds that help protect your cells from the harmful effect of free radicals and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress contributes to aging, chronic inflammation and many diseases, including cancer.
Asparagus, like other green vegetable, is high in antioxidants. These include vitamin E, vitamin C and glutathione, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. Asparagus is particularly high in the flavonoids quercetin, isorhamnetin and kaempferol.
These substances have been found to have blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer effects in a number of human, test-tube and animal studies. What’s more purple asparagus pigments called anthocyanins, which give the vegetable its vibrant color and have antioxidant effects in the body
In fact, increasing anthocyanin intake has been shown to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Eating asparagus along with other fruits and vegetables can provide your body with a range of antioxidants to promote good health
ASPARAGUS WILL IMPROVE DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Dietary fiber is essential for good digestive health. Just a cup of asparagus contains 1.8 grams of fiber, which is 7% of your daily needs. Studies suggest that a diet high in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables may help produce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Asparagus is particularly high in insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stool and supports regular bowel movements. It also contains a small amount of soluble fiber, which dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract.
Soluble fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Increasing the number of these beneficial bacteria plays a role in strengthening the immune system and producing essential nutrients like vitamins B12 and K2. Eating asparagus as part of a fiber-rich diet is an excellent way to help meet your fiber needs and keep your digestive system healthy.
Help Support A Healthy Pregnancy
Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, also known as vitamin B9. Just half a cup of asparagus provides adults with 34% of their daily folate needs and pregnant women with 22% of their daily needs.
Folate is an essential nutrient that helps from red blood cells and produce DNA for healthy growth and development. It’s especially important during the early stages of pregnancy to ensure the healthy development of the baby. Getting enough folate from sources like asparagus, green leafy vegetables and fruit can protect against neural tube defects, including spina bifida.
Neural tube defects can lead to a range of complications, ranging from learning difficulties to lack of bowel and bladder control to physical disabilities. Infact, adequate folate is so vital during pre-pregnancy and early pregnancy that folate supplements are recommended to ensure women meet their requirement.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affect more than 1.3 billion people worldwide and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Research suggest that increasing potassium intake while producing salt intake is an effective way to lower high blood pressure.
Potassium lowers blood pressure in two ways: by ralaxing the walls of blood vessels and excreting excess salt through urine. Asparagus is a good source of potassium, providing 6% of your daily requirement in a half-cup serving. What’s more, research in rats with high blood pressure suggests that asparagus may have other blood pressure-lowering properties. In one study, rats were fed either a diet with 5% asparagus or a standard diet without asparagus
After 10 weeks, the rats on the asparagus diet had 17% lower blood pressure than the rats on the standard diet. Researchers believed this effect was due to an active compound in asparagus that causes blood vessels to dilate. However, human studies are needed to determine whether this active compound has the same effect in humans. In any case, eating more potassium-rich vegetables, such as asparagus, is a great way to help keep your pressure in a healthy range.
Asparagus Help Lose Weight
Asparagus low in fat and calories (one cup sets you back a mere 32 calories) but it also contains lots of soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Because your body digests fiber slowly, it keeps your feeling full in between meals. This means you can eat a lot of asparagus without taking in a lot of calories.
Furthermore, it’s about 94% water. Research suggests that consuming low-calorie, water-rich foods is associated with weight loss. Asparagus is also rich in fiber, which has been linked to lower body weight and weight loss.
Regulating Blood Sugar
The Mayo Clinic notes that vitamin B6 may affect blood sugar levels and advises caution for people who have diabetes or low blood sugar. However, those with healthy levels can benefits from asparagus’s ability to regulate it.
Lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes
As with heart disease, risk of type 2 diabetes increases with excessive inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, asparagus impressive anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of antioxidants make it a good preventive food. A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also suggested that asparagus ability to improve insulin secretion and improve beta-cell function also helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Beta cells are unique cells in the pancreas that produce, store and release insulin.
The antioxidant glutathione is thought to slow the aging process, according to a 1998 article in The Lancet journal. And the folate that asparagus provides works with B12 to prevent cognitive decline. A Tufts University study found that older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better during a test of response speed and mental flexibility than those with lower levels of folate and B12.
Yet another amazing thing about the antioxidant glutathione: it helps protect the skin from sun damage and pollution. A small 2014 study plublished in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology studied healthy adult women ages 30-50 who applied a glutathione lotion to the other half for 10 weeks. The glutathione side saw increased moisture, suppressed wrinkle formation and smoother skin. It is unknown if eating glutathione-rich foods like asparagus would produce a similar effect
Keeping you cleansed and preventing kidney stones
Asparagus can act as a natural diuretic, according to a 2010 study published in the West Indian Medical Journal. This can help rid the body of excess salt and fluid, making it especially good for people suffering from edema and high blood pressure. It also helps flush out toxins in kidneys and prevent kidney stones. On the other hand, the National Institutes of Health recommends that people who are suffering from uric acid kidney stones should avoid asparagus
Immune system health and cancer risk
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which are found in great quantities in asparagus, are typically associated with decressed risk of cancers. A 2016 review in the journal Nutrients stated that polysaccharides (carbohydrate molecules) found in asparagus help inhibit dangerous liver cancer cell proliferation in animal studies. When injected with anti-cancer drugs directly into the tumor, scientists saw “markedly suppressed liver tumor growth as well as prolonged survival time with little toxicity.”
A group of phytonutrients called saponins are found in high qualities in asparagus. They have both fat-soluble and water-soluble components, meaning they can affect the body in more ways than some other phytonutrients can. They are known for their effects on cell membranes and immune response. Today, several animal studies have been done to learn more about how saponins can inhibit production inflammatory molecules and promote white blood cell activity. One such study, published in Biomedicine and Pharmacology in 2017, purposes that saponins from asparagus might be a helpful component in preventing secondary tumor formation. The study looked at the effect of saponins from asparagus being injected into mice for 56 days and saw an improvement in cellular immunity without the high allergic reactions typical in drugs used to prevent secondary tumors.
Risk of eating asparagus
“There are no life-threatening side effects of eating too much asparagus,” said Flores, “but there may be some uncomfortable side effects such as gas, and a noticeable smell to the urine.”
It is also possible to have an asparagus allergy, in which case you should not eat it. She said. People who are allergic to other members of the lily family, such as onions, garlic, and chives, are more likely to be allergic to asparagus. Symptom include a runny nose, hives, trouble breathing, and puffiness or swelling around the mouth and lips.