Asparagus is a spring superfood high in anti-inflammatory nutrients and loaded with fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, chromium, copper, iron, proteins, and minerals. Asparagus is low in fat and one cup of this veggie contains 40 calories. It’s also rich in glutathione, a detoxifying agent that helps destroy carcinogens associated with cancer cells. Asparagus comes in a variety of colors which include white, purple and green. Asparagus can be incorporated into dishes like pasta, ham, white fish, mashed potatoes, and rice. Studies have proven asparagus to be very useful in our bodies and below we discuss the reasons why you need to eat more asparagus.
Important in Pregnant Women
Asparagus is a great source of folic acid which is essential for pregnant women because it protects against neural tube defects. Neural tube defects can lead to other complications like loss of bowel control, learning difficulties and bladder control problems. According to the study, folic acid helps to reduce the risk of premature births by 50% when consumed for at least a year prior to conception.
Helps in Weight Loss
Asparagus has certain properties that help with weight loss and it’s also low in fats and calories. Additionally, it has lots of soluble and insoluble fiber which make it very important if you’re trying to lose weight since they are digested slowly. Also, fiber aids in constipation, lowers cholesterol levels and makes you feel satisfied most of the time. Moreover, asparagus is about 94% water and studies show that consuming water-rich foods aids with weight loss.
Great Source of Antioxidants
Asparagus has the ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals which are responsible for chronic inflammation, aging and many other diseases including cancer. The purple asparagus is a source of anthocyanins and it’s good at fighting the damaging free radicals. Cooking tip: Allowing asparagus to boil or sauté for too long may negate some of its nutritional benefits. Cook it on low heat to help activate its cancer-fighting properties.
Helps Prevent Diabetes
According to the University of Karachi in Pakistan, high doses of asparagus extract have a positive effect on insulin output by the pancreas. Also, the British Journal of Nutrition publication suggested that asparagus has the ability to improve beta-cell function and insulin secretion which helps lower the risk of diabetes. Beta cells produce, store and release insulin in the pancreas.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major factor that affects more than 1.3 billion people. Asparagus is rich in potassium which is useful in lowering blood pressure by relaxing the walls of blood vessels and excreting excess salt through urine. Asparagus provides about 6% of your daily required potassium. In a study involving two rats with high blood pressure, one was fed with 5% asparagus and the other a regular standard diet. After a period of ten weeks, the rat on asparagus diet had 17% lower blood pressure than the other rat. Researchers believe it was due to an active compound in asparagus that causes blood vessels to dilate.
Asparagus has been proven to be a better remedy for a hangover than a greasy breakfast. In a 2009 publication by the Journal of Food Science, it showed that the minerals and amino acids in asparagus may help ease hangover and protect liver cells from the toxins in alcohol.
Full of Vitamin K
Asparagus contains a lot of vitamin K (a crucial nutrient for coagulation). This nutrient helps your body to stop bleeding after a cut and also helps with bone health. While you might think that calcium is essential for healthy bones, vitamin K is responsible for the absorption of calcium.
Boosts Your Mood
Asparagus contains B-vitamin that help in lifting your spirit and warding off irritability. According to research, there is a connection between people who suffer from depression and low levels of folate and B12. Additionally, asparagus has high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been proven to improve moods.
Asparagus has an anti-aging property which helps our brains fight cognitive decline. Like any other leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate which works with B12 to prevent cognitive impairment. Sources of B12 include fish, meat, poultry, and dairy. A study by Tufts University showed that older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility.
The Bottom Line
Asparagus is a nutritious vegetable that will be of great help if added to your diet. Although it can cause a strong urinary odor (which is due to a compound), it has no harmful effects. Potential health benefits of asparagus are too many to ignore. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easy to prepare.