Nearly all green vegetables are packed with essential supplements. Some of them, however, have a higher percentage of nutrients than most. These are termed “Superfoods”. Asparagus is one of these Superfoods.
Before we delve into the amazing health benefits of consuming this vegetable, let’s start with a brief history of its origins and some of its attributes.
Asparagus spears grow from a crown planted in sandy soils which are cultivated all around the world and especially in Asia, Europe, and certain parts of Africa.
“Asparagus Officinalis” is closely related to onions, chives, and garlic (so if you are allergic to any member of the lily family, you should stay away from this vegetable). Under ideal conditions, asparagus seeds take up to three years to fully develop into spears. The spears can be green, white, or purple in color, although, they all have long stalks with scaly tips.
The bright-green veggie is a perennial plant, which means you get to enjoy fresh healthy stalks every spring when they reach their full prime! Being rich in vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, folic acid, fiber and thiamine, asparagus is one of the most nutritious vegetables.
Asparagus stalks are tender and succulent and people have used them for preparing both delicacies and medicinal herbs over the ages.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
If you haven’t tried asparagus before, you may be hesitant to take a bite for the first time. Asparagus has a pleasant taste when freshly cut and properly cooked. So, if you’ve ever encountered sour or bitter asparagus, it’s either been overcooked or stale.
A couple of ways you can enjoy the full goodness of asparagus is by boiling, steaming, roasting, grilling, or eating it fresh. Besides, incorporating asparagus in a plate of appetizer or main course instantly makes it healthier. If you prefer to add this vegetable to a healthy drink, you can toss it into your smoothie, along with other fruits and vegetables.
Check out these advantages of including these spear-headed veggies in your diet:
Keeps Your Heart and Brain Healthy
Folate, a B-complex vitamin, is crucial for mental flexibility and maintaining the cardiovascular system. This vitamin is abundantly present in asparagus. Folate also helps to regulate levels of amino acid homocysteine in the body, as a higher dose of this acid significantly increases the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and dementia.
Also, B vitamins like biotin, pantothenic acid, chlorine, etc. which are present in Folate help to metabolize starch and sugar in the most effective manner thus controlling your blood sugar level. The bottom line; to keep a healthy heart and mind, asparagus is definitely the ideal natural supplement for you.
Fact: A species of the asparagus plant, called Apollo contains several minerals and vitamins that fight fiercely against diseases.
Prevents Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that causes inflammation of the joints of the hip, knees lower back, toes, and fingers. Osteoporosis is another bone disease with excessive bone porosity charateristics. This porosity makes bones weak, more brittle, and prone to fractures.
As studies suggest, these diseases are quite common and the cause is usually a deficiency in vitamin K. Asparagus is an important source of vitamin K. As such, it aids in bone formation and bone repairs. It does this by synthesizing Osteocalcin (a protein that strengthens the bone composition). So, asparagus helps in keeping your bones strong and prevents against osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Fact: China leads every other country in the production of asparagus with over 9,000 hectares of plantation and 900 thousand tonnes of average annual output.
Prevents Various Kinds of Birth Defects and Aids Lactation In Nursing Mothers
For expectant mothers, the consumption of asparagus can reduce risks of low birth-weight as well as other kinds of birth defects as it contains calcium, folic acid, folate, and minerals.
Moreover, the diuretic effect of the asparagus juice reduces excessive water retention in the body. Also for nursing moms, asparagus is one of those great lactogenic foods which can increase milk supply. Asparagus stimulates the production of prolactin, as it contains the amino acid, tryptophan.
Fact: Asparagus plants can live up to 15 years if properly cultivated. (According to a research done at the University of California)
Asparagus Is Great For Your Skin!
Another benefit of consuming asparagus includes healthier skin that ages much slower. Being rich in vitamins A & E, Folate, and potassium, asparagus helps to keep your skin hydrated, and also aids the creation the good proteins such as collagen.
Asparagus is also very rich in glutathione, a compound with excellent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals and other toxins. So, if you want healthier and more youthful skin, consider adding Asparagus to your daily meals!
Fact: When served fresh, asparagus contains the highest amount of glutathione per serving of any vegetable.
Asparagus Helps To Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Boosts Your Immune System
Asparagus hasn’t been medically proven to be a viable treatment for cancer. However, it is rich in Folate and has anti-inflammatory as well as other detoxifying properties. These attributes help reduce the risks of developing various cancers, e.g., those of the lungs, colon, bladder, and breast.
Fact: The white asparagus variant, also known as “white gold” is actually the same as the green breed but is grown by covering it up with dirt to prevent photosynthesis.
Fights Against Diabetes and Promotes Weight Loss
Asparagus health benefits also include diabetes and hypoglycemia prevention. The healthy juice of this vegetable contains many essential minerals with high fiber content and minimal calories.
These components help to control the blood sugar levels, fighting against diabetes, and promote rapid weight loss. Asparagus is an excellent vegetable to incorporate in your meals if you’re looking to lose some body weight.
Fact: Asparagus use for medicinal purposes dates back to 3000 BC where it was used in eastern Mediterranean countries.
Aids In Healthy And Clear Vision
It is common knowledge that eating green vegetables improves visual health. The composition of glutathione and vitamins A and C in Asparagus plant supplies the body with antioxidants needed to keep free radicals at bay.
Fact: Eating asparagus can help cure a hangover and also protect your liver from the toxins present in alcohol.
Asparagus Is a Natural Aphrodisiac for Both Women and Men
While on a date or with your significant other, eating a couple of stalks of this phallus-shaped veggie can yield very good results as it contains vitamin B6 and E which acts as stimulants. Additionally, drinking its juice preserves the original nutrients which can increase male sex drive and also boost sperm count.
Fact: Asparagus comes in hundreds of varieties but only 20 types are suitable for human consumption.
Prevents Urinary Tract Infections and Promotes Easy Excretion of Excess Body Fluids
If you’re worried that eating asparagus will affect the smell of your urine, be aware that there’s also an advantage to that – it helps fight against UTI by flushing unhealthy bacteria out of your urinary tract. Asparagus also helps to rid your system of excess salt and fluids.
Fact: Scientific research proves that not everyone is capable of detecting asparagus smell in urine.
Excellent Source of Vitamin C to Maintain an Overall Healthy Body System
Asparagus is rich in the antioxidant Vitamin C. Vitamin C lowers blood pressure, maintains a vibrant immune system, fights against cataracts, prevents macular degeneration, and lots more!
Fact: Purple-colored asparagus contains 25% more natural sugar than green asparagus, although the color changes when it is cooked.
And there you have it. Incorporating asparagus into your diet is a choice you won’t regret. This nutritious vegetable offers a plethora of health benefits for everyone and truly earns its Superfood status.
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