12 Health Benefits of Asparagus That Will Make You Want To Eat More
A member of the lily family, asparagus is known for its subtle sweet taste and earthy bitterness. Initially produced in ancient Egypt, this superfood isn't just a tasty complement to your meals but is also packed with health benefits, like helping prevent urinary tract infections, aiding weight loss, stimulating reproductive health, and even working as a mood booster.
This delicious vegetable contains low calories and a high nutrient profile, including vitamins C, E, K, fiber, and folate. Occurring in various colors (green, white, and purple), this popular veggie is used in dishes, including pasta, frittatas, and stir-fries worldwide.
Asparagus Nutritional Facts
Asparagus is a superfood rich in nutrition. It is low in calories and carbohydrates as only one cup of this vegetable delivers about 27 calories.
Compared to other veggies, it's affluent in protein and an incredible source of vitamin K, potassium, folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C, A, and B6.
One cup or 135 grams of raw asparagus contains:
- Calories: 27
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams, i.e. 12% of Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 56.2 mcg or 70% of DV
- Folate: 70.2 mcg or 18% of DV
- Vitamin C: 7.6 mg or 13% of DV
- Potassium: 273 mg or 8% of DV
Cooked Asparagus Nutritional Value
Cooked asparagus also has an exceptional nutritional profile. While cooking, asparagus's availability of certain compounds may increase while nutrient content may reduce.
According to Healthline, only half a cup or 90 grams of cooked asparagus supplies:
- Calories: 20
- Protein: 2.2 grams
- Fiber: 1.8 grams
- Vitamin K: 57% of the RDI
- Folate: 34% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Phosphorous: 5% of the RDI
Besides this, it also offers other micronutrients like zinc, iron, and riboflavin.
Asparagus Health Benefits
Asparagus is known as one of the foods that have numerous health benefits. This delectable vegetable is low in calories and high in essential nutrients, like vitamins C, E, and K, as well as folate and fiber.
Traditionally, they used to treat arthritis and rheumatism with the help of this vegetable due to its unique phytochemical antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Additionally, it's a natural diuretic, indicating it can help ease bloating and fluid retention.
1. Improve Heart Health
Asparagus possesses folate, antioxidants, and vitamin K that contribute to heart health. Folate assists in lowering amino acid homocysteine levels, which can harm blood vessel linings and raise the risk of heart disease. Thiamine and vitamin B also regulate the homocysteine level.
Besides, the antioxidants like flavonoids and vitamin C in this vegetable may assist in protecting the heart from damage induced by free radicals and lower the risk of heart-related illnesses by guarding against oxidative damage. In addition, it's an excellent source of Vitamin K, which is essential for heart health as this nutrient controls artery hardening and holds calcium out of the artery linings.
2. Fight And Prevent Cancer
This herbaceous plant asparagus is an especially rich source of a detoxifying compound, glutathione, that helps break down carcinogens and other toxic compounds like free radicals. Because it contains anticancer properties, consuming this vegetable may help safeguard against and combat certain forms of cancer, such as breast, bone, larynx, colon, and lung cancers.
Specific Compounds called saponins protodioscin in asparagus help to fight ovarian cancer cells and cause the cancer cells to fail. It also includes B vitamin folate, which reduces the risk of colon, pancreas, and esophagus cancer.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
If you are watching blood sugar levels, consuming asparagus is a great way as it contributes to reducing blood sugar. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels and makes them remain steady. At the same time, it promotes insulin output and aids in absorbing glucose in our body.
This vegetable is high in protein and an excellent source of potassium, which assists in urine and salt excretion that ultimately aids in maintaining blood sugar levels. It even helps fight type-2 diabetes.
4. Anti-aging Benefits
Are you looking for a delicious way to support your anti-aging efforts, then reach for some asparagus. This tasty veggie may also have some anti-aging benefits. Loaded with antioxidants, it helps to safeguard your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is one of the adequate dietary sources of the powerful antioxidant glutathione that keeps your skin looking young and healthy.
It's a good source of vitamin C, and this nutrient is vital for collagen production, an essential protein that keeps your skin looking soft and supple. For this reason, ingesting asparagus may help lessen the fine lines and wrinkles appearance, enhance skin elasticity, and even protect against skin cancer.
5. Help With Weight Loss
Asparagus is a nutritious addition to a weight loss or weight management diet as it's low in calories and high in soluble fiber, inulin. Having high-fiber food helps to control appetite, promote satiety, and support healthy digestion. This nutrient even makes you feel full for longer periods, which can lower calorie intake and aid in weight loss.
In addition, this tasty veggie is low in fat and carbs, making it a good choice for those watching their caloric intake. It's about 94% of water, and consuming water-rich and low-calorie food is ultimately associated with weight management.
6. Promotes Reproductive Health
Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, as it's high in the amino acid asparagine, which suggests it can help increase urine production and eliminate excess salt and liquids from the body. It is used as a traditional cure to treat UTIs (urinary tract infections) and other urinary conditions.
So, a diet rich in this vegetable may help prevent developing painful infections, as it helps harmful bacteria out of your urinary tract. This diuretic effect may be helpful for people with high blood pressure, heart-related disease, or fluid retention(edema).
7. Improve Digestive Health
Asparagus is rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. Merely half a cup of this vegetable includes 1.8 grams of fiber, equal to 7% of your daily requirements. Adequate fiber intake can help prevent constipation, improve bowel regularity, and lower the risk of colon cancer.
It also contains prebiotics, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut and promotes their growth to elevate a healthy digestive system. Even cooked asparagus is useful for gastrointestinal disorders, as it helps control digestive function, decrease inflammation, and stimulate repair.
8. Lower Blood Pressure
Consuming potassium-rich vegetables like asparagus is a great choice to lower your blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease, so increasing potassium consumption and lowering salt intake is a suitable way to lower your blood pressure.
Asparagus is a good source of potassium, as serving only half a cup supplies 6% of your daily value of potassium. This nutrient helps to reduce blood pressure levels by relaxing the blood vessel walls and eliminating extra salt via urine. Since this vegetable contains asparagine, it may help enhance blood flow as the active compound in this tasty veggie cause to dilate the blood vessels.
9. Boosts Brain Health
Asparagus is packed with vitamins C and E. These two nutrients are a powerful blend to lower Alzheimer's risk. Even this vegetable may control cognitive impairment and cognitive deterioration in the elderly. This veggie also contains folate, which is capable of lifting spirits and aiding in treating irritability.
The nutrients also work as depression treatment, as low folate levels result in depression. Besides, folate content in this vegetable has been shown to assist individuals with seizures and epilepsy.
10. Improves Bone Health
Asparagus is replete with vitamin K, which is linked with improving bone health. Only half a cup or 90 grams of this cooked veggie supplies 57% of the daily recommended intake (RDI) of vitamin K. Low level of this nutrient in your body is associated with bone fractures, so vitamin K consumption is important to enhance your bone overall function.
Sufficient consumption of this vitamin improves calcium absorption and lowers the calcium eliminated in urine. Eventually, it improves your bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Besides this, it also controls bone mineralization and aids in keeping bone density. Also, consuming asparagus supports the bones and joints due to its iron content.
11. Boost Immunity
Rich in vitamins and minerals, asparagus plays a vital role in the immune function. It includes elevated levels of vitamin C, which aids in boosting white blood cell production that battles diseases. This vegetable also possesses vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that assists in safeguarding the immune function from injury caused by free radicals.
Another important compound in this veggie is glutathione, which has a vital role in immune function as it helps destroy carcinogens. It even assists the detoxification process. It also enhances immunity and fights infections thanks to its prebiotics content.
12. Fight Inflammation
Asparagus retains a unique mix of anti-inflammatory nutrients, including saponins like asparanin A, protodioscin, sarsasapogenin, and diosgenin. As a result, frequent consumption of this vegetable may support lower inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation.
Also, it contains a high level of antioxidants, which help to fight inflammation. It includes substances that help to relieve the type of inflammation which may result in heart disease. It may even help to ease pain and other problems like backaches, headaches, gout, and rheumatism.
Ways To Add Asparagus In Your Diet
Not only is asparagus good for you, it is delectable, and you can easily incorporate it into your diet. It can be prepared in different ways, like boiling, steaming, grilling, roasting, and sauteing.
You can also find canned vegetables in the market which are already precooked and ready to consume. It can be used in dishes like stir-fries, salads, omelets, pasta, and frittatas, and it can be a preferable choice as a side dish.
Here are some ways to enjoy asparagus by adding it to your diet:
- Grill asparagus with spices and relish it as a side dish.
- Cook it, cool it down, and add it to the salad.
- You can chop asparagus into small pieces and put it in a stir-fry.
- Have it as a snack by sprinkling it with soft cheese(brie, goat cheese, etc.) and baking them.
- For a fresh twist to your food, add to pasta.
- Roll asparagus in egg whites, then bread crumbs, and bake into fries.
- For the nutritional boost, put asparagus spears in an omelet.
- Make a hearty soup with asparagus, including cooked onions, lemon juice, leeks, russet potatoes, etc.
Add fresh asparagus to your meals and serve them roasted, steamed, or raw to enjoy this superb plant.
Potential Side Effects
Although asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be consumed every day, it has some potential side effects. This veggie is high in fiber content, which could lead to stomach cramps, flatulence, and gastric upset in some individuals. It includes asparagusic acid that may split into sulfurous compounds when metabolized and supplies an unusual smell in the urine.
If you are taking a medicine called lithium, having asparagus could interact negatively with your body as it boosts its retention. Besides, be careful about its allergic reaction, which could lead to watery eyes, breathing problems, and skin rashes. So, before consuming this tasty asparagus, you must consult your doctor to avoid its adverse effects.
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