The health benefits of asparagus include relief from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), cancer, cataract, rheumatism, diabetes, tuberculosis, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases. It also considered good for fertility and helps reduce urinary tract infections and bad cholesterol.
It is beneficial during pregnancy, lowers levels of homocysteine in the body, improves the digestive health and also maintains cardiovascular health.
Asparagus is a packed source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It is rich in folate, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The minerals found in asparagus include iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
Asparagus belongs to Asparagaceae family. It was earlier classified into the lily family. It is a spring vegetable and is valued for its therapeutic properties. It has its native in Western Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa. Asparagus is one of the most widely cultivated crops all around the world. Its medicinal effect extends from its root to shoot. The plant grows up to 100 to 150 cm, but only a young budding asparagus plant is edible. A well-grown asparagus plant is not considered suitable for eating.
Asparagus comes in a variety of colors – white, green and purple. White asparagus is deficient of the green pigment, chlorophyll as it is grown away from the sunlight. Whereas, purple asparagus has loads of phytochemicals and anthocyanin’s which gives a unique color to the vegetable.
Nutritional Value of Asparagus
Each 100g serving contains:
|Vitamin A||38 μg|
|Beta carotene||449 μg|
|Vitamin K||41.6 μg|
Health Benefits of Asparagus
1. Decrease the chances of birth risk
Asparagus is rich in folate. Folic acid is essential and beneficial for the pregnant women. The folate deficiency in expecting moms can cause birth defects in their infants. Folic acid helps them protect their baby from neural tube defects and miscarriage.
2. Controls levels of homocysteine
The raised levels of homocysteine can pose a threat of the damage of blood vessels, clotting of blood in the veins, and atherosclerosis, which can lead to cardiac disorders. Homocysteine is produced in the blood when methionine (amino acid) breaks down in the body. The deficiency of vitamin B in the body can increase the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Asparagus is enriched with Vitamin B, folate, B6 and B12 which are essential for converting homocysteine into cysteine. This is then converted back to methionine (methylation cycle), thus maintaining the normal levels.
3. Prevents Osteoporosis
The richness of vitamin K in asparagus makes it an excellent food for treating age-related disease- osteoporosis. Vitamin K helps in strengthening the bones by improving their ability to absorb calcium. Having a cup of asparagus provides you with about 70% of daily requirements of vitamin K.
4. Helps in PMS
The extracts of asparagus can be used for easing pre-menstrual bloating. The essential nutrients present in asparagus helps to overcome depression and fatigue, and also reduces menstrual cramps. Moreover, asparagus helps in maintaining the hormonal balance during menstruation and also controls blood loss.
5. Boosts Sexual Health
The root of asparagus is widely appreciated in Ayurveda therapy. It has aphrodisiac properties and is used to cure male and female sexual disorders. It helps in enhancing the libido and boosts the count of sperm and their motility. In females, asparagus has been proven to be effective in menopausal syndrome and anemia.
6. Improves Digestion
Asparagus contains nutrient inulin. Inulin aids in the improved absorption of nutrients. It also reduces the risk of stomach cancer and allergies. Moreover, the fiber content in asparagus helps in maintaining the proper functioning of digestive system and avoids constipation and also irritable bowel syndrome. It is also recommended in Ayurveda therapy for curing diarrhea, dyspepsia, and dysentery.
7. Increase urination
Proper urination is important for the removal of toxins from the body. Asparagus consists of an amino acid called asparagine which is responsible for stimulating urination. The increased urination help you get rid of excess salt in your body.
8. Anti-tumorous property
Wild asparagus, contain a certain variety of phytonutrients called saponins. These saponins obtained from asparagus possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Moreover, asparagus also helps in increasing the levels of glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant and a detoxifying compound which plays a major role in aging and helps in the prevention of many diseases like HIV, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, cystic fibrosis, cancer, and diabetes.
9. Helpful in Diabetes
The anti-inflammatory properties of asparagus help in reducing the risk of diabetes. The presence of the mineral chromium in asparagus helps in regulating the blood sugar levels of the body. Studies have proven that asparagus improves insulin secretion, keeps a check on blood sugar levels, and provides an anti-diabetic effect.
10. Cures Hangover
The extracts of asparagus contain essential amino acids that are quite effective in curing hangovers. Research studies show that leaves and shoots of asparagus pose a good amount of inorganic mineral content, which also protects the liver cells from the toxic effects of alcohol.
11. Helps in Cataract
Asparagus is a rich source of vitamin A. vitamin A is essential for good vision and also prevents eye diseases. The presence of antioxidants in asparagus helps in defending the retina from the damage caused by the oxygen-free radicals. Moreover, the amino acid like glutathione present in asparagus also helps in reducing the risk cataracts and night blindness.
12. Helps in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Asparagus is a folate-rich food. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which is important to overcome severe conditions like rheumatism. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the joints. Consuming asparagus may help from relieving the pain and also ease the overall poor functioning in the body associated with arthritis.
13. Great source of Rutin
Rutin is a flavonoid that possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to treat hemorrhoids, prevents the clotting of blood, strengthens the blood vessels, reduces cholesterol, enhances the permeability of capillaries and also protects them from becoming fragile. Moreover, it also reduces the viscosity of blood preventing the hardening of arteries and helps in easing hypertension maintaining cardiovascular health.
14. Cures Tuberculosis
Asparagus racemose is known for curing bronchitis and tuberculosis. It works by improving the efficiency of the functioning of lung tissues and also helps in treating infections of the throat as well.
15. Help prevent Neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are conditions affecting the neurons of the human brain. Our body does not have the ability to replace the damaged neurons. Studies reveal that asparagus racemosus is quite effective in treating such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases. This property in asparagus is due to the presence of phytoestrogens that have certain neuroprotective effects.
16. Helps in Epilepsy
The roots of Asparagus racemosus can be used in curing the symptoms of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that affects the brain. It leads to recurrent convulsions. In this condition, the brain transmits abnormal signals as a result of irreversible changes in the brain tissues.
17. Prevents Urinary tract infections
Asparagus racemosus helps to cure urinary tract infections. It possesses diuretic properties. This is due to the presence of antioxidants and vitamins C and E. It increases the frequency and volume of urination that helps in detoxifying and flushing the toxic waste out of the body.
18. Controls Cholesterol Levels
The diseases such as hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia indicate the presence of high cholesterol and fat content in the body, which pose a major threat to cardiovascular health. The richness of anti-oxidants in asparagus helps treat oxidative stress, along with these disorders.
19. Cures acne
The secretion of sebum on the face is also a reason for acnes and pimples. The asparagus reduces the sebum secretion on the face and also rejuvenates your skin. Thus, it prevents acne and pimples, making your skin look flawless and blemishes free.
20. Promote Healthy Hairs
The antioxidants, calcium, Vitamin A, and vitamin C, contents in the asparagus add strength to the roots of the hair. This prevents hair fall and promotes more growth of hair by moisturizing the scalp.
Simple tips to have asparagus
- You can have asparagus raw also. Wash it nicely before eating.
- This one is a quick, healthy, light and easy to prepare the meal. Prepare noodles with creamy avocados and walnuts. Topped your noodles with peas and asparagus.
- Asparagus, when roasted, develops a rich taste. Put the asparagus spears onto the tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and keep in the oven. Roast for ten minutes. Use your roasted asparagus to stir through a risotto, or a creamy pasta dish.
- Asparagus and eggs are a great combination. Try to dip fresh spears into a softly boiled egg, else make asparagus soup and top that up with a poached egg and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Asparagus contains a carbohydrate known as raffinose, which is difficult to digest. To digest this complex sugar, the body needs to ferment it. During this process, gas is often produced and subsequently released from the body.
- Asparagus may alter the hormonal balance. During pregnancy, it is usually considered safe to consume a normal amount but not to opt for medicinal doses without consulting a doctor.
- It can be allergic also. Please consult your doctor before having asparagus.
- The asparagus contains purines. The breakdown of purine create uric acid and get accumulated in the body as a result of a high purine content. This is not favorable for people suffering from gout or kidney stones.