Although asparagus is something many people tend to avoid eating starting in childhood, there are numerous, scientifically-backed health benefits of to this vegetable. Incorporating it into a dietary plan can bring about positive changes in, among many things, weight loss and digestion. Asparagus contains a variety of nutrients important in promoting healthy living. You can use it in a variety of different recipes.
Its health benefits are being recognized on an increasingly larger scale. Many people with vitamin deficiencies rely on it to help balance their vitamin levels. Some studies, especially in China where the country’s government officially recognizes asparagus as an alternative treatment to synthetic drugs, suggest that eating it reduces symptoms of anxiety. When incorporating this spring vegetable into a diet plan, it is crucial to know the following information about what it contains and what its health benefits are.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Promotes immune health
Consumption of asparagus improves overall digestive functions. It contains high levels of the prebiotic fiber inulin. The body converts the this substance into short-chain fatty acids, then into ketones. These nourish body tissue and colon cells. Thus, asparagus can also help lower the risk for diabetes. This vegetable can promote weight loss, lower cholesterol, alleviate constipation. It seems it can even reduce common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD).
Individuals with autoimmune disorders often experience digestive tract issues. And they are often diagnosed with IBD before receiving the autoimmune disorder diagnosis. Eating fiber-dense asparagus is beneficial to those with digestive disorders. Many recommend eating fiber-rich foods as an alternative treatment to synthetic pharmaceuticals available for digestive-related disorders and symptoms.
As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food, asparagus seems to also play a role in reducing the risk for certain types of cancer. While research on this correlation is in its infancy, it appears this vegetable can influence tthe metabolic processing of cancer cell types in rodents. This results in better regulation of bodily oxidation and inflammation (high levels of each being correlated with risks for cancer in humans).
Contributes to weight loss
Asparagus can help in a weight loss regiment, since it is a low-calorie, low-sodium food that lacks any cholesterol content. Its high inulin content also helps suppress appetites. In fact, studies have found that only about six grams of inulin are equally as filling as 260 calories from food. This is why many people are adding daily portions of this plant into their meals in order to help lose (or maintain) those pesky extra pounds.
Reduces high blood sugar
One of the biggest benefits of eating asparagus is that it helps maintain healthy levels of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine seem to increase the risk of various cardiac disorders and high blood sugar. The B vitamins packed into asparagus help regulate the conversion of homocysteine and maintain balanced levels. For those struggling with losing weight, eating this vegetable can help the body metabolize those pesky sugars and starches that tend to hang on even in spite of exercise.
Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
Those looking to treat anxiety might also wish to consider adding asparagus to their diet. Scientific studies are finding correlations between the consumption of asparagus and the easing of anxiety symptoms. One such study conducted by Chinese researchers evaluated the anxiolytic-like effect of AEAS, an extract taken from the plant’s stem .
Asparagus, which is widely used as an ingredient in food and beverages in China. One study found that it can also produce a strong anxiety-relief effect in its test subjects (which were mice). Researchers noticed it decreased the secretion of cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that, when in balance, helps control responses to stressful or anxiety-inducing stimuli. However, too much cortisol exacerbates feelings of anxiety. For those with an overabundance of cortisol secretion, eating asparagus might be useful in decreasing the amount of secretion, thereby relieving some symptoms of anxiety.
The nutritional value of asparagus is relatively high. It is densely packed with essential vitamins, proteins, and minerals. These are the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals it contains:
- vitamin A (a powerful antioxidant)
- vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine, which helps convert carbohydrates into glucose, giving the body more energy to function)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- vitamins B3, B5 and B6
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
This high vitamin content is especially crucial for those with vitamin deficiencies. Many people with autoimmune disorders are naturally low in B vitamins and are finding that adding asparagus into their diets helps boost vitamin levels, giving them more energy to function.
In terms of mineral content, this vegetable contains:
Asparagus is also one of the foods rich in a bioflavonoid called rutin. Rutin produces collagen and assists the body use vitamin C more efficiently. Additionally, it contains glutathione (GSH), a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Again, individuals with autoimmune disorders use asparagus as a way to rebuild damaged immune systems and restore liver and digestive functions.
Asparagus is most commonly used in foods. There are many ways you can cook this tasty vegetable. The most popular way to cook it is roasting. You can also stir fry, blanch or steam it. You can also eat asparagus raw. We would not recommend boiling it, as the essential nutrients and aroma tend to lose some of their potency in the process.
Since it has a unique taste, you can use asparagus both as a side dish and as the main ingredient in more complex dishes. It works well with a variety of seasonings. For those who are not fond of the taste, seasonings can help make it more palatable.
While asparagus is not a type of food many of us incorporate into our daily diets, we definitely should find ways to include it in our meals. Many people are nutrient deficient or might be at risk for different types of diseases and cancers. Research and personal testimonies seem to suggest that it is indeed a super food. The health and nutritional value of asparagus are strong indicators that it is a powerful food that boosts the body’s overall health and performance.