Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial flowering plant, belonging to the genus asparagus and renowned for its medicinal properties and high nutritional value. Native to most of the Europe, western Asia and northern Africa, the cultivation of this vegetable species takes place with the coming of the spring season. This unique plant variety, with its distinct delicate flavors, is very popular in countries like Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France, where a large percentage of the species are produced annually. In fact, the vegetable was initially cultivated by the ancient Romans, Egyptians, and the Greeks, who used it all through the year, fresh in the spring season and dried in the winters. The common varieties of Asparagus are Green asparagus and White asparagus from Europe, Violet or Purple asparagus from Italy and England and some wild varieties found mostly in England. With this article, explore all the about the benefits of asparagus.
Health Benefits Of Eating Asparagus
- Asparagus is a very good source of potassium. This, combined with an active amino acid in the species called asparagines, gives the vegetable a diuretic effect and thus, helps the body get rid of excess water. Apart from this, asparagus is also low in sodium.
- The vegetable has anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore, used in the treatment of asthma, arthritis, and rheumatism.
- Intake of adequate asparagus, in the early stages of pregnancy, helps the body fight against certain birth defects, like spina bifida (a neural tube defect). It is said that a cup of asparagus provides around 263 mcg of folate (Vitamin B), which is very important for the synthesis of DNA. Absence or inadequate supply of folate causes the improper division of fetus’ nerve cells, in turn leading to birth defects.
- Folate, which is present in asparagus as well, is essential for a healthy cardio-vascular system. In fact, the combination of asparagus with honey is used to strengthen a weak heart.
- Asparagus contains a type of carbohydrate called inulin, which is very important for the proper functioning of a healthy gut or intestine. The presence of this carbohydrate in human intestine promotes the growth of friendly bacteria, like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria and thus, it becomes difficult for the unfriendly bacteria to cause imbalances in the intestinal tract.
- Green asparagus has high levels of vitamin C, which is very important to produce and maintain the body collagen (a protein). This protein is essential in holding all the cells and tissues of the body together.
- The fiber content of asparagus makes it a very good laxative agent.
- The vegetable protects small vessels in the body from rupturing and is very good for the capillaries. It is very popularly used for the treatment of varicose veins.
- Asparagus is a good anti-oxidant, a fact which makes it helpful in curing cancer, cataract and other eye problems.
- The vegetable also helps in controlling blood sugar levels and therefore, is very beneficial for people with diabetes.
- Excessive intake of asparagus causes certain uric acid related problems, like gout and kidney stones.
- Asparagus gives a foul odor to urine.
- It is sufficient to cut off the fibrous base of asparagus before cooking. Peeling of the vegetable is not required.
- Wash the stalks of asparagus with cold water, to remove any kind of dust or soil residue.
- Don’t allow asparagus stalks to remain in the water for a long time, as this will make them soggy.
- Asparagus should never be cooked in iron pots, as the tannins in the vegetable react with iron and cause the discoloration of stalks.