What is Asparagus?
The onset of spring brings us a nutritional vegetable known as Asparagus. This vegetable was a member of the lily family earlier, but has now been classified in Asparagaceae family. Most of the plants in this family are non-edible and in fact, most of the varieties of asparagus are also non-edible. Out of all the varieties, garden asparagus is an exception and it is loved by many people.
It is widely grown as a vegetable crop in Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. The biggest asparagus producing countries in the world are China, Peru and Mexico. This vegetable is cultivated in a salty soil, thus making the soil incompetent for the cultivation of other crops.
Different colors in which asparagus is available:
- Asparagus that is typically available in the grocery store is green in color. The shoots of this plant which have grown upward from the soil and get in contact with sunlight for gathering energy (with the help of chlorophyll pigment) develop green color.
- If the soil around the growing shoots of this plant gathers up into a mound, then it hinders the shoots from the sunlight. This leads to the alteration of metabolic activities associated with the green pigment. This is how white asparagus is been grown.
- Apart from the green and white varieties of asparagus, it is also available in purple color. Pigment present in this variety is anthocyanin which contributes the purple color to this variety.
What are the health benefits of asparagus?
- Asparagus nutrition truck: As the name says, asparagus is loaded with plenty of nutrients such as fibers, vitamin A, C, E and K, chromium, trace minerals etc., which helps transport glucose from the blood to the body cells by ameliorating the competency of insulin. In this way, the risk of Type 2 diabetes gets inhibited.
- Fights cancer: Cancer is one of the dreadful diseases that has encroached society. This vegetable is quite rich in glutathione which helps in the breakdown of cancer causing agents (carcinogens). This is the reason that it can help in fighting the fatal forms of cancer of bone, breast, colon, cervix and lungs.
- Keeps the heart healthy: Heart disease is the number one cause of death around the globe. Asparagus is highly rich in Vitamin K, which helps in the clotting of blood. Presence of Vitamin B in this vegetable helps in the regulation of amino acid homocysteine (in higher concentration, it can cause heart disease) and asparagine (helps in removing extra salt from the body). This in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases.The excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of asparagus help in lowering the risk of heart ailments. Asparagus fiber helps in reducing the cholesterol levels (one of the biggest enemy to your heart and overall health). It also helps in regulating the health of blood vessels by maintaining their elasticity.
- Increased urination: Asparagus increases urine production by expelling excess water from the body. It acts as a natural diuretic and helps in reducing the concentration of superfluous salts and fluids. It is helpful in patients who are suffering from edema or high blood pressure. It helps in releasing stress from the kidneys and glomerulus.
- Maintain bone health: Vitamin K present in asparagus helps in absorbing calcium for your bones. Having asparagus in your diet can reduce the risk of suffering from bone problems such as osteoporosis and fractures.
- Eye health: Vitamin B, A and C present in the asparagus helps protect your eyes. They guard the retina and prevent its oxidative damage caused by the free radicals present in the body. It is also helpful in reducing the formation of cataracts.
- Menstrual health: Calcium and Vitamin K present in asparagus help in fighting with cramps, bloating, muscles aches and mood swings associated with menstruation. Vitamin K regulates your hormones so that you do not feel any pain or cramps during menstruation. On the other hand, calcium relieves all the other PMS symptoms that keep you awake all night.
- Skin health: Asparagus is rich in niacin which is quite beneficial against acnes. It helps in the reduction of skin inflammation and irritation. Glutathione present in asparagus helps in reversing aging by fighting with free radicals. According to a survey conducted on women, it has been seen that vitamin C present in asparagus helps in the prevention of wrinkles and dry skin. Copper along with Vitamin B12 controls the elasticity of skin and graying of hair.
- Brain health: You can lessen your chances of having some dreadful diseases associated with the brain by eating asparagus. Folate present in this vegetable is linked with the health of nervous system. It regulates the homocysteine levels, inhibits neuron damage and guides the production of serotonin which later on helps in protecting you against the learning and behavioral disorders.
- During pregnancy: Folate present in asparagus can prove to be a boon in pregnancy as it helps in the synthesis of nucleic acid which ensures rapid growth of the fetus. Chances of miscarriage, premature delivery, retardation in the newborn are also decreased.
- Maintains the health of thyroid gland: Most of the people today suffer from the problems of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Thyroid is responsible for everyday body functions such as appetite, sleep and temperature. Its inefficiency can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, weight gain or loss, insomnia and menstrual irregularity. Asparagus possesses selenium whose deficiency leads to thyroid problems. Thus, eating asparagus can thwart thyroid problems.
- Curbs hearing loss: As the person grows older, his or her hearing power becomes weak. Vitamin A and the anti-oxidant properties of asparagus help in preventing hearing loss by preventing the loss of bone density which is linked to hearing loss.
- Muscle health: Asparagus consists of some compounds that can improve muscular health. Magnesium present in asparagus helps in combating several diseases of muscles.
Watch the video below to learn how to make fettuccine with shrimp and asparagus.
Is asparagus good for you?
Asparagus benefits are ample in number and it is undoubtedly beneficial for you. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of asparagus help in the neutralization of free radicals released in the body. These properties help in fighting with fatal diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and other ailments. From head to toe, it serves the body and helps in maintaining the health of each and every body part successfully.
Asparagus is also a boon for our emotional health. It helps us fight all the enemies of our mental health as it contains various kinds of essential vitamins which are necessary for us.
Over and above, it makes the defense mechanism of our body strong and firm. It fills the immune system with all the asparagus nutrition values.
Nutritional Facts of Asparagus
Asparagus is full of nutrients and these are as follows:
- Betaine, choline, Folate, folic acid, niacin, pantothecic acid, riboflavin, thiamin.
- Vitamins: Vitamin A, B12, B6, C, D, E, K.
- Minerals: Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.
- Proteins and amino acids: Alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cystine, gltumaic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine.
- Carbohydrates, fibers, sugars (fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).
- Fatty acids: Saturated fatty acids like Butanoic acid, Decanoic acid, Docosanoic acid, Dodecanoic acid, Eicosanoic acid, Heptadecanoic acid, Hexadecanoic acid, Hexanoic acid and Octadecanoic acid.Monounsaturated fatty acids like Docosenoic acid, Eicosenoic acid, Heptadecanoic acid, Hexadecenoic acid, Octadecenoic acid, Pentadecenoic acid and Tetradecenoic acid. Polyunsaturated fatty acids like Cis,cis-eicosadienoic n-6 acid, Docosahexaenoic n-3 acid,Docosapentaenoic n- 3 acid, Eicosadienoic acidEicosapentaenoic n-3 acid, Eicosatetraenoic acid, Octadecadienoic acid, Octadecatetraenoic acid and Octadecatrienoic acid.
- Others: Ash, water, theobromine.
Watch the video below to learn how to make a fun and simple asparagus salad.
Why does asparagus make your pee smell?
Asparagus gives a stinky smell to your urine after its consumption. It all happens because of the presence of an acid known as asparagusic acid. When our body digests this vegetable, it breaks down into simpler compounds. One of the compounds being formed are the sulfur containing ones.
These compounds are known to produce unpleasant odor and they are also volatile in nature which means they can evaporate easily. This is the reason we can smell it instantly after peeing.
What is asparagus good for?
Asparagus is good for a variety of purposes such as:
- Weight loss: It helps in the promotion of weight loss. It is a good source of fiber and low calories. Asparagus keeps your appetite under control and helps in maintaining the blood sugar levels. The diuretic properties of asparagus help to prevent weight gain.
- Treating Constipation: Asparagus fiber (inulin) is crucial for digestive health as the soluble fibers in asparagus attract a lot of water. This helps in slowing down the digestive process while removing all the toxins from the gut. The intake of asparagus also decreases the risk of colon cancer and it also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Treating Depression: Asparagus acts against depression efficiently. Depression is an offshoot of higher levels of homocysteine levels. This affects the production and secretion of important hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for regulating our sleep and appetite and they also make us feel good and happy. Including asparagus in your diet can ensure emotional stability.
- Fertility: Asparagus helps in boosting fertility. Vitamin E present in it is known for improving the quality of sex hormones and cells in both males and females. Its nutrition values help in keeping the sperms increased in number & volume, motile, and healthy which is essential for the fertilization process. It also has a positive effect on the genitals.
- Controlling Blood Pressure: Magnesium and calcium present in asparagus serve the purpose of easing hypertension which is a causative factor of heart stroke.
- Getting rid of Kidney stones: If you are having non-uric acid kidney stones, then asparagus is a great option for you. It can flush out all of the superfluous salts, fluids and toxins from the body which lead to the formation of stones. But it should not be consumed in kidney stones caused by uric acid as it may worsen the situation because of the acidic nature of asparagus.
- Asparagus is quite effective against diseases such as rheumatism, epilepsy and tuberculosis. It has been shown to reduce swelling and joint pains in patients of rheumatic arthritis with the help of niacin present in asparagus.
- It can help you in getting rid of hangovers. It can successfully alleviate the symptoms of hangover such as anxiety and headaches.
- The roots of asparagus possess racemosus which is effective against bronchitis and tuberculosis. These roots ameliorate the functioning of lung tissues and also help in reducing throat infections.
- Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and asparagus can prove to be a wonderful remedy for it. Tribal communities are known to use it for the treatment of epilepsy.
- It helps in the elevation of energy levels as it is full of vitamin B, magnesium and copper. These in combination help in supporting thyroid function, increasing iron levels and resisting chronic fatigue syndrome.
- If you are suffering from internal bleeding, then asparagus can help you as it is highly rich in Vitamin K that is the key factor for clotting the blood.