Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Asparagus
This succulent, savory
contains a stimulating blend of
nutrients, making this member of the lily family a fantastic food for your
Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients as well as provides a wide
variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E,
and the minerals zinc, manganese and selenium. It contains the amino acid
asparagine, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that helps insulin do its job
of transporting glucose. Itís also especially rich in glutathione, a detoxifying
compound that can help destroy carcinogens. For this reason, asparagus may help
fight or protect against certain
cancers, including bone, breast, lung and colon cancers.
Reasons to Incude Asparagus in Diet
Asparagus is extremely
low in calories at about 20 per
serving (five spears). This low-calorie, high-fiber veggie is a great food
for weight loss and overall health.
Helps regulate blood sugar: The Mayo Clinic notes that
vitamin B6 may affect blood sugar levels and advises caution for people who
or low blood sugar. However, those with healthy levels can
benefit from asparagusís ability to regulate it.
Lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes: As with
heart disease, risk of type 2 diabetes increases with excessive
inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, asparagusí impressive
anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of antioxidants make it a good
preventive food. A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition
also suggested that asparagusí ability to improve insulin secretion and
improve beta-cell function also helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Beta cells are unique cells in the pancreas that produce, store and release
Anti-aging benefits: The antioxidant glutathione is
thought to slow the aging process, according to a 1998 article in The Lancet
journal. And the
folate that asparagus provides works with B12 to prevent cognitive
decline. A Tufts University study found that older adults with healthy
levels of folate and B12 performed better during a test of response speed
and mental flexibility than those with lower levels of folate and B12.
Asparagus can act as a natural diuretic, according to a
2010 study published in the West Indian Medical Journal. This can help rid
the body of excess salt and fluid, making it especially good for people
suffering from edema and high blood pressure. It also helps flush out toxins
in kidneys and prevent kidney stones. On the other hand, the National
Institutes of Health recommends that people who are suffering from uric acid
kidney stones should avoid asparagus.
Folic Acid Benefit: Asparagus significant amount of
folate, is important for women of childbearing age to consume daily. Folate
can decrease the risk of neural-tube defects in fetuses, so it is essential
that mothers-to-be get enough of it. In a study from Tufts University, older
adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on a test of
response speed and mental flexibility. (If youíre 50-, be sure youíre
getting enough B12: your ability to absorb it decreases with age.)
Fiber Benefit: Asparagus is known to help stabilize
digestion due to the high amount of
and that it contains. Both help move food through the gut and
provide relief from discomfort during digestion. According to The Ohio State
University, asparagus contains inulin, a unique dietary fiber associated
with improved digestion. Inulin is a prebiotic; it does not get broken down
and digested until it reaches the large intestine. There, it nurtures
bacteria known to improve nutrient absorption, decrease allergies and reduce
the risk of colon cancer.
Cancer risk: This herbaceous plantóalong with avocado,
kale and Brussels sproutsóis a particularly rich source of glutathione, a
detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful
compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect
against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon,
larynx and lung cancers.
This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in
You can enjoy this veggie raw or with minimal preparation,
which the Romans seemed to appreciate. They had a saying, ďAs quick as
cooking asparagus,Ē for something done rapidly.
When purchasing asparagus, look for firm,
fresh spears with closed,
compact tips and uniform diameter so that all spears will cook in the same
amount of time. Larger diameter spears are more tender.
To store fresh asparagus, keep it clean, cold and covered. Trim 1/4- to
1/2-inch from the ends of the stems and stand them upright in an inch or 2
of water in a glass. Store covered loosely with plastic in the refrigerator.
Use within 2 to 3 days of purchase for best quality.
To prepare asparagus for cooking, first thoroughly rinse the stalks in
warm water. Next, remove the tough, woody ends of the stalks. One way to do
this is to snap off the ends of the spears: Starting at the base of the
stalk and working toward the point, bend the spear several times until you
find a place where it breaks easily. Snap off the woody base at that point.
Steaming, roasting and grilling are favorite methods for cooking
The wealth of nutrients offered by asparagus is truly remarkable, especially
since it has fiber and is so nutritionally balanced.
Dated 18 July 2014