The Extraordinary Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus has long been recognized as a nutritious and tasty vegetable, with various species being grown in ancient Egypt as early as 3000 B.C. Today the U.S. is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of asparagus, cultivating around 100,000 tons per year. Its worldwide popularity is not only due to its healthful properties, but also because it’s so easy to prepare and cook. Its simplicity is what makes it so versatile and appetizing. Imagine succulent asparagus tossed with fresh pasta and a garlic dressing, or used to add a touch of glamour to a simple omelet. Apart from the mood-boosting effects of eating asparagus, it is one of the most amazing superfoods you can eat, providing numerous health benefits.
Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits
Recent research has shown that the most popular species of asparagus in the U.S. (Asparagus officinalis) contains saponins, a group of chemical compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Saponins have also been linked with improved blood pressure and better blood sugar regulation.
Anti-Oxidant Health Benefits
Asparagus contains numerous antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc. It also holds impressive amounts of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH).
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients are considered an essential part of a healthy diet, especially to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems, including certain cancers.
Anti-Cancer Health Benefits
Research into asparagus and the development of cancer is only in the initial stages, but cell studies have clearly revealed a link between asparagus and improved regulation of inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, it would not be surprising if asparagus actually plays a key role in reducing the risks of certain cancers.
Digestive Health Benefits
In certain cultures, asparagus has been used for centuries as a digestive aid. Modern research has concluded that it contains high levels of a unique kind of carbohydrate called inulin, which is a critical factor in improved nutrient absorption. It is also thought to play a part in reducing the risk of developing certain allergies, and lowering the risk of developing colon cancer. Apart from these impressive health benefits, asparagus is also rich in fiber and protein, which both help with digestion and regulating the absorption of food into our bodies.
Healthy Heart Benefits
Asparagus is a very good source of folic acid, which is essential to many bodily functions. It is especially essential in supporting rapid cell division, such as during pregnancy. But folic acid is essential for all adults, as it aids the production of healthy red blood cells and supports good blood flow throughout the body. A shortage of folic acid in the body can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer. As well as folic acid, asparagus is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6, which also play an important part in heart health. It also provides a good amount of soluble fiber, which has frequently been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Diuretic Health Benefits
Asparagine, an amino acid found in asparagus, has been used throughout the ages to combat arthritis and rheumatism, and is also an effective diuretic. It is thought to be an essential ingredient in neuronal development, and may also help with the function of the liver.
As well as all the positive health benefits already mentioned, asparagus contains numerous other essential vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, and K, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. It is also low in calories and has no cholesterol or fat. Considering the fact that it is also regarded as an aphrodisiac, can you afford not to add more of this impressive vegetable to your diet?