Health benefits of asparagus

Asparagus is classified as “superfood” such as chia seed, green tea, cinnamon, kale and the like, and it is non-starchy vegetables full of nutrients and fiber. The bright-green veggie is packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber. Thanks to all these nutrients, asparagus offers some serious health benefits.

1. It is full of vitamin K

While tasty and healthy, it is also high in vitamin K. Four buttons of cooked asparagus can range from 29 to 48 micrograms of vitamin K or one cup of asparagus has 56 micrograms of this vitamin, which is more than half the recommended daily dose of 90 micrograms depending on the type of preparation: fresh, frozen or preserved. Vitamin K is a vitamin involved in the prevention of blood suppression and in improving the health of the bones and the heart.

2. It is full of antioxidants

Asparagus—purple asparagus in particular—is full of anthocyanins, which give fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals. When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. Although cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, letting it boil or sauté for too long can negate some nutritional benefits.

Asparagus contains vitamin E another important antioxidant. This vitamin helps strengthen your immune system and protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Plus, vitamin E stimulates sex hormones, including estrogen in women and testosterone in men.

3. It is a rich source of folic acid

Four asparagus spears contain 22% of your recommended daily allowance of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for women who are planning on getting pregnant since it can help protect against neural tube defects in fetuses, so it is essential that mothers-to-be get enough of it. Also, folate is a vitamin that’s crucial to decreasing the changes of birth defects in a baby’s brain and spinal cord.

4. Digestive health

Asparagus is known to help stabilize digestion due to the high amount of fiber and protein that it contains. Asparagus contains inulin, a unique dietary fiber associated with improved digestion. Inulin is 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.

And thanks to prebiotics—carbohydrates that can’t be digested and help encourage a healthy balance of good bacteria, or probiotics, in your digestive track—it can also reduce gas. Plus, as a natural diuretic, asparagus helps flush excess liquid, combating belly bulge.

5. It can keep your urinary tract healthy

Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, making it a natural diuretic. In other words, eating more of the spears can help flush excess fluid and salt from your body, which may help prevent urinary tract infections.

Risks of eating asparagus

There are no life-threatening side effects of eating too much asparagus, but there may be some uncomfortable side effects such as gas, and a noticeable smell to the urine.

It is also possible to have an asparagus allergy, in which case you should not eat it. People who are allergic to other members of the lily family, such as onions, garlic, and chives, are more likely to be allergic to asparagus. Symptoms include a runny nose, hives, trouble breathing, and puffiness or swelling around the mouth and lips.

 

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