Nutrition & Weight Loss
Let’s be honest: green, leafy vegetables are hardly anyone’s favourite but believe us there are amazing benefits of asparagus and they are tasty too . We grow up scrunching our noses at their taste, trying to discreetly pass them onto someone else’s plate, wishing that they could appeal to our tongues.
As adults, we know all the magical nutrients that they hold inside of them and yet, we struggle to make them a consistent part of our diets. After all, following a well-balanced healthy diet is never an easy task and it takes years of learning and unlearning habits to follow.
However, even if we aren’t the biggest fans, we must appreciate the potent nutrition of green vegetables. They come in so many different shapes and sizes—some bulky, some slender—each carrying its own share of vitamins and minerals.
They can be game-changers in our fitness plans, bringing a large dose of immunity to the table, leaving us feeling full in a satisfied manner.
An important part of this green family is the infamous asparagus. It is an eye-catching vegetable: thin, tubular, looking like a miniature bamboo stem. Not only that, but it is also a very essential addition to a healthy meal.
The benefits of asparagus are plenty and they are offered to you with a minimal share of calories. Today, we are going to tell you about it!
Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that comes from the Asparagaceae family. It is also often treated as a part of the lily family. The type of asparagus that we are most familiar with is the garden asparagus, also known as Asparagus officinalis or even as sparrow grass.
Asparagus is usually grown in subtropical or temperate climates. Even though we mostly associate asparagus with its green color, there are certain varieties which are white and purple as well. The white asparagus has a milder taste, while the purple asparagus tastes sweeter than the green one.
The long, pointy spears of asparagus are mostly included in meals after roasting, boiling, steaming, frying, or grilling. It is not only an excellent ingredient in salads, but also in delicious dishes like pasta, frittatas, and even pizzas! You just can’t go wrong with choosing this vegetable.
Now that you know basic facts about asparagus, it is time to dive deep into the important stuff: the health benefits of asparagus.
Asparagus is a rich source of Vitamin K and the nutrient folate, while also having good quantities of other vitamins, minerals like iron, zinc, riboflavin, etc. It serves you with a healthy portion of your daily requirements for nutrition. It also fills your stomach just right and can bring you to the path of balanced eating.
Here are the main health benefits of asparagus:
1. Improves digestive health
As a vegetable, asparagus is rich in water and dietary fiber, which can aid digestion. It has both insoluble fiber to support bowel movements and soluble fiber to feed the good bacteria inside our guts. Thus, it can bring relief to constipation and bloated stomachs.
Also, the low sugar content of asparagus along with the high fiber can help reduce the risk of diabetes and also other conditions.
2. Provides antioxidants
Asparagus is a good source of antioxidants, such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, glutathione, flavonoids, and polyphenols. Purple asparagus in particular get their color from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has significant antioxidizing effects.
These antioxidants eliminate harmful free radicals and keep your body safe. They are also anti-inflammatory and can even reduce blood pressure. Antioxidants have also been linked to potential ingredients for cancer prevention.
Thus, they are clearly very important and asparagus offers them to you quite generously.
3. Improves cardiovascular health
Asparagus contains the minerals potassium which is believed to reduce blood pressure, which in turn boosts heart health. This quality of asparagus gives it the potential to relax the walls of your blood vessels, reducing any strain.
Asparagus also contains a significant amount of folate, which is a nutrient that can reduce the chances of stroke. This nutrient is further supported by the other minerals and fiber inside asparagus.
There needs to be more research in this area, but adding asparagus to your diet will surely bring relief to your hard-working organ systems. After all, a warm portion of nutrition will only do you good!
4. Supports bone health
Asparagus contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, Vitamin K, potassium, and zinc, amongst other minerals. These help in building both health and might reduce risks of bone conditions like osteoporosis.
The skeletal system is the core of all the other systems. We are able to navigate the world around us because our bones keep up and going. Hence, we need to provide them with the nutrition they need, and adding the health benefits of asparagus to our diet might be a good way to begin.
5. Helps during pregnancy
The benefits of asparagus can be experienced even before birth! As mentioned before, asparagus is a rich source of the nutrient folate, or Vitamin B-9, which is essential for those who are pregnant.
Folate helps in healthy fetal growth and development. It supports the formation of red blood cells and DNA. It is crucial during the early developmental stages of the fetus.
This is why folate is often consumed through synthetic folic acid during pregnancies. While this is important, adding asparagus to one’s diet will give a nice dose of natural folate as well.
Of course, you must always consult your doctor when planning a healthy pregnancy diet to keep you supported through nine months!
6. Natural diuretic
Asparagus contains a high amount of amino acids. This makes it a natural diuretic that helps get rid of excess salt, fluid, and toxins from your kidneys.
This is also why some people experience a strange odor to their urine after eating asparagus. During digestion, the sulfur bonds between the amino acids are broken, which results in a peculiar smell. Don’t worry, this will go away in a day or two and you can up your fluid intake to reduce the effects!
However, if you still find a strange smell even after a few days, this might be an indicator of other factors. So, always pay attention to how your body responds and look after it with full care!
7. Helps with general body health
If you are sitting in awe of all the wonderful powers of asparagus, then rest assured that there is still much more in store. In addition to all the above benefits, asparagus also makes your diet more nutritious and can also improve your mood with its folate components!
Even the vitamins and minerals present in small amounts will aid your body in their ways. Thus, there is always more to look forward to when it comes to asparagus.
Always remember that only consistent changes become lifelong habits. Don’t rush your way into good health. Rather, take it one day at a time, making responsible choices as often as you can, while also indulging in your temptations.
Add asparagus to your favorite foods, top it up with delicious dressings and sauces. Don’t hesitate to experiment with the green and make your own recipes out of it. After all, your fitness plan is unique to you and if it works for you then that’s all you need!
Asparagus, just like every vegetable and fruit, can be a great way to incorporate further lifestyle changes. Go for it, because you have all the reason in the world to give it a try!