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Eating Asparagus is Good for Your Health

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant, belonging to the genus asparagus and renowned for its medicinal properties and high nutritional value. The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. The vegetable was initially cultivated by the ancient Romans, Egyptians, and the Greeks, who used it all through the year, fresh in the spring season and dried in the winters.

EATING ASPARAGUS IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant, belonging to the genus asparagus and renowned for its medicinal properties and high nutritional value. The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. The vegetable was initially cultivated by the ancient Romans, Egyptians, and the Greeks, who used it all through the year, fresh in the spring season and dried in the winters.

Asparagus is a perennial, an almost leafless member of the lily family. The spears we buy in the store are actually the shoots from an underground crown. It takes up to 3 years for crowns to develop enough to begin producing shoots, but once they do, they can produce for up to 20 years.

Native to most of the Europe, western Asia and northern Africa, the cultivation of this vegetable species takes place with the coming of the spring season. This unique plant variety, with its distinct delicate flavors, is very popular in countries like Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France, where a large percentage of the species are produced annually.

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The common varieties of Asparagus are Green asparagus and White asparagus from Europe, Violet or Purple asparagus from Italy and England and some wild varieties found mostly in England.

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Health Benefits

• Asparagus is a very good source of potassium. This, combined with an active amino acid in the species called asparagines, gives the vegetable a diuretic effect and thus, helps the body get rid of excess water. Apart from this, asparagus is also low in sodium.

• The vegetable has anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore, used in the treatment of asthma, arthritis, and rheumatism.

• Intake of adequate asparagus, in the early stages of pregnancy, helps the body fight against certain birth defects, like spina bifida (a neural tube defect). It is said that a cup of asparagus provides around 263 mcg of folate (Vitamin B), which is very important for the synthesis of DNA. Absence or inadequate supply of folate causes the improper division of fetus’ nerve cells, in turn leading to birth defects.

• Folate, which is present in asparagus as well, is essential for a healthy cardio-vascular system. In fact, the combination of asparagus with honey is used to strengthen a weak heart.

• Asparagus contains a type of carbohydrate called inulin, which is very important for the proper functioning of a healthy gut or intestine. The presence of this carbohydrate in human intestine promotes the growth of friendly bacteria, like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria and thus, it becomes difficult for the unfriendly bacteria to cause imbalances in the intestinal tract.

• Green asparagus has high levels of vitamin C, which is very important to produce and maintain the body collagen (a protein). This protein is essential in holding all the cells and tissues of the body together.

• The fiber content of asparagus makes it a very good laxative agent.

• The vegetable protects small vessels in the body from rupturing and is very good for the capillaries. It is very popularly used for the treatment of varicose veins.

• Asparagus is a good anti-oxidant, a fact which makes it helpful in curing cancer, cataract and other eye problems.

• The vegetable also helps in controlling blood sugar levels and therefore, is very beneficial for people with diabetes.

Practical Tips

• It is sufficient to cut off the fibrous base of asparagus before cooking. Peeling of the vegetable is not required.

• Wash the stalks of asparagus with cold water, to remove any kind of dust or soil residue.

• Don’t allow asparagus stalks to remain in the water for a long time, as this will make them soggy.

• Asparagus should never be cooked in iron pots, as the tannins in the vegetable react with iron and cause the discoloration of stalks.

Reference:

Ronthoughts Journal – Food and Nutrition

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/health-benefits-of-asparagus-5711.html

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Comments (11)

Thanks for this article. I agree with you. Asparagus is certainly among the most nutrilicious foods, in the league of broccoli and spinach. Since it protects small vessels from rupturing, it is especially good for diabetic retinopathy. Again, thanks for this article, Kabayan. Another superb writing performance. Keep up the great work. Jonel.

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

Thank you so much for the inspiring comment, hoping the rain in Cebu cease.

The rain here - as far as my exercise is concerned - needs an epidemiologist. You are welcome, Kabayan. All the best, Jonel.

This was a great read

Ranked #6 in Nutrition

This is very good article. Asparagus is great for health. Especially for the folate and antioxidant benefits. Good share!

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

Thanks Sourav, appreciated.

excellent article, I appreciate that you listed your sources. I never heard of the white or purple type though

interesting article-however I cannot stand the smell of asparagus nor the taste lol

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

Thanks for the comments Carol and Lady Sam, much appreciated.

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

Thanks Sudhir.

Excellent article. Yum I love veggies. I've never cooked asparagus but I do like it. Its about time I learn how.

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

Thanks Marilyn.

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