Asparagus – pure taste of spring! I just picked up some beautiful organic asparagus this morning and had to share the many great benefits of this great versatile vegetable.
We love it steamed mixed into a gluten-free pasta, or topped on a salad or a great easy and quick sidedish for wild salmon dinner or vegan chickpea burgers. My 5 year old daughter is fine with just a plate full of steamed cold asparagus spears – and they’re gone during playtime in minutes. (she’s good at multitasking this way! ;)
Read more about the health benefits of Asparagus, after the jump.
Health benefits of Asparagus
- Asparagus is a very low calorie vegetable. 100 g fresh spears give only 20 calories. More calories will be burnt to digest than gained, the fact, which fits into the category of low calorie or negative-calorie vegetables.
- In addition, the spears contain moderate levels of dietary-fiber. 100 g of fresh spears provide 2.1 g of roughage. Dietary fiber helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad (LDL) cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that high-fiber diet help cut down colon-rectal cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.
- Its shoots have long been used in many traditional medicines to treat conditions like dropsy andirritable bowel syndrome.
- Fresh asparagus spears are the good source of anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, carotenes, and crypto-xanthins. Together, these flavonoid compounds help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body protect it from possible cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, and viral infections. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 2150 µmol TE/100 g.
- Fresh asparagus are rich in folates. 100 g of spears provide about 54 µg or 14% of RDA of folic acid. Folates are one of the important co-factors for DNA synthesis inside the cell. Scientific studies have shown that adequate consumption of folates in the diet during pre-conception period and during early pregnancy, help prevents neural tube defects in the newborn baby.
- The shoots are also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid those are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.
- Fresh asparagus also contains fair amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A, and vitamin-E. Regular consumption of foods rich in these vitamins helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- Its shoots are also good source of vitamin K; provide about 35% of DRI. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Asparagus is good in minerals, especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.Iron is required for cellular respiration and red blood cell formation.
What’s your favourite way of eating Asparagus?
Back to Blog