How do you like your asparagus? Whether you eat it blanched, steamed, sautéed or grilled, you can never discount the fact the asparagus health benefits is the reason why you should have it in your diet. Its succulent taste and tender texture of a young, fresh stalk of asparagus is filled with nutritional value that provides great advantages for the body.
Once prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans, asparagus is now cultivated in China, Peru, Germany and the United States, but is enjoyed the world over. Interestingly, several events highlighting the asparagus are celebrated in Stockton, California and Hart, Michigan in the United States and The Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, UK. In fact, a lot of German cities celebrate an annual asparagus festival called Spargelfest during the harvest season of white asparagus.
Young asparagus stalks are served in variety of cooking options around the world, either eaten on its own, as an appetizer, side dish and salad or as an ingredient in soups and stew. Its high water composition is low in calories and sodium but packed with essential vitamins and minerals. This includes high levels of Vitamin K, folate, copper, Vitamin B1 and B2, selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. It also contains moderate amounts of fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, Vitamin A and zinc.
Asparagus Health Benefits
- It is an excellent vegetable choice for pregnant women. Its high folic acid content helps prevent the formation of neural defects in infants and helps to promote adequate weight in babies.
- It is one of the best vegetables that promote bone health. Asparagus is a rich source of Vitamin K, which is an essential mineral for bone health. It also contains high levels of folate and iron, as well as good amounts of manganese, phosphorus and calcium. All of which are crucial in building strong bones and maintaining bone density.
- It helps promote a healthy heart function. The fiber content of asparagus helps to maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL and increasing HDL. Since it also contains a high amount of selenium, asparagus can help in lowering blood pressure levels. These reduce the risk of heart diseases and conditions.
- It is the food source with the highest level of glutathione. The antioxidant glutathione does not only give you a fair complexion, but it also works as an effective detoxifier. It gets rid of toxic wastes from the liver and kidney and also protects the skin from pollutants that cause premature aging. On top of that, glutathione works as an anti-carcinogenic and prevents certain types of cancers.
- It is a natural body cleanser. It also contains an amino acid called asparagine. This works similarly like the glutathione as a detoxifier by eliminating excess salts and toxic wastes from the body.
- It balances blood sugar levels. The key to this health benefit is its B Vitamins content, which is essential in regulating blood sugar levels. Also, it contains chromium, which enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.
- It promoted healthy blood production. This works because of the iron and copper in asparagus, which are essential in the production of healthy blood cells.
- It helps to boost the immune system. It contains infection-fighting antioxidants, specifically Vitamins A, C and E, which safeguard the body from common diseases and illnesses.
To enjoy these asparagus health benefits, look for firm and thin stalks that have a bright green or purplish color. Make sure that you use it a day or two from the moment you purchased it to get the best flavor and health benefits out of it.