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Asparagus is a tasty, tender vegetable that’s known by the scientific name Asparagus Officinalis.
Deliciously enjoyed fresh and raw or cooked, asparagus comes in three colorful varieties: white, green, and purple. Notably, asparagus is a flowering plant that is typically harvested during the spring months. Speaking of harvest, an interesting fact about asparagus is that the length of time from seed to harvest is a whopping three years. Another interesting asparagus fact is that 80% of the U.S. asparagus crop is grown in California. Related to onions, leeks, and garlic, asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that has many wonderful health benefits. Check it out.
Important Note: All of the health benefits noted below are backed by the most current scientific research as of the date of this publication.
Undoubtedly, asparagus is a nutrient-rich vegetable that makes a nutritious addition to anyone’s diet. A half-cup serving of asparagus is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as fiber, folate, potassium, and phosphorus. Additionally, asparagus has protein and vitamins C, A, K, and E. In fact, asparagus alone contains 57% and 34% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K and folate respectively. There are also tons of micronutrients, including iron, zinc, and riboflavin, contained in a serving of asparagus. Some of these wonderful nutrients are integral to blood clotting, bone health, cell growth, and DNA formation.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. A small half-cup serving contains copious amounts of vitamins and minerals essential to one’s health.
Packed With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds necessary to reduce oxidative stress and ward off free radicals which can ultimately lead to chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes among other diseases. Antioxidants also remediate high blood pressure, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Asparagus contains antioxidants like vitamins E and C as well as glutathione, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These compounds, in particular, are linked to a reduced risk for cancer, viruses, and inflammation in both humans and animals. Furthermore, asparagus is especially high in the flavonoids quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol as well as anthocyanins which are connected to lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and beyond. Of the three varieties of asparagus, the purple variety is highest in anthocyanins which are most likely to reduce blood pressure and the risk for cardiovascular disease, especially heart attack.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Asparagus is loaded with antioxidants that can ward off harmful free radicals and reduce one’s risk for a litany of chronic illnesses.
Good for Digestive Health
Consuming asparagus is a really useful way to manage one’s digestive health. What makes asparagus good for digestion is its high dietary fiber content. Just half a cup of asparagus contains nearly 10% of your daily recommended intake of dietary fiber. Asparagus is especially rife with soluble fiber which supports regular bowel movements. Furthermore, that same soluble fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut which is also supportive of digestive health. The good bacteria that are fed by dietary fiber support your immune system and produce many essential nutrients. If you’re looking for a good, healthy way to improve your dietary fiber intake for the sake of your digestive system, consider adding asparagus to your diet.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Without a doubt, asparagus is rich in dietary fiber which is well known for improving digestive health.
Reduces Risk of Defects in Pregnancy
Pregnancy greatly benefits from a folate-rich diet and lucky for you, asparagus is packed full of folate which is also sometimes referred to as vitamin B9. While a half-cup of asparagus provides adults with 34% of their daily recommended intake, it provides pregnant women with 22%. Folate is so beneficial in pregnancy that it’s often prescribed as a supplement to expecting mothers. Boosting folate intake with asparagus is just a tastier way to add the vitamin to your diet. Folate plays an integral role in pregnancy. It promotes the growth of red blood cells, the production of DNA, and healthy fetal growth as well as protects against birth defects such as spina bifida. Such defects can lead to problems later in life, problems such as learning deficits, physical disabilities, and lack of bladder/bowel control. Inevitably, consuming adequate folate during pregnancy is important. Consider adding asparagus to your diet for a boost in your folate intake, especially if you’re expecting.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Thousands of scientific studies glorify the benefits of folate intake during pregnancy; the fact that asparagus contains high levels of folate makes it a great addition to the diet of expectant mothers.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Asparagus can be really helpful in regulating one’s blood pressure. Well-maintained blood pressure is integral to heart health and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. An easy and natural way to improve your blood pressure, if it is a concern to you, is by increasing your potassium intake while simultaneously reducing your sodium intake. Enter: asparagus. This nutritious vegetable contains zero sodium but is rife with potassium. The role of potassium in reducing blood pressure is that it moderates the walls of the blood vessels while also excreting sodium through urination. Best of all, a half-cup serving of asparagus provides about 6% of your daily recommended intake of potassium. By regularly incorporating it into your diet, you can help manage your blood pressure.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While asparagus certainly contains potassium which is good for your blood pressure, a single daily serving isn’t enough in and of itself to moderate blood pressure.
Supports Weight Loss
Not only is asparagus uber nutritious but it’s low in calories, containing only 20 calories per serving, and has zero fat. As a result, you can eat a lot of asparagus frequently throughout the day without overdoing it on calories. As noted earlier, asparagus is also full of fiber which is linked to weight loss; fiber not only supports healthy digestion but also gives a feeling of fullness for longer which means you’re less likely to snack on empty calories after eating this vegetable. Lastly, asparagus is made up of 94% water; foods that are water-rich are linked to improved weight-loss results.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Although there aren’t any studies that conclude asparagus aids in weight loss, as a low-calorie, zero-fat food that’s rich in water content, it’s reasonable to conclude that asparagus is supportive of weight loss.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. The folate in asparagus turns into histamine; although histamine is scientifically linked to improved libido, there are zero studies connecting asparagus specifically to such a health benefit.
Abates Urinary Tract Infections
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. While it is true that the consumption of asparagus may increase urine output which can alleviate symptoms of a urinary tract infection, there are next to no studies connecting asparagus to such palliative effects.