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17 Health Benefits Of Asparagus You Didn't Know Of

Health Benefits Of Asparagus

Nutrient-rich asparagus offers you vitamin K to help with blood clotting, folate which is vital during pregnancy, and B vitamins that improve energy levels and cognitive function. It can also help tackle type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, modulate cholesterol metabolism and is great for gut health and immunity – what’s not to love?

If you are someone who enjoys asparagus, we have good news! The distinctive spears of the vegetable aren’t just delicious but could be great for your health too. Discover just how good this delicate vegetable really is for everything from your brain to your heart and much more.

1. Works As A Nutrient-Rich, Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Food

Asparagus is chock-full of vitamins and minerals with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Half a cup of boiled asparagus has 1.8 gm of fiber and 3.7 gm of carbs and offers up 45.5 mcg of vitamin K (meeting 37% of the daily value (DV) you require); 6.9 mg of vitamin C (7.6% DV); and 134 µg of folate (33.5% DV). Apart from this, it also has some B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and potassium in it. And all this with just 20 calories per half serving and a mere 0.2 gm of fat.1

Prefer your asparagus canned and ready to eat? The nutrient content in terms of minerals and vitamins is similar with 2 gm of fiber, 50 mcg of vitamin K, 116 mcg folate, but with higher vitamin C (22.25 mg) levels and a little more fat at 0.8 gm. It still has just about 23 calories and 3 gm of carbs though.2

The many compounds and nutrients present in asparagus have pharmacological properties and protective effects that account for the many benefits that follow.

2. Helps With Blood Clotting

Asparagus is a rich dietary source of vitamin K, a nutrient which plays a central role in blood clotting. It is needed for your body to produce proteins involved in blood clotting, so not getting enough might make you prone to bleeding too much when you get hurt. An adequate amount of the vitamin should normally help your blood clot much faster than when you are deficient.3 Adult men need to consume about 120 mcg a day while adult women need around 90 mcg of vitamin K. Asparagus has 45.5 mcg in half a cup of the boiled spears or about 30.4 mcg in 4 spears, so it will get you to between 25% and 51% of your recommended intake for the day, depending on how much you have and whether you are male or female.4

3. Lowers Diabetes Risk

For those at risk of developing diabetes, the vegetable may be of particular interest. One study found that asparagus could help improve insulin secretion and beta cell function, both of which are impaired in type 2 diabetes. It could also help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the animal study, a dosage of 500 mg per kg of weight had antidiabetic effects comparable to glibenclamide, an antidiabetic drug.5

4. Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Ayurveda has also long viewed asparagus and its extracts and powders as a good diuretic. Asparagus can help increase activity in your kidney, raising the rate at which your body produces urine. As a diuretic, it helps bring down blood pressure levels as well, by reducing the amount of fluid circulating in the body.6 Fiber may also have a role to play in reducing blood pressure in the system. Since asparagus has good fiber content, it is especially good for keeping that blood pressure in check.7

5. Has Potential For Treating UTIs

Since asparagus is a natural diuretic, it can help treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) by keeping your body flushed off toxins.8 Its antimicrobial action against a host of pathogens has led researchers to suggest it as a viable alternative to antibiotics in treating a UTI.9 While the lab study used aqueous extracts of asparagus, you could very well add asparagus to your diet to fend off a UTI.

6. May Lower Cholesterol And Help With Weight Loss

Animal studies have found that asparagus helps regulate cholesterol metabolism in the body. In one study, test animals with hypercholesterolemia who were given asparagus root powder saw cholesterol levels in both blood and liver drop. The flavonoids, polyphenols, saponins, and other therapeutic components of the root are believed to account for this ability of the powder to eliminate excess cholesterol and boost antioxidants in the liver, thus protecting it.10

What’s more, the fact that asparagus is a low-calorie food with virtually no fat content makes it a smart choice for anyone trying to cut fat intake and lose weight. The fiber can help lower cholesterol levels too.11 And it keeps you feeling full for longer, so you’re less likely to feel suddenly hungry and reach for a quick and easy (read fat-, salt-, or sugar-laden) processed food snack.12

7. Is Good For Digestion

The fiber in asparagus means it is also good for digestive health. Shatavari, an ayurvedic formulation made from dried asparagus root powder, can help speed up gastric emptying and is used to treat indigestion or dyspepsia.13

8. Promotes Gut Health And Immunity

Inulin, a type of soluble fiber found in asparagus, has far-reaching benefits for your body. In addition to helping good gut-friendly bacteria thrive, it can improve immunity overall. A prebiotic, inulin reaches your colon undigested and is then fermented by microflora in your gut. It is also known to stimulate the proliferation of beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics like inulin are associated with improved immune health and better gut barrier function so your body can ward off pathogens better.14

Asparagus also contains vitamin E which helps modulate immune function in the body. It is especially important for the elderly who may have weaker immune systems.15

9. Improves Fertility And Sexual Health

Ayurvedic herbal remedy shatavari, made from asparagus root, has applications in sexual health. It is considered a major rejuvenating tonic for women and is used to boost libido and moisten dry tissues in the sexual organs. It also helps enhance ovulation, normalize the uterus after childbirth, and modulate hormones overall. Its effect in women is comparable to the rejuvenating impact ashwagandha has on men.16

10. Is Beneficial For Pregnancy And Lactation

The folate in asparagus is especially important for women who are pregnant. The body needs folate when you’re expecting, especially in early pregnancy, for the normal healthy development of the baby, the production of DNA, and the formation of red blood cells. A folate deficiency can increase the risk of birth defects including spina bifida.17 Shatavari also works as a galactagogue and helps a nursing mother increase milk production. 18

11. May Prevent Kidney Stones

Thanks to its diuretic properties, asparagus may help flush out your kidneys and prevent kidney stones from forming.19 However, if it is uric acid stones that you tend to get and not calcium stones, asparagus may actually worsen your problem. So first confirm what kind of kidney stones you were diagnosed with earlier or are prone to developing.20

12. Protects Against Cancer

Asparagus is known to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well antitumor effects. This is invaluable when it comes to fighting off cancer and boosting immune function. One study showed that white asparagus extract helped induce cell death of tumor cells and inhibited pro-inflammatory activity in cells in colon cancer cells.21

13. Helps Build Stronger Bones

Asparagus might be just what you need to boost bone health, especially among those with weaker bones or issues such as osteoporosis. This is thanks to its vitamin K content, which helps improve bone mineral density. As one piece of research found, the vitamin has the potential to lower fracture rates in those with osteoporosis.22

14. Improves Energy Levels

Do your energy levels need a boost? Asparagus could help! The B complex vitamins it contains may help raise your energy levels and could be the key to beating fatigue. They help your body break down glucose for energy, so if you need to get something done, a snack or meal of asparagus may be just the thing!23

15. Helps Ease Hangovers And Protect Liver From Alcohol Toxicity

Asparagus can protect your liver cells from the toxicity of alcohol and may alleviate a hangover. In one lab study, the levels of alcohol metabolizing enzymes (alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase) rose after treatment with asparagus leaf and shoot extracts. In other words, it may increase your body’s alcohol metabolism and protect the liver from the ill effects of alcohol.24

16. Protects Against Neurodegenerative Diseases

Folate has benefits for the cognitive ability of the elderly. Consuming folate, at the recommended levels or even at a slightly higher level, has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.25More specifically, asparagus- derived remedy ayurvedic remedy shatavari may have benefits for your cognitive ability and memory by alleviating stress. This effect was more pronounced in women.26

17. May Help Slow Down Skin Aging

Glutathione, an antioxidant found in asparagus, is beneficial in fighting free radical damage which is responsible for, among other things, the aging of your skin and the appearance of wrinkles. Using glutathione-containing topical treatments is known to be beneficial against sun damage and wrinkle formation. While there’s not yet enough research on whether or not the consumption of foods rich in glutathione makes a difference, adding asparagus to your meals is worth a shot.27

References   [ + ]

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2. Asparagus, canned, drained solids. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
3. Vitamin K. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
4. Vitamin K. Office of Dietary Supplements.
5. Hafizur, Rahman Md, Nurul Kabir, and Sidra Chishti. “Asparagus officinalis extract controls blood glucose by improving insulin secretion and β-cell function in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic rats.” British Journal of Nutrition 108, no. 9 (2012): 1586-1595.
6, 8, 19. Negi, J. S., P. Singh, G. P. Joshi, M. S. Rawat, and V. K. Bisht. “Chemical constituents of Asparagus.” Pharmacognosy reviews 4, no. 8 (2010): 215.
7. Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.
9. CHOUHAN, DHARMVIR A., and PRAGATI S. PANDE. “Studies on Antibacterial Potential of Asparagus racemosus Extract Against Bacteria Causing UTI.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 6, no. 2 (2014): 101.
10. Visavadiya, Nishant P., and A. V. R. L. Narasimhacharya. “Asparagus root regulates cholesterol metabolism and improves antioxidant status in hypercholesteremic rats.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 6, no. 2 (2009): 219-226.
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13. Dalvi, S. S., P. M. Nadkarni, and K. C. Gupta. “Effect of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) on gastric emptying time in normal healthy volunteers.” Journal of postgraduate medicine 36, no. 2 (1990): 91.
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15. Moriguchi, Satoru, and Mikako Muraga. “Vitamin E and immunity.” (2000): 305-336.
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17. Folic Acid and Pregnancy.The Nemours Foundation.
20. Kidney stones. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
21. Bousserouel, Souad, Julie Le Grandois, Francine Gossé, Dalal Werner, Stephan W. Barth, Eric Marchioni, Jacques Marescaux, and Francis Raul. “Methanolic extract of white asparagus shoots activates TRAIL apoptotic death pathway in human cancer cells and inhibits colon carcinogenesis in a preclinical model.” International journal of oncology 43, no. 2 (2013): 394-404.
22. Weber, Peter. “Vitamin K and bone health.” Nutrition 17, no. 10 (2001): 880-887.
23. Laquale, Kathleen M. “B-complex vitamins’ role in energy release.” Athletic Therapy Today (2006).
24. Kim, B‐Y., Z‐G. Cui, S‐R. Lee, S‐J. Kim, H‐K. Kang, Y‐K. Lee, and D‐B. Park. “Effects of Asparagus officinalis extracts on liver cell toxicity and ethanol metabolism.” Journal of food science 74, no. 7 (2009).
25. Corrada, María M., Claudia H. Kawas, Judith Hallfrisch, Denis Muller, and Ron Brookmeyer. “Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease with high folate intake: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.” Alzheimer’s & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association 1, no. 1 (2005): 11-18.
26. Saxena, G., Mamta Singh, P. Meena, S. Barber, D. Sharma, S. Shukla, and M. Bhatnagar. “Neuroprotective effects of Asparagus racemosus Linn root extract: an experimental and clinical evidence.” Annals of Neurosciences 14, no. 3 (2010): 57-63.
27. Watanabe, Fumiko, Erika Hashizume, Gertrude P. Chan, and Ayako Kamimura. “Skin-whitening and skin-condition-improving effects of topical oxidized glutathione: a double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy women.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology 7 (2014): 267.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.