Spring has finally sprung, which means it’s asparagus season! Now I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, you couldn’t pay me to eat asparagus. Luckily I grew up and my taste buds learned just how delicious asparagus is.
But beyond being incredibly tasty, asparagus also offer some real health benefits. Keep reading to learn 10 reasons why you’ll want to eat more asparagus this spring!
1. It’s Loaded with Important Nutrients
Asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, multiple B vitamins, folate, and Vitamins C, E and K. It also boasts minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium and potassium. It’s also a rich source of dietary fiber and low in calories.
2. Helps Women Experience a Healthy Pregnancy
Folate is essential for the healthy growth of a fetus. Thanks to asparaguses’ high folate content, it can aid in reducing the risk of low birth weight and birth defects during pregnancy. Folate also helps in reducing the complication of edema (water retention) on the body tissues thanks to its diuretic effect.
3. Improves Fertility
The root of asparagus racemosus is widely appreciated in Ayurvedic therapy and is famously known as Shatavari, which translates to ‘one who has 100 husbands’. Shatavari is known to have aphrodisiac properties and is used to regulate the hormones and cure male and female sexual disorders. It may enhance libido as well as sperm count and sperm motility (movement/swimming). In females, asparagus has been shown to be effective in menopausal syndrome and anemia, thanks to its iron content.
4. Improves Digestion
Asparagus is rich in a nutrient called inulin, which is a kind of complex carbohydrate, also called a prebiotic. These kinds of prebiotics do not get digested until they reach the large intestine, where it feeds the beneficial bacteria.
On top of this, asparagus is an excellent source of dietary fiber and can help keep the bowels functioning, reducing bloat and constipation. But all of this fiber also helps lower cholesterol levels, another win.
5. May Prevent Cancers
According to a study published in Cancer Letters, crude saponins found in the shoots of asparagus have exhibited anti-tumor activity. Another study published in the Journal of Functional Foods also found that saponins induced typical features of apoptosis (cell death). These findings suggest that the nutrients in asparagus may offer a dietary intervention strategy. In addition, asparagus has also been found to help increase the levels of glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant known.
6. Eye Health
Asparagus is a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision. Plus, the antioxidant properties help defend the retina from damage caused by free radicals. And, the presence of glutathione helps reduce the risk of developing cataracts and night blindness.
7. Helps Arthritis Pain and Stiffness
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the joints. Studies have shown that eating folate-rich food like asparagus, which also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, may help to relieve joint pain and stiffness.
8. Helps Manage Blood Sugar
In a 2012 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, asparagus extract was found to have anti-diabetic propertied and improve insulin secretion. And, in another rat study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, asparagus improves early kidney disease.
9. Maintains Blood Cholesterol Level
As I mentioned, asparagus is loaded with antioxidants, which not only fights against oxidative stress, but also helps with disorders such as hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia. These diseases indicate the presence of high fat and cholesterol content in the bloodstream, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
10. Reduces Blood Pressure
Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and in 2017, nearly half a million deaths in this country were caused by the disease. According to a study in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, consuming the stems of asparagus significantly reduced the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
How to Choose and Store Asparagus
You may notice at the grocery store that asparagus spears are either thick or thin. You may prefer one kind over another, but the thickness of stems is not an indicator of quality. The key to really selecting the best asparagus is to look for straight, firm, and uniformly sized spears with closed tips.
It’s important to note that asparagus deteriorates quickly, so when you get it home, place spears upright in a bowl of cold water and be sure to eat them in one to two days. If you don’t have a bowl or vase that will accommodate, you may also wrap the ends of the shoots.
Do your mouth and your health a favor this spring and eat more asparagus.
Asparagus isn’t the only thing that can help lower blood pressure…
If you or someone you love is living with high blood pressure, you know that if it’s not managed properly, it can turn into serious complications and even death. Most modern healthcare practitioners will treat high blood pressure with prescription medications. But many of those come with nasty and also dangerous side effects.
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