Asparagus: Top 5 Health Benefits

Scientifically known by the name asparagus officinalis, the vegetable dates back to at least 3000 BC and has been seen captured as a blessing or benefaction on Egyptian frieze (or wall art). It is thought that asparagus was freshly consumed by the Romans and Greeks during the seasonal period and frozen during the winter periods for consumption. Asparagus is currently in season, though with the current health challenges of COVID-19, it may prove difficult to obtain. For your reference, asparagus has some fantastic benefits, read on for Asparagus: Top 5 Health Benefits!

1. Asparagus contains Vitamin K

Asparagus contains abundant vitamin K with about 35% – 40% of one’s recommended daily amount (RDA) of the vitamin. It’s a fat soluble nutrient, meaning that unlike vitamin C, it has the ability to store for long periods of time. Vitamin K is excellent for aiding the processing of specific proteins such as coagulation proteins VII, IX, X and prothrombin.

Additionally anticoagulant proteins C, S and Z are dependent on vitamin K. In the absence of it, blood coagulation is severely compromised and can result in uncontrollable bleeding and may hinder the development of bone density, a key factor in the onset of osteoporosis.

2. Powerful Antioxidants

I am not referring to radicals in the political sense, neither am I advocating readers to free radicals in confinement! Among other fruits and vegetables, asparagus is highly beneficial for mitigating cell-injuring free radicals. Antioxidants importantly contribute to reducing the speed of aging and inflammation.

3. Brain Power

Do you want to improve your brain’s power? Well, asparagus helps the brain combat cognitive impairment. Similar to other green leafy vegetables (particularly dark green ones), folate which is commonly known as vitamin B9, collaborates with vitamin B12 (typically found in sardines, tuna, trout, beef and eggs) to boost its impact on counteracting cognitive malfunction. With age, the body’s ability to absorb B12 declines, thus the importance of B9 becomes even more apparent for those aged 50 and over.

4. Release Toxins

Asparagus has high levels of the amino acid asparagine which functions as an impressive diuretic. Though you may find yourself using the toilet more regularly, (particularly when you first introduce asparagus into your diet) don’t worry, as there is no internal tap turned on constantly, it is just your body flushing out excess toxins such as salts. Diuretic properties are beneficial for those with high-blood pressure, as well as those with related heart conditions.

Additionally, diuretics can comfort those suffering from excess fluid in their bodily tissues. Asparagus shares several properties of kale and avocados in that it is a valuable source of glutathione. This detoxifies and hinders carcinogens and other dangerous compounds, such as free radicals.

5. Improves Digestion

Good digestion is an imperative essential for good health. Asparagus’ dietary fibre brings with it some outstanding benefits. Studies such as 2016’s ‘Fruit and Vegetables Consumption and Risk of Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis’ by Zhang D et al., suggests that a diet generous in fibre helps lower not only high blood pressure, but also helps prevent heart disease and diabetes.

Insoluble fibre is crucial for ensuring proper bowel movement and asparagus is an excellent source of it. Asparagus also contains small traces of soluble fibre, which helps foster ‘friendly’ bacteria in your gut. Such friendly bacteria enhances your immune system promoting the accessibility of vitamins B12 and K2.

Asparagus is high in vitamin K, folate, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. It is also high in phosphorous, (improving your energy), has diuretic properties and is high in potassium. It’s also a kidney detoxifier and helps to dissolve kidney stones. Asparagus also contains chromium which helps insulin resistance (making insulin more sensitive) hence being useful in the management of diabetes. It should indeed be deemed a hero of the superfood variety!

Do you eat asparagus regularly? Which veggies give you the most energy and do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. If you’d like to know more about how plant-based diets can really help you, read our exclusive interview with vegan NHS GP, Dr Gemma Newman and our feature with vegan advocate, Juliette’s Kitchen!

David Myles

David Myles is an educational researcher as well as a health and fitness advocate. A former vegan, he encourages a diet that is at least 70% plant-based. David regularly engages in exercise routines, preferring to use his own in-house gym. Weather permitting, David enjoys outdoor exercise and is particularly fond of athletics (100 and 200 meter running). Health psychology and how food can enhance cognitive brain function and performance is also high on the list of his keen interests.

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