One of my favourite seasonal treats found at grocery stores and farmers markets this time of year is fresh asparagus. These green (and sometimes white) spears are not only delicious tossed on the grill, roasted in the oven or simply eaten raw, but they also pack quite a lot of health benefits. Here are ten benefits of asparagus, more than enough to motivate you to head right off to the store and pick up some for dinner tonight.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Asparagus
1. It’s a Nutritional Powerhouse
Like most fresh produce, asparagus is loaded with nutrients and vitamins that your body needs. Asparagus contains folate, fibre and vitamins A, C, E and K. Asparagus is also good to eat if you’re diabetic, since it contains chromium. This trace mineral helps insulin transport glucose from your bloodstream to your cells.
2. It’s Rich in Antioxidants
Asparagus is loaded with antioxidants, especially vitamin E, which help to neutralize free radicals that damage cells and may contribute to the aging process.
3. It May Help Fight Cancer
Asparagus is a rich source of glutathione, which is a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens. Eating asparagus may help fight certain forms of cancer, such as colon, lung and breast cancers.
4. It Helps You Flush Toxins
Thanks to high levels of an amino acid called asparagine, a natural diuretic, asparagus causes you to pee more. Increased urination allows your body to rid itself of excess fluids and salts. This is especially helpful for people with certain medical conditions, such as edema, high blood pressure, and other heart-related diseases.
5. It Keeps You Sharp
Asparagus can help prevent cognitive decline as we age, thanks to folate. Folate works in conjunction with vitamin B12 to help with brain health and fight cognitive impairment.
6. It Helps Prevent Birth Defects
Folate also plays a big role in fetal health. It’s recommended that pregnant women take folate to help prevent neural tube and other birth defects. Asparagus is loaded with this essential vitamin. Folate helps regulate embryonic nerve cell formations and can even help prevent premature births.
7. It Provides a Gut Check
Asparagus contains a unique carbohydrate, inulin, which is not digested until it reaches the large intestine. Here, it helps your body better absorb nutrients and promote the growth of friendly bacteria, which may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
8. It Helps You Lose Weight
Asparagus can help you peel off pounds since it is low in fat and loaded with hunger-curbing fibre. One spear of asparagus only contains four calories, making it an ideal choice if you want to lose weight.
9. It’s a Great Source of Iron
Just one serving of asparagus contains nearly 16 percent of your daily recommended dose of iron. It’s vital to get enough iron, since being iron-deficient has major health repercussions, including problems with resisting infections.
10. It’s a Hangover Helper
A study from a university in South Korea found that amino acids and minerals found in asparagus extract may help with hangover symptoms. Moreover, it may help protect liver cells from toxins found in alcohol. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Now that you are aware of the many health benefits of asparagus, share your favourite recipes in the comments!