Is Asparagus Good For You?

Asparagus is considered one of the healthiest vegetables to add to your dinner plate. This is because this food comes with exceptional nutritional value yielding impressive supplies of fiber, folate, Vitamins A, C, E and K as well as minerals like chromium and a number of antioxidants. Also, asparagus is good for you since it has a detoxifying compound known as glutathione, which helps combat free radicals and other carcinogens. Asparagus is not new to the world of healthy foods. In fact, historically, this humble vegetable has enjoyed repute as an aphrodisiac, along with providing a very nourishing nutrient profile. Here are some of the reasons why asparagus is good for you. 

Asparagus is good for you as it supports your heart health. Its vitamin K content is beneficial for promoting blood clotting while the high level of vitamins B help regulates the amino acid homocysteine, too much of which can be a risk factor for heart disease. Vitamin K is also helpful in preventing the hardening of arteries while keeping calcium out of arterial lining and other tissues where it can be potentially damaging.

Is Asparagus Good For You?

  • Heart health

Is Asparagus Good For You? Eight asparagus stalks chopped on a white work top.

The dietary fiber in asparagus lowers the risk of heart disease and another amino acid known as asparagine assists in flushing excess salt from the body.

And because of its high antioxidants content, asparagus has very high anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Bone health

Asparagus is good for you given its high vitamin K content. Vitamin K is also important for healthy bones as it assists in keeping them strong. Vitamin K has a key role in helping with bone repair and formation which can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

The presence of vitamin K not only increases the bone mineral density in individuals but actually reduces the risk of fractures in individuals with osteoporosis.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

The high amounts of antioxidants in asparagus give this vegetable much of its anti-inflammatory potential. Together, both the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients in asparagus help minimize the risk if chronic health issues like type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Is canned asparagus good for you? Asparagus stalks before being canned for sale.

  • Anti-aging benefits

Asparagus is good for you given its rich vitamin E content that can be very beneficial for the skin. Along with the skin, vitamins A and C in asparagus promote healthy hair.

  • Preventing kidney stones

Another reason why asparagus is good for you is because it can act as a natural diuretic and help rid the body of excess fluid and salt. This cleansing effect confirms that asparagus is good for your kidneys. Eliminating excess salt and fluid makes this specifically beneficial for individuals suffering from high blood pressure and edema. This flushing actions also eliminates toxins and prevents the formation of kidney stones.

At the same time, individuals who suffer from conditions like uric acid are advised to avoid asparagus. A uric acid stone can form when the urine has too much uric acid.   

  • Low in calories

If you are watching your weight, then asparagus is good for you because of its extremely low-calorie count yielding about 20 calories per servings. In these calories, there is no fat content and negligible sodium content. The potassium, content, on the other hand, helps reduce belly fat. 

The high fiber content in asparagus also comes into play here by keeping you full longer without the urge for unwanted bingeing.

  • Pregnancy health

Asparagus is good for you if you are an expectant mother. It is highly recommended for pregnant women due to its folate content. Folate has been studied to reduce the risk of neural birth defects in babies, so is recommended for women of child bearing age. 

Medical practitioners often recommend folate for women who may still be in the stage of considering pregnancy so that a healthy pregnancy can ensure and the risk of premature births or birth defects can be minimized.

  • Digestive health

Due to its protein and fiber content, asparagus is believed to help in stabilizing digestion. As both these nutrients assist in moving food through the gut, asparagus is good for you in providing relief from digestive discomfort.

Asparagus also has a high water content that can help prevent digestive issues like constipation.

Asparagus can be eaten raw, or cooked. It is also available in canned and pickled varieties. Here is how canned and pickled asparagus compares to its fresh counterpart.

Is canned asparagus good for you?

Once someone asks us Is Asparagus actually Good For You it is usually followed up by is canned asparagus good for you? While vegetables retain their optimal freshness and nutritive value when fresh, their canned counterparts may be more attractive in term of cost and convenience. But not every vegetable tastes as good canned as it does when used fresh. In the case of asparagus, the canned version usually loses much of the flavor and can taste very different from fresh asparagus.

In terms of nutritional value, most vegetables do retain their nutritive essence but some water soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C can be lost.  If you need to use canned asparagus, do read the labels carefully to make sure that it is the only asparagus and that chemical have not been added.

Is pickled asparagus good for you? Asparagus bundles for sale on a market stall near their pickled counterparts.

Because canned asparagus will lose its texture, a better way of using it is to add it to soups where texture will not matter that much. Or puree it to be used with other ingredients.

Is pickled asparagus good for you?

Pickled asparagus, on the other hand, delivers a distinctly tart flavor and can be stored for quite some time. It is a favorite with many people and an easy way to jazz up a meal. Pickling also delivers the benefit of enjoying your favorite vegetables when not in season and can be done at home.

Pickled vegetables like asparagus, are touted by some to help lose weight given their sour taste. Sourness is often associated with weight loss as it tends to decrease appetite. Plus, the vinegar content is beneficial for boosting the immune system.

Whether fresh or pickled asparagus can be enjoyed on its own, be roasted with other veggies or added into pasta dishes and risottos. Asparagus also makes an interesting addition into pilafs and can be used to accompany poultry, seafood or other types of meat entrees.

Image Credits

Images used on a creative commons license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Image One by Alan Levine – https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/8509713970/

Image Two by S B – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahbaker/63530471/

Image Three by Liz West – https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/2459363141/

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