What is Asparagus?
It seems like asparagus is becoming more and more popular, with health gurus and fitness freaks everywhere jumping on the asparagus train and eating as much of the vegetable as they possibly can.
There is a good reason for that, however, which is the fact that asparagus is frickin’ fantastic!
This in-depth article is going to tell you everything you need to know about asparagus.
You are going to discover exactly why you need it in your life, the best way to cook it, some meal ideas that incorporate asparagus and a whole lot more.
Once you discover precisely how fantastic asparagus is, you will wish you had it in your life sooner.
Asparagus Nutrition Profile
Asparagus, also commonly referred to as garden asparagus or asparagus officinalis to use its more scientific name, is a springtime vegetable that is often cultivated as a crop.
Asparagus is derived from the Greek word meaning sprout.
The plant is native to most of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa.
There are different types of asparagus grown depending on where you are in the world, but all of them have unusual properties which we are going to be getting into in more detail later.
You probably know asparagus mostly as being green, but it also comes in white and purple depending on where you are in the world.
Residents from some European countries refer to white asparagus as “white gold.”
Many people start eating asparagus when trying to lose weight because of asparagus calories, which are just 20 for every 100 grams.
While this is pretty appealing, there is so much more than asparagus can do for you so let’s get started on exactly what this is.
The best thing about asparagus benefits is that it doesn’t require much other than making asparagus apart of your daily diet.
Asparagus helps stabilize blood sugar levels
Asparagus is packed full of antioxidants and soluble fiber, both of which are ideal for protecting against type 2 diabetes.
Soluble fiber is actually what helps control the amount of glucose that is absorbed by the intestines, which is beneficial to your health.
There are a lot of inflammatory issues that are related to diabetes but the antioxidants in the vegetable help to reduce these.
If your blood sugar levels stay too high or erratic, this can be bad for your long-term health, so it is worth getting this under control now.
While asparagus on its own is not a miracle cure, it’s a step in the right direction.
Asparagus helps to cure a hangover
On quite, a less life-threatening issue but still a big bonus of asparagus consumption is that it can help to get rid of a hangover!
Both the leaves and the shoot of the asparagus can help to get rid of the symptoms that are associated with an illness, due to reducing the levels of toxicity in the liver.
So if you have an unusually heavy night of drinking, a tasty asparagus breakfast (which you can find a recipe for later on) will help to reduce your nausea, headache and overall gross feeling.
Asparagus Can lower cholesterol levels
So many people have high cholesterol and leave it untreated.
High cholesterol is something to take notice of because it can lead to heart attack, diabetes, stroke and other dangerous conditions which could prematurely end your life.
There are two ingredients in asparagus which are beneficial towards helping reducing levels of bad cholesterol, and these are dietary fiber and niacin.
I have always struggled with my cholesterol, but since starting a healthy diet in general and also introducing asparagus, I have noticed such a huge difference.
Asparagus Can help Your Eyesight
There are a wide variety of B vitamins in asparagus, which has proven to be beneficial for healthy eyesight.
In addition to helping you see better, asparagus can even help to prevent cataracts due to the massive amounts of vitamins A and C, that helps prevent oxidative damage to the retinas.
With many people, their eyesight will worsen as they get older but multiple studies have shown that B vitamins are the most important in preventing this from happening as much as possible.
Don’t bother going out and buying these vitamins when you can get all the nutrients you need by eating asparagus.
Asparagus It is Good for The Skin
Acne is something that many people young and old have issues with. Niacin, one of the ingredients in asparagus is proven to get rid of even the most severe cases of acne.
There can be a lot of itching and general redness associated with acne, and this also helps to manage that effectively.
The antioxidants found in asparagus helps your skin to look younger and fresher in general.
This is because the ingredients fight radicals which are harmful and cause the skin to age prematurely.
A study as actually conducted with 4000 women over the age of 40 and it was proven that vitamin C reduces wrinkles and dry skin.
The vitamin C and the other variety of nutrients in asparagus prove that this is one food you can rely on for anti-aging properties.
Asparagus Helps the fight against obesity
Obesity is a worldwide epidemic, and it’s mostly down to a poor diet.
As stated previously, asparagus is just 20 calories for 100 grams of the stuff, in addition to the many other health benefits.
Of course, bringing asparagus into your diet on its own isn’t going to help you lose a significant amount of weight, but when combined with other healthy/ low-calorie foods and a stable fitness regime, those scales are guaranteed to move in the right direction slowly.
Asparagus Reduces PMS
This is one for the ladies who get the horrible feeling once a month. Asparagus is known to lessen the symptoms that are associated with PMS. There are essential vitamins in the sprout which are known to help a depressive state of mind, tiredness and also helps to alleviate premenstrual cramps.
It’s so crucial for your hormones to have a right balance during the time of menstruation and asparagus helps to manage that, in addition to reducing the amount of blood loss and bloat slightly.
While you might find yourself reaching for chocolate during your time of the month (I know I do!) it’s much better to choose asparagus instead.
Asparagus Improves your Digestion System
Asparagus is known to improve your digestive system, in addition to ensuring you go to the toilet regularly.
There is a complex carbohydrate in asparagus, officially called inulin but more commonly known as a probiotic.
This does not get digested until it reaches the large intestine and at this stage, it acts as a kind of good bacteria which helps the absorption of different materials in the body.
You are always advised to eat fiber if you are suffering from a bit of constipation and asparagus has heaps of dietary fiber contained within it. This promises the bowels work smoothly and regularly, easing any uncomfortable feeling and bloating that you might have.
Multiple studies have in fact shown that the nutrients within asparagus and other vegetables are just as an effective cure for constipation, then drugs that you would buy or be even be prescribed by your doctor for the issue.
Asparagus Help treat neurodegenerative diseases
Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s are horrible, but regular consumption of asparagus can help to manage the symptoms if you are suffering from any of these neurodegenerative diseases.
This is known to be because of the neuroprotective effects in asparagus due to the number of phytoestrogens in it.
Multiple studies have been done into this, and it’s been shown time and time again that asparagus can help repair the damaged neurons in the brain.
In addition to these illnesses in particular, asparagus is good for brain health in general.
There is a lot of vitamin B3 in the vegetable which is beneficial for cognitive ability and keeping you sharp in general.
Asparagus Cures Urinary Tract Infections
If you often suffer from UTI’s, you will probably know how unpleasant they can be. Regular consumption of asparagus is known to be very useful for getting rid of urinary tract infections.
There are diuretic properties in asparagus which increases how often and how much you urinate.
This is not a bad thing because your body is being flushed more regularly and potentially harmful toxins are disposed of, therefore making the vegetable a natural cure for UTI’s.
Asparagus is well known for giving your urine a pungent smell, and this is actually because it breaks down your urine into volatile chemical compounds, which is what in fact helps to detoxify the body.
Next time your wee smells after eating asparagus, embrace it because it means the health benefits are working!
Asparagus Good for Pregnancies
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there are a lot of vitamins that it’s recommended you take along the process, including folic acid in the form of supplements.
Asparagus contains folate which is precisely what your body needs during this period in your life.
Not only will folate help your baby grow and develop the way he/she should be, but it also decreases your chances of miscarriage, congenital disabilities, premature delivery and so on.
Asparagus Helps Prevent Cancer
This is a big claim to make of course, and it’s something that a lot of research has gone into.
The cause of many cancers are known to be free radicals and antioxidants can help prevent them.
Glutathione is something found in the vegetable, and the sulfur within this recycles antioxidants and destroys carcinogens.
The cancers this is most effective for are bone, lung, breast, colon, pancreatic and cervical cancer.
The anti-inflammatory properties within asparagus also go a long way in warding off this horrible disease.
Keep in mind that asparagus is not going to CURE your cancer if you already suffer from it but it will reduce your likelihood of getting it.
Asparagus Boosts Fertility
In addition to being used for pregnancy, as discussed previously, asparagus is also known to increase your fertility in general.
For one thing, it is an aphrodisiac, and more sex increases your chances of getting pregnant.
There is lots of vitamin E in asparagus which increases the sex hormones in men and women.
The vitamin C will also nourish sperm cells and increase the sperm count, which is vital for fertilization to occur.
If you ARE trying to get pregnant, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to start consuming asparagus on a regular basis.
Asparagus Can Treat Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a serious condition, and although asparagus doesn’t get rid of it, specific properties make it ideal for successful treatment if consumed often enough.
Asparagus is known to have herbal therapeutic properties, and it can help to prevent or lessen the symptoms associated with epilepsy (seizures.)
Asparagus Treats Tuberculosis
While TB might not be as prevalent as it once was, it still happens, and it’s a severe and life-threatening disease.
Although it is not known precisely why the roots of asparagus are said to be very useful on tuberculosis by improving the functionality of tissues in the lungs.
Asparagus Increases Energy Levels
Forget coffee; asparagus is ideal for boosting your energy levels. Your energy levels affect your performance in every aspect of your life every single day.
There is lots of vitamin B in the vegetable which supports your thyroid and also your cellular methylation.
There is also lots of iron in asparagus which helps to stop low iron levels, something that is also associated with fatigue.
Asparagus can even boost your metabolism, which means your body will find it easier to burn calories.
Also Read: 10 Jicama Benefits and Uses
Asparagus Cooking Methods (How to Cook)
There are a couple of different ways that you can cook asparagus when you are preparing yourself a meal using the vegetable.
I find that the following three methods are the best to use and give the asparagus the most amount of flavor possible.
Before you do ANY of the following, you should snap the wooded end off your asparagus and also wash them thoroughly.
Give the following cooking methods a try before you decide how you prefer your asparagus to be cooked.
Place the amount of asparagus you want to make into a bowl and drizzle with some olive oil and a little salt if you wish.
Coat the asparagus in the mixture by using your hands.
Spread the asparagus out in a pan in a single layer if possible.
Bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for around 15 minutes, entirely occasionally until golden brown.
Coat the asparagus in olive oil and salt as detailed in the previous step.
Lay them on a grill, cooking at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
After they have been cooking for a few minutes, turn with tongs and cook for around three more or until golden brown and tender.
Fill a saucepan up with water and simmer until adding the asparagus.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before you remove them.
Season the vegetables as you like or leave them plain before serving.
It can be challenging to know what to eat asparagus with because you can’t very well eat a plate of pure asparagus – well you could, but it would be pretty dull.
Here you can find a variety of asparagus recipes so that you can make delicious dishes in the kitchen that encourage you to consume this great vegetable regularly.
Grilled asparagus and poached egg on toast – the perfect healthy breakfast!
You will need:
- Olive oil
- 12 spears of asparagus
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
- Two large eggs
- A pinch of parmesan cheese
- Four sprigs of fresh mint
- Your bread of choice
What to do:
- Boil a pan of salt water before slowly simmering.
- Cook your bread on a preheated griddle pan, coating it with some oil. In the meantime, you should be cooking the asparagus the way you like.
- Put the asparagus over the toast, with a sprinkle of paprika over the top.
- Poach your eggs in the simmering water for 3 minutes before adding on top of your asparagus. Sprinkle with the parmesan and serve!
Asparagus, zucchini and bread salad with caesar dressing – A nutritious and tasty lunch
You will need:
- 2 sliced red onions
- 1 pound of zucchini
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of trimmed asparagus
- The bread of your choice
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup of capers
- 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to season
– Place the onions, asparagus, zucchini, and bread on two large baking sheets in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
– Put into the grill and start cooking on medium heat. Keep an eye on the bread, so it doesn’t burn and turn all the other ingredients as required to ensure they prepare all over.
– Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon before combining the cooked mixture with it and serving.
Chicken with garlic potatoes and asparagus – A filling family dinner
You will need:
- 1 pound of potatoes, cut up into 1 inch pieces.
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped.
- 3 teaspoons of olive oil.
- 4 skinless chicken breasts.
- 1 bunch of asparagus.
- 1/4 cup of chopped parsley.
- 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated.
- 2 teaspoons of lemon zest.
- Salt and pepper.
Also Read: 13 Guanabana Benefits and Uses
- Mix the potatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl together and set to one side.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, before putting the chicken into it, seasoning the meat how you like.
- Cook until slightly browned, or around 2 minutes on either side.
- Transfer to a baking sheet before adding the mixture you set aside earlier and roasting in the oven.
- After 5-8 minutes, the chicken should be cooked so remove it from the oven.
- Add the asparagus to the rest of the mixture before drizzling over some more oil and a little salt.
- Bake until everything is tender, which should be around 15 minutes.
- Mix the parmesan with the lemon zest and parsley in a bowl, using this is the dressing for this delicious meal.
I think it’s clear to see that the asparagus benefits are enormous and those alone are worth you introducing the vegetable into your diet!
If when visiting the vegetable aisle in your local store, you’ve never thought to pick up these tender stemmed pieces of goodness, now is the right time to change that.
They are delicious and can be incorporated into so many asparagus recipes, which you can get the full nutritional value from.
Whether you try the methods that have been mentioned in this article (I love the breakfast because it gives me energy for the entire day!) or you want to discover your own, the opportunities are endless.
Start eating asparagus today, once you start to notice the changes in your body – you are not going to regret it.