Discover the 6 Benefits of asparagus and side effects .
Asparagus is a commonly consumed vegetable in many parts of the world. It is well known for its unique and tasty taste. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
It is a good source of folate, vitamin K, iron, and fiber. This makes it valuable during pregnancy and means that it can contribute to heart health and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Asparagus is a good source of folate, vitamin K, and fiber, among other nutrients.
One cup of asparagus contains less than 30 calories.
It can be steamed and drizzled with olive oil and garlic as a side or ingredient in a main dish.
Fruits and vegetables of all kinds are linked to a lower risk of many lifestyle-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and general mortality. It can also increase energy levels, complexion of skin and hair.
Asparagus is one of the top 20 foods included in the Added Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). The index aims to give an idea of the general health benefit of food by measuring the content of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in relation to the caloric content.
To get a high ANDI rank, food must provide a large amount of nutrients for a small number of calories.
Asparagus is one of the best natural sources of folate. Adequate folate intake is important during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence.
Taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy appears to help prevent pregnancy loss and protect the growing fetus from neural tube defects. A father’s folate status before conception can also be important.
One study has indicated that pups sired by folate-deficient mice have a 30% higher chance of birth defects.
Folate can reduce the risk of depression by preventing excess homocysteine from forming in the body. Homocysteine can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain.
Too much homocysteine can also interfere with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
High homocysteine levels have been associated with a higher incidence of coronary artery disease.
A homocysteine level above normal can make a person 1.7 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke. However, it is not clear if high homocysteine levels cause the risk or are just a marker.
A low intake of vitamin K is linked to an increased risk of bone fracture. Just one cup of asparagus provides about half the recommended daily amount of vitamin K.
A good intake of vitamin K can improve bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing the amount of calcium that is excreted in the urine.
The iron in asparagus also helps bones and joints stay strong and elastic.
Low levels of folate intake have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
An adequate intake of folate from the diet, or folate from food sources, has also shown promise in protecting against cancers of the colon, stomach, pancreas, and cervix.
How folate protects against these cancers remains unknown, but researchers believe it may be due to folate’s role in the production of DNA and RNA, and the prevention of unwanted mutations.
There is no evidence that folate supplements provide the same anticancer benefits.
Asparagus is high in fiber and water content. This helps prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Adequate fiber promotes regularity. This helps the body excrete toxins through the bile and stool.
Studies have shown that dietary fiber may also play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation. This means that fiber could help reduce the risk of conditions related to inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
High fiber intake is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Higher fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase weight loss in people with obesity.
The 2015-2020 United States Dietary Guidelines recommend an intake of 14 g of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed.
Asparagus is a vegetable that is rich in nutrients and easy to prepare.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, a 134-gram (g) cup of raw asparagus contains approximately:
• 27 calories
• 0.16 g fat
• 5.2 g carbohydrates
• 1.88 g sugar
• 2.8 g of fiber
• 2.95 g of protein
• 32 milligrams (mg) of calcium
• 2.87 mg iron
• 19 mg magnesium
• 52 mg phosphorus
• 202 mg potassium
• 2 mg sodium
• 0.54 mg zinc
• 55.7 mcg of vitamin K
• 51 mcg of vitamin A RAE
• 70 mcg folate
• 7.5 mg of vitamin C
• 0.192 mg thiamine
• It also contains smaller amounts of vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, and potassium.
Asparagus can be green, white, or purple. It should be purchased when the stems are dry and tight, not mushy, limp, or wilted. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Asparagus can be kept fresh by wrapping the stem ends in a damp paper towel and storing them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Young asparagus stalks can be eaten whole, but larger and thicker asparagus may require the bottom ends to be removed as they can become tough and woody as they age.
Asparagus can be eaten alone, in an omelette, or as an ingredient in various dishes.
Here are some ways to include more asparagus in your daily diet:
• Steam whole for 5 minutes and drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic.
• Add a handful of fresh asparagus to an omelette or stir.
• Sauté the asparagus in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic. Season with freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
• Add the chopped asparagus to your next salad or wrap.
• Place the asparagus on a large piece of aluminum foil.
• Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the asparagus, wrap the foil, and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or until the asparagus reaches desired tenderness.
Anyone taking blood thinners such as Coumadin, or warfarin, should not suddenly increase or decrease their consumption of foods containing vitamin K.
An increase in vitamin K can lead to an unwanted interaction with anticoagulants, because vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting.
Any major change in diet should first be discussed with a doctor.
Eating an overall healthy diet is more important than focusing on one ingredient.
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