The Benefits of Asparagus

Nature’s has it’s own health garden. One of the most amazing vegtables is the asparagus. As a child I hated this ugly green stem on my plate, but as I grew and had asparagus ‘not from a can’, I grew to love this beautiful green full of live veggie!

Rule of thumb: If you want to get your kids to like veggies, don’t feed them anything from a can! It takes something that is so wonderful tasting and makes it into something that could gag you! (My own personal opinion) Also, if your veggies have been processed and canned, it has been stripped of most of it’s nutrional value.

Asparagus health benefits have been associated with topics such as cancer,  It is rich in fiber and efficiently relieves stomach problems such as constipation. In addition, due to its high ammonia content, asparagus is considered excellent both in promoting alkalinity and in reducing acid in the body, making it very effective in protecting the heart, promoting weight loss, preventing cancer, and keeping the skin beautiful and young looking.

The Reasons Asparagus Keeps Us Healthy:
1 – As a detox – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium per cup. Potassium is known for reducing belly fat (see belly fat link below). It also contains 3 grams of fiber which cleanses the digestive system. It has virtually no natural sodium so no bloating during PMS, has no fat or cholesterol, and one cup has only 40 calories. According to a clinical dietician at UCLA Medical Center, asparagus in the ultimate in detox vegetables.
Asparagus is a perfect spring vegetable for its high fibrous content that can easily pull unhealthy toxins from our body.
Potassium allows proper water balance in the body and promotes an acid-alkaline balance which prevents illness. Potassium also aids in protein and carbohydrate metabolism thus keeping us slim and fit.

2 – Anti Aging – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate.The asparagus plant contains powerful antioxidants that help fight free radicals and eliminate the signs of aging that are visible on the skin. It is known to cure skin conditions such as eczema, scabies, and acne, and most importantly, reduce loose muscles and sagging skin as free radicals.

3 – As an aphrodisiac – An English herbalist from the 17th century, Nicholas Culpepper, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.” In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served three courses of the sexy spears at their prenuptial dinners. Apparently for a good reason: asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin and folic acid. The latter is said to boost histamine production necessary for the ability to reach orgasm in both sexes.
4 – Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate which is now known to be an important protection against cancer. It is well-known that chronic inflammation and oxidation of the body’s cells can lead to a variety of different cancers. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, asparagus is a robust fighter against bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, ovarian and other cancers. (This is still a controversial topic. Although some say that it did cure their cancer, many still say that it is not proven. Please do your own research on this. But above all else, asparagus is a great addition to your preventative health care diet.)
If you want to know more about cancer and asparagus treatment, please read the following links!  (http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/asparagus.asp)
5 – Reducing pain and inflammation – Asparagus contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as asparagus saponins and the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, laempferol and isorhamnetin, which all help to combat arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.
6 – Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes. Asparagus has been listed as the number one source of vitamin K.
7 – Reducing the risk of heart disease – it is the folate that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.Asparagus is rich in soluble fibre, known to have a protective effect against degenerative heart diseases. Asparagus also contains high levels of potassium, which may help to control blood pressure and the high folic acid content helps to reduce blood homocysteine levels, thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Asparagus is also low in fat and sodium, making it the perfect choice for those concerned about a healthy heart. One serving of asparagus (5 spears) provides over 60 % of the recommended daily intake so it’s a terrific natural source of a powerful heart-healthy nutrient.
8 – Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate (doctors often recommend the folic acid supplement) is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Folate helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.
9 – Diuretic
The amino acid asparagine, found in asparagus, is an effective diuretic and has been historically used to treat swelling, arthritis, rheumatism, and PMS-related water retention.

10 – More benefits
Additionally, studies have shown that the nutritional benefits of asparagus can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Overall, asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, folate, glutathione, and vitamin K. It is high in fiber, has no sodium, is low in calories and has no cholesterol or fat. It may improve the health of your digestive tract by sparking production of friendly flora (like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria). It could improve your mood because it provides vitamin C and folic acid, which spark production of the “happy” brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick ones are best for roasting or steaming. I find steaming the best and also very quick. The thin spears are ideal for the grill or if you are planning to saute.
For optimum health benefits it is suggested that asparagus be eaten raw.
Before eating, the woody stem should be removed from both the thick spears and the thin. Peel only the thick spears before cooking.

Click here for some amazing Asparagus recipes.

http://www.asparagus.org/
http://www.juicing-for-health.com/asparagus.html
http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12#healthbenefits
http://healthmad.com/alternative/health-benefits-of-asparagus/

Detoxing: http://www.carolynakens.com/healthy-eating/asparagusspring-detox-food/
Anti Aging: http://www.aboutskincare.net/2011/asparagus-antiaging-vegetable/
Aphrodisiac: http://www.alternet.org/health/132846
Cancer: (http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/asparagus.asp)

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Categories: Nourishing Foods & Spices | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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