The green, fleshy spears of asparagus have been eaten as a delicacy for many years. They can be found in green and white varieties and are great steamed with a little salt, olive oil and lemon juice. They are also good in quiches, stir-fries and pastas. The health benefits of asparagus include heart health, diuretic properties, healthy pregnancy and digestive health.
Asparagus is an excellent source of Vitamin K and folate. It is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, copper, manganese and iron.
Asparagus and Heart Health
Folate is essential to heart health because it helps with healthy methylation and reduces levels of the heart-toxic amino acid, homocysteine. Vitamin C is also a heart and blood vessel protector and the fibre in asparagus helps to mop up excess cholesterol in the gut.
Asparagus is a Natural Diuretic
Feeling bloated and full of water? Eat asparagus. It contains an amino acid-like compound called asparagine, which acts like a diuretic, helping you to get rid of excess water. Asparagine may also have applications in reducing arthritic swelling and is particularly helpful for those suffering from PMS related water retention.
Asparagus for Healthy Digestion
Asparagus is rich in a substance called inulin, which is a type of fibre. Inulin is referred to as a prebiotic and serves as food for probiotics- the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut flora. When there are too little good bacteria in our systems, the bad bacteria and fungi are able to proliferate, causing bloating, indigestion and even diseases of the gut.
Asparagus for Health Pregnancy
Asparagus is a good source of folate (folic acid), with one cup containing half of the daily value. Folate has been shown to help prevent neural tube defects in newborns and is an essential part of any healthy pregnancy diet.