Asparagus is an ancient and popular vegetable in many parts of the world with remarkably nutritious and Good Health benefits. Depending of the type of asparagus people eat, raw or cooked, and in dishes such as soups, stews, salads or on its own.
Where Does Asparagus come from?
Asparagus comes from the lily plant family. It was first cultivated by the early Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, who did use asparagus for food and medicinal purposes. Over 2000 years ago England, during the early colonists, England brought asparagus to North America, however only after 1850, only then started to grown asparagus commercially.
Are There Different Types of Asparagus Plants?
There are many varieties of Asparagus, each with different properties including different flavours during best-growing conditions.
There are 5 main species of asparagus which is well-known and edible. There are only 3 types of asparagus, purple, green and white, only a handful of varieties to choose from to grown or eat. The most common types are green Asparagus. White Asparagus is more delicate and difficult to harvest. The purple Asparagus is smaller and fruitier. Asparagus like sandy soil and ideal growing conditions grown back time and time again for up to 15 years or more.
Male And Female Asparagus
Asparagus is dioecious, meaning it has male and female plants. The Male asparagus cultivars such as Jersey types (Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight and Jersey Supreme) are more productive and resist disease better than the female cultivars like Washington types. Also, female cultivars are less vigorous and produce many red, berry-like fruits that become volunteer weeds in the garden.
Is Asparagus Poisonous?
The part of the asparagus we love is the young stem and safe to eat. Asparagus hides a deceptive and nasty secret, its fruit which are bright red berries. These berries are toxic to humans. Just a handful can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
“Through a bit of charcoal will clear that right up”Mariana
The female Asparagus plant produces seeds, like little red berries as in the picture. The berries reduce the yield of the plant as energy is put into seed production instead of back into the root system.
What Is The Nutritional Benefits Of Asparagus?
"There are no life threatening side effects of eating too much asparagus but there may be some uncomfortable side effects such as gas and a noticeble smell to the urine"
Let us look at some of the Nutrients in Asparagus. It provides a range of health benefits. Glutathione is a well-known antioxidant that promotes detoxification. Contains soluble fibre, folate, iron and Vitamins like A, C, E, B6 and K. Also various minerals to boots your Immune system.
Asparagus is low in calories, free of fat, sodium and a great source of nutrients with so many benefits, like helping you beat bloating and lose weight, thanks to its diuretic properties and high fibre content. Healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure. Also beneficial to those with high blood pressure and eliminate constipation.
Asparagus also has more than 1 gram of soluble fibre per cup, which lowers the risk of heart disease and the amino acid asparagine helps flush your body with excess salt. Excellent anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of antioxidants may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Research suggests it may help lower cholesterol.
Asparagus containing a certain compound of ammonia and various sulfur including thiols and thioesters. This affects the urine with a foetid smell. The diuretic function helps with the cleansing process by activating the functions of the liver and kidneys by eliminating toxins and infections. Diuretics help increase the flow of urine by removing sodium and chloride from the body in the urine and draw excess water from the body.
Asparagus is also known to help with kidney and bladder cleansers or health. Surprisingly Asparagus is known for preventing stones in the kidney and bladder. It also prevents anaemia due to folic acid deficiency. (UTI – Urinary Tract Infection)
Asparagus is rich in Vitamin B-9, also known as Folate Trusted Source. This nutrient plays an essential role in cell development especially important at times of rapid growth, such as during gestation, infancy and adolescence like Marfan Syndrome.
Asparagus rejuvenates and acts as a tonic for the nerves. For centuries it is also useful in conditions like Acne, Jaundice, Schistosomiasis, and Leprosy. It strengthens the immune system and helps in promoting overall physical and mental well-being. Like Epilepsy.
“The roots of asparagus racemosus may provide relief from the symptoms of epilepsy. A 2016 research published in Epilepsy & Behavior suggests that asparagus racemosus extract may provide relief from PTZ induced seizure and memory issues. “Epilepsy & Behaviour Article
Antioxidants In Asparagus
The purple asparagus, in particular, is full of anthocyanins, which give veggies and fruits their red, blue and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your fight the damaging free radicals. Cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, do not overcook as it can negate some nutritional benefits or leach out into the water.
The Antioxidants in Asparagus
- beta carotene
may contribute to cardiovascular health because antioxidants may combat free radicals
Can Asparagus Help With A Bloating Gut?
Asparagus helps promote overall digestive health in the gut and this popular rich prebiotic fibre and antioxidants improve bloating. (another benefit of all soluble and insoluble fibre).
This prebiotic fibre also promotes healthy gut bacteria and may help prevent certain cancers.
No food is strictly or forbidden for people with Type 2 Diabetes. Healthful eating for people with diabetes is all about controlling portion size and preparing a careful balance of nutrients.
Asparagus is one of the best vegetables for diabetes its low on the GI (glycemic index) scale and rich in fibre and high in nitrates that reduce blood pressure.
“As per a 2012 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, asparagus extract has anti-diabetic properties and improves insulin secretion. Also, in another rat study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, asparagus improves early diabetic nephropathy (a kidney disease)”“Many other Reseaches are available“
Here are a overview of Diabetes Types
Type I diabetes
Also known as juvenile diabetes, this type occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is the most common type of diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and it has strong links with obesity.
This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not occur in all women and usually resolves after giving birth.
Asparagus Is Full Of Vitamin K
Along with other green leafy vegetables, asparagus is a good source of Vitamin K.
Vitamin K is crucial for coagulation. Meaning that it helps your body stop bleeding and improve blood clotting after a cut or open skin irritations and keeping the bones healthy.
Unlike many other vitamins K1, K2, and K3 is not typically used as a dietary supplement. The actual group of compounds appears to be in Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2 as largely obtained from meats, cheeses, eggs and synthesized by bacteria.
While Vitamin K deficiencies are uncommon, you may be at high health risk if you:
- Take drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption
- Are severely malnourished
- Drink heavily alcohol
- Crohn’s disease or active Celiac disease can affects absorption in the digestive tract
- People using Coumadin for heart problems, clotting disorders or other conditions may need to watch their diets closely to control the amount of Vitamin K they take in.
- Extremely important that you watch the doses of Vitamin K intake when you use Blood Thinners like Warfarin
- Lastly: Always consult with your Health Care Provide or Doctor
What Is The Side Effects Of Asparagus?
In Ayurveda, Asparagus is referred to as Rasayana Herb. As I mentioned before, Asparagus offers an immense range of health benefits with a few side effects, which some are listed below.
- Pregnancy and Lactation
- Allergic Reactions
- Kidney Stones
Does Asparagus Cause Gas?
Asparagus can cause gas and flatulence and cause the stomach to feel bloated. As I mentioned before, Asparagus contain a high amount of indigestible complex carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the stomach enzymes. These carbs are digested by bacteria as they pass through the colon which then releases gas as the by-product (pass wind).
Asparagus contains a lot of Fructose and Fructans as well. Both can make IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms worse. As these sugar pass through the colon, the bacteria inside the colon take on the job of digesting them. These bacteria produce a by-product in the process, called gas (pass wind). This feeling gassy can also cause bloated after eating asparagus and culprit to your discomfort for a few hours.
The gas produced will then end up in either three of these fates:
- Reused by other bacteria in your colon
- Get absorbed back into your bloodstream
- Disposes of it by passing gas (fart)
Pregnancy And Lactation
Asparagus alters the hormonal balance and has been traditionally used for birth control. During pregnancy and lactation, it is usually considered safe to consume a normal amount of asparagus. The best is for medical doses to consulting a doctor.
“Folic acid is essential for [people] who are planning on getting pregnant, since it can help protect against neural tube defect,” says Gans. A 2019 review in Frontiers of Neuroscience found that folic acid supplements help reduce risk of premature birth when take prior to conception compared with women who didn’t take additional folic acid.”Frontiers of Neuroscience
Asparagus can cause allergies to people who are susceptible to allergic reactions to onions, leaks, and other members of the lily family.
Asparagus contains purines. Purines break down to create uric acid which can accumulate as a result of high purine content in the body. People who suffer from uric acid-related complications lie gout or kidney stones to avoid or restrict the intake of purine dense foods for patients with those conditions.
Asparagus Nutritional Value
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||85 kJ (20 kcal)|
|Dietary fibre||2.1 g|
|Vitamin A Equiv. beta-Carotenelutein zeaxanthin||5%38 μg4%449 μg710 μg|
|Thiamine (B1)||12%0.143 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||12%0.141 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||7%0.978 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||5%0.274 mg|
|Vitamin B6||7%0.091 mg|
|Folate (B9)||13%52 μg|
|Vitamin C||7%5.6 mg|
|Vitamin E||7%1.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||40%41.6 μg|