The Health Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus with cheese sauce

Asparagus is high on the list of healthy foods. One serving contains more than 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid. This means it is good for the heart and the cardiovascular system in general. Folate converts homocysteine into cysteine. High levels of homocysteine are associated with atherosclerosis. Folate is also great for pregnant mothers because brain and nerve formation requires the presence of folic acid.1

Asparagus has its own amino acid known as asparagine which has a diuretic effect. It has been conjectured that this effect may help to dissolve kidney stones formed by oxalic acid. However, asparagus also contains purines which can aggravate kidney stones and conditions caused by high concentrations of uric acid in the blood, such as gout.

Along these lines it is thought to be helpful in reducing swelling and arthritis as well as water retention caused by PMS.

Inulin is a carbohydrate contained in Asparagus. Though the body does not digest it, inulin promotes friendly bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria help reduce the number of unhealthy bacteria that can occur in the intestines. The vegetable also contains a powerful antioxidant that resides in the cell called glutathione. It is thought to have cancer fighting properties. Glutathione may also help prevent cataracts.

The vitamin content of asparagus spears including A, vitamin C, and E is fairly high per serving. All of these vitamins are vital to a healthy lifestyle. Lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy. All of these vitamins are anti-oxidants which can help prevent free radical destruction of cellular DNA.

More than 100% of the daily value of vitamin K is found in asparagus. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting, and it aids in calcium absorption. Because of its role in clotting, this vitamin can be both beneficial and harmful. It is beneficial for those undergoing surgery or dealing with open wounds. However, in cases where clotting can be a problem, excess asparagus consumption should be avoided.

The sulfur in asparagus can sometimes cause urine to take on a strange odor. This is considered by most researchers not to indicate a negative health effect. Asparagus also contains tryptophan, manganese, more than 10% of the daily value of fiber, copper, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium, and calcium, in varying amounts.

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  1. WH Foods on Asparagus

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