10 Health Benefits of Asparagus & 3 Tips for Use
It comes in green, white, and even purple. Valuable vitamins, numerous minerals, and few calories make it particularly healthy. We are talking about asparagus. We explain to you the benefits that asparagus has on your health and give you useful tips on how to buy, store and prepare asparagus properly.
Asparagus soup, asparagus with hollandaise sauce or simply with butter – the elongated vegetable can be used in the kitchen in many ways. In addition to the delicious taste, you do something good for your health when you eat it.
Interesting Facts About Asparagus
The word asparagus comes from the Latin asparagus officinalis. This literally means "medicine." It is a genus of plants in the asparagus family. Especially in Eurasia and Africa, the asparagus is widespread.
Depending on the literature source, there is talk of 160 to 300 different species of asparagus. Some are even used as ornamental plants because of their beautiful flowers.
The most important species in the economy is the vegetable asparagus. This grows as a semi-shrub or as a herbaceous plant. The erect stems partially climb and have branching.
At the beginning of the season, asparagus grows about one centimeter per day. From the middle of the season, it then grows up to five centimeters a day. The taste of asparagus is only bitter if it was stung too close to the rootstock during harvesting.
History and Develpoment of Asparagus
The vegetable asparagus was already appreciated by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans as a medicinal plant. He found mainly the use as a support of the liver, lungs and kidneys and was considered as well as metabolism stimulating.
Due to the increasing demand, however, asparagus was not increasingly planted until the 16th century. At that time it was mainly a dish for the rich. The terms white gold, imperial vegetable and edible ivory for asparagus also date from this period.
However, for some inexplicable reason, the aristocratic vegetable later became a food for poor people. Since the 19th century, the seasonal vegetable has once again been considered a delicacy. Since asparagus made it to all supermarkets, it is even one of the most expensive vegetables ever.
Variety of Asparagus: Green, White or Purple
Do you prefer white or green asparagus? In generally, both varieties are very popular, and purple asparagus is slowly becoming a bit more popular as well. The different colors come from different growing methods.
The color of green asparagus is formed by chlorophyll. However, this plant pigment is only produced by exposure to sunlight. Therefore, green asparagus must be grown above ground. Because of the sun, green asparagus contains slightly more vitamin C, beta-carotene and flavor-giving substances. As a result, it tastes quite strong and flavorful and does not need to be peeled.
White asparagus is protected from the sun by piled soil. Therefore it remains white. The so-called bleached asparagus is also more expensive due to this complex cultivation method. White asparagus has a particularly mild aroma, but must be peeled at the ends.
Purple asparagus is produced when the tips break through the soil and the plant pigment anthocyanin turns them purple. There are now even special cultivars in which not only the tips, but the entire asparagus spears are purple. The purple variety tastes a bit heartier and spicier than white asparagus.
Asparagus Nutrition Facts and Calories
So what exactly makes asparagus so healthy? The most important thing: It consists of an incredible 93 percent water. Nevertheless, asparagus contains many vitamins and minerals that are good for you. Take a closer look at the components:
|Components||Asparagus (100 grams)|
|Total Fat||0.2 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||2 g|
|Dietary Fibre||1 g|
|Vitamin B1||0.11 mg|
For example, the potassium in asparagus lowers blood pressure, and the calcium is good for our bones and teeth. But these are by no means all the health benefits of asparagus.
Among other things, green asparagus contains more vitamin C. Nevertheless, the difference in the ingredients of all three varieties is minimal. Therefore, both the green and the white and purple asparagus are considered extremely healthy.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
The botanical name of the vegetable asparagus translates as "medicine" or "remedy." This name says it all. Indeed, the many different nutrients in asparagus can have a positive effect on the whole body.
Its various substances have, among other things, an antimicrobial, cholesterol-lowering as well as anticarcinogenic effect.
Asparagus Benefits for Urinary Tract Infections
Among other things, asparagus shows a positive effect in urinary tract infections. This is due to the fact that its aspartic acid has a diuretic effect.
This amino acid helps to transform the nitrogenous degradation products. This turns the breakdown products into non-toxic urea, which is excreted through the kidneys.
The excretion of urea simultaneously flushes out the pathogens responsible for urinary tract infections.
Asparagus Benefits in Digestive Problems
You can also eat asparagus if you have intestinal problems. The many dietary fibers and phytochemicals in asparagus stimulate digestion. At the same time, a well-functioning digestive system means that the intestines are doing what they are supposed to.
The fiber inulin also provides a strengthening of the intestinal flora and folic acid and vitamin C for a stabilization of the intestinal mucosa.
Asparagus Benefits during Pregnancy
However, the folic acid in asparagus is not only good for the gut, but is also recommended during pregnancy. Folic acid is essential for pregnant women because it promotes healthy cell development in unborn babies.
If the cells cannot divide correctly or form new cells, this can lead to malformations in the baby. If you eat 500 grams of asparagus, you already cover about half the daily requirement of folic acid.
Spinach and pistachios are also beneficial during pregnancy
Asparagus Benefits Your Muscles and Nerves
Potassium and other minerals in asparagus boost nerve and muscle activity in your body. For example, potassium is especially important for ensuring that signals are properly transmitted. In addition to aiding in transport processes, potassium can also lower blood pressure.
Asparagus for Weight Loss
A diet is doomed to failure if it leaves you starving. Asparagus can help you lose weight.
Due to the fact that asparagus is extremely low in calories, you can eat a large portion of it without a guilty conscience. Additionally, the fiber in asparagus will keep you full longer.
Asparagus is very suitable for salads but you can also make a diet-friendly soup from it.
Asparagus Benefits the Detoxification of Your Body
Not only people with overweight can benefit from the cleansing effect of asparagus. Due to the strong urine excretion after eating the delicious vegetable, toxins and waste products are flushed out at the same time.
Your blood is also cleansed and liver and kidney function are also supported by the ingredients. With spring cures and generally with detoxification cures swear many therefore not for nothing on asparagus.
Possible Benefits of Asparagus for Your Sex Life
Ever since the ancient times, asparagus has been said to have an aphrodisiac effect. Even though the asparagus form has a "phallic" appearance, there is no proof of the arousing effect.
But it is said that the zinc contained in asparagus, in fact, not only provides a firmer body and a stimulated mind. For many people, eating it also causes a sudden increase in the desire to make love. However, this effect is not (yet) biologically confirmed.
Benefits of Asparagus for Men
Although the aphrodisiac effect of asparagus has not yet been proven, its consumption has special benefits for the functionality of the sexual organ of men.
Due to the high content of potassium, the consumption of asparagus contributes to the relaxation of your blood vessels. This leads to better blood circulation. Better blood circulation not only promotes a healthy heart, but is crucial for maintaining an erection.
Asparagus Benefits Your Bone Health
The magnesium and calcium in asparagus provide a strengthening of your bones. In addition, the protein contained ensures that the metabolism of the bones works well.
Asparagus Benefits Your Immune System
Asparagus is a real vitamin bomb and can prevent various diseases. This is due in part to vitamin C, which is important for a strong immune system.
The vitamin E in asparagus also has antioxidant properties, and vitamin B1 has a positive effect on the nervous system. Plus, there’s plenty of vitamin B2 in asparagus, which your body needs to produce energy.
Is Asparagus Good for You?
In conclusion, asparagus is definitely good for you. Whether you’re a man or a woman, eating asparagus has health benefits for every body.
Starting with a reduced risk of urinary tract problems and a healthy digestive system due to its high fiber content, asparagus proves its reputation as a healthy vegetable by providing benefits for pregnant women due to its high folic acid content. Also, its low-calorie count also makes it great for weight loss.
Asparagus detoxifies your body, promotes your bone health, and ensures a healthy immune system. It is even said that it can have a beneficial effect on your sex life.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why asparagus should be on your menu more often in the future.
Side Effects of Asparagus
In general, asparagus is considered digestible. Nevertheless, there are people who would be better off not eating it.
These include, for example, those who have elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. Otherwise, a gout attack could occur. The purines in asparagus, which are broken down into uric acid in the body, are to blame for this. In the meantime, eating asparagus – in moderation – is considered safe even for gout sufferers.
People with kidney disease should also watch the amount they eat when eating asparagus. When kidney function is impaired, the uric acid level in the body is usually permanently elevated. This in turn leads to various health problems. These usually include aching joints due to deposited uric acid crystals.
Whether you eat white, green or purple asparagus and whether you cook it, bake it, grill it or prefer to eat it raw, vegetable asparagus is not poisonous.
Only the red berries of the asparagus plant are considered mildly toxic. Among other things, they can cause abdominal pain and vomiting.
Why Does Asparagus Make Your Pee Smell?
You’ve probably noticed that urine smells a little different after eating asparagus. This particular asparagus smell is caused by the aspartic acid in asparagus. This turns into sulfur-containing substances when metabolized.
The sulfur makes the urine smell – but not in all people. This is because only about half of humanity has the enzyme that causes aspartic acid to break down.
Tips on How to Use Asparagus
Asparagus can be harvested from about the middle of April and until the middle/end of June. On St. John’s Day, the asparagus season is officially declared over. This gives the plants enough time to regenerate until next year.
What do you have to bear in mind when using asparagus? We reveal it to you.
Purchase Tips: How to Find the Best Asparagus
When buying asparagus, you need to pay attention to three criteria – freshness, appearance, and how it feels when you touch it.
One of the ways you can tell fresh asparagus is when the juice comes out of the end of a spear when you squeeze it. If the juice has an aromatic and not sour smell, everything is fine. The cut ends should not be dried or have a grayish-yellow discoloration at all.
In addition to possible discoloration of the ends, you should make sure that the asparagus looks shiny and crisp. The heads of fresh asparagus are also closed and firm.
When you handle the asparagus, it should feel firm and plump and not bend. A squeak test is a good way to find out if the asparagus is really fresh. This is because when you rub fresh asparagus spears together, it makes a squeaking sound.
Asparagus is divided into three different quality classes:
- Class Extra means the highest quality
- Class I corresponds to good quality, where the asparagus may show a slight lignification
- Class II describes that the asparagus meets all minimum characteristics, but can not be classified as higher
How to Store Asparagus
Generally speaking – the sooner you eat asparagus after buying it, the better it tastes. However, if stored properly, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to three or four days at the most.
Appropriate storage for asparagus means that you wrap it in unpeeled form in a damp cloth. This applies to all types. Green asparagus can also be stored in the refrigerator by placing it upright in a glass of water.
If you want to enjoy the asparagus later, you can freeze it for up to nine months. To do this, peel it and remove any woody ends.
If you then want to prepare the raw asparagus, simply add it to the pan or boiling water in its frozen form. There is no need to thaw it beforehand.
How to Prepare Asparagus
Asparagus is especially popular in springtime. If you don’t want to eat it fresh, there are numerous variations on how you can use it in the kitchen.
For example, asparagus is perfect as a side dish to various meat dishes. It also cuts a fine figure in salads.
Use it instead of wasting it: You can boil the asparagus peels and use them as a basis for asparagus soup. This way you have almost no waste.
Depending on the type of asparagus and its thickness, the cooking time is about ten to twenty minutes. As soon as you can easily press the asparagus stalks with a fork, it is ready to serve. To neutralize the slight bitterness, you can add a little sugar to the cooking water.