Do you know what the benefits of asparagus are? The asparagus officinalis is a perennial, meaning it keeps bearing fruit by more than one harvest a vegetable and is enjoyed in many parts of the world.
Much of this is due to the flavor, bright color and the large amount of nutrients. The latter make asparagus a great food to add to the diet.
The asparagus plant has its origins in Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia, so it is better suited to cold climate regions. In Brazil, it was introduced in the 1930s and since then it has been cultivated in various parts of the country, even in the semi-arid region.
In this Home Remedy article , you will learn all about the main benefits of asparagus, the vegetable’s nutritional properties and even some easy and tasty recipes to prepare at home.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus is not only a tasty vegetable that goes well with many types of preparations, but also brings several health benefits due to the action of its phytochemical components in the human body.
In fact, the vegetable is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda, which is still used in India today. In these, all parts of the vegetable are used, from the edible part to the roots.
Check out the 10 main benefits of asparagus, based on scientific articles produced around the world.
1. It is an antioxidant
One of the main health benefits of asparagus is its antioxidant action . That is, it helps protect the body’s cells against the action of free radicals, which are molecules that, when in excess, can favor the appearance of various diseases. In this way, consumption of asparagus helps to prevent cell degeneration and protects the body against the action of opportunistic diseases. ( 1 )
All of this is mainly derived from the presence of various antioxidant components in the plant. As for example the flavonoids, amino acids and saponins, which are known to protect the body against the action of illnesses and external problems. ( 2 )
2. It has anti-microbial properties
In addition to being a powerful natural antioxidant, asparagus has also been shown to be effective against the proliferation of different types of bacteria. Among them, those causing salmonella infection and diarrhea .
In addition, the vegetable is also antifungal. That is, it also inhibits the proliferation of various types of fungi that can be harmful to health if consumed. Therefore, adding the vegetable to daily meals can help treat infections that are caused by this type of organism. ( 1 )
3. Prevents the emergence of ulcers
Because of its anti-microbial action, asparagus is also effective in preventing stomach ulcers. That’s because the most common cause of the problem is the bacteria known as h-pylori, which infects the stomach walls and causes sores.
A study published in 2016 in Natural Product Research also indicated that consumption of asparagus helped to increase the mucosal defenses against the action of the bacteria.
In addition, the vegetable also provided the reduction of already apparent ulcers, at the same time as it reduced the acidity and the amount of gastric juice that is produced by the stomach. Thus preventing further damage to the injured region. ( 1 )
Another study, published in 2002 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, had already indicated that the consumption of the vegetable protected the stomach mucosa against the appearance of ulcers caused by stress , bacterial proliferation and medication side effects. ( 3 )
4. Regulates estrogen production
For a long time, asparagus was used by Ayurvedic medicine as a home remedy for the treatment of diseases related to the female reproductive system.
This is because the vegetable is rich in substances called phytoestrogens. These are common substances in many vegetables and act similarly to the female hormone in the human body.
Therefore, consuming the vegetable frequently helps to increase estrogen levels in the body. This hormone is important for the health of the uterus and ovaries and even during pregnancy, as it increases blood flow and promotes the development of the fetus, while helping in the breastfeeding process. ( 1 )
In addition, a study published in October 2018 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology indicated that consumption of asparagus may help treat menopausal symptoms by improving the production of female hormones. ( 4 )
5. Improves bowel function
Asparagus is also widely used to improve bowel function. This happens, in the first place, because the vegetable has a great amount of dietary fiber , which act directly on the functioning of the intestinal tract.
Second, it is rich in a carbohydrate called inulin, representing 30% of the plant’s total carbohydrates. A study carried out in 2002 by Brazilian researchers indicated that this type of carbohydrate has a prebiotic effect on the body.
That is, it acts as an enhancer of the natural bacterial flora of the intestine, which is essential for the proper functioning of the organ. Acting, including improving the absorption of nutrients. ( 5 )
Another study, published in 2005 also showed that asparagus has anti-diarrheal action. Being able to improve the body’s water absorption, reducing the problem and acting in the same way as medicines used for this purpose. ( 6 )
6. Helps prevent cancer
Asparagus also has antitumor properties. In other words, it can help prevent the appearance of some types of cancer, as it helps to inhibit the proliferation of cells that are sick.
This is mainly due to the antioxidant action present in the plant, which helps to protect cells against mutations that can give rise to different types of the disease.
Furthermore, the presence of saponins, which are natural antioxidant substances, help to prevent the appearance of tumors. They can also be used in the treatment of these diseases as a complementary action. ( 7 )
7. Strengthens the immune system
Saponins, which are present in large amounts in asparagus, also have the ability to strengthen the immune system. A study published in 2005 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that asparagus helped increase the body’s production of antibodies. ( 8 )
8. Fights aging
As already mentioned, asparagus is rich in many different types of antioxidant substances. One of the main ones is known as glutathione, which is called the mother of all antioxidants because of its beneficial effects on the body.
In this way, consuming asparagus not only helps to keep the body younger and healthier, but also in the health and appearance of the skin. ( 9 )
9. Protect the brain
In traditional Indian medicine, asparagus is widely used as a nerve tonic. It is indicated to improve brain activity and improve memory and stimulate the organ’s motor responses.
In addition, it is quite common that a preparation with asparagus is sold, which is indicated by ayurvedic medicine, for the treatment of drug withdrawal, seizures and even in cases of anxiety. ( 1 )
Finally, consuming asparagus regularly can help prevent brain degeneration, which can be the result of illness or age. ( 4 )
10. Fights inflammation
Asparagus also has phytonutrients in its composition that help reduce the inflammation process . This benefit is also linked to the large amounts of antioxidants and also the effectiveness of the plant against cancer and the appearance of ulcers.
According to a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry it has the ability to inhibit the inflammatory process and also the pain that is caused by it. ( 10 )
Medicinal properties of the vegetable
You’ve seen all the main benefits of consuming asparagus and all of them are related to the presence of several essential health phytochemicals that are abundant in the plant.
Among the main ones, flavonoid compounds, oligosaccharides, saponins, glutathione, about 20 different types of amino acids and several other types of antioxidants can be mentioned. ( 11 )
In addition, the vegetable also has large amounts of vitamins and minerals, which are absorbed by the body. The quantity that they will be found, however, varies according to the region and the planting method, since the quality of the soil and the climate directly influence these factors. ( 1 )
Asparagus nutritional table
As already mentioned, asparagus is a vegetable rich in different types of nutrients and minerals, while being low in calories. A 180 gram serving of the fresh vegetable, which is the equivalent of a cup of tea, has good amounts of vitamins A, C , E and the B complex, such as niacin, riboflavin, folate and choline.
In addition, a serving of asparagus delivers 70% of all the vitamin K recommended for an adult person. This vitamin is essential to maintain the health of the blood and circulatory system.
In addition, asparagus is also rich in minerals such as iron , calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. All this at just 36 calories per cup of tea and low fat. A perfect food for those looking for tasty, low-calorie and very nutritious meals. ( 12 )
Asparagus is a complete vegetable, as it is rich in several nutrients, is tasty and goes well in a variety of dishes. In this topic you will learn how to prepare some practical, quick recipes that will please everyone.
Asparagus is a very versatile vegetable. Therefore, it can be consumed cooked, grilled and roasted in light and fresh recipes. Asparagus salads are ideal preparations for the summer months or when you want a lighter meal.
Plus, she’s super fast and goes well with anything. Check below the list of ingredients and how to prepare.
- Two tablespoons of chopped shallots. If you can’t find them, you can replace them with common onions.
- One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- One tablespoon of red wine vinegar
- four oranges
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 700 grams of fresh asparagus
- Nuts can be added to add more texture to the salad.
First, mix the shallots or onions and the vinegar in a bowl and let it rest for a few minutes. Then add the zest of one of the oranges and another third of a cup of their juice. Meanwhile, gradually mix the oil, salt and pepper.
Once that’s done, cook the asparagus in boiling water for five minutes, drain the water and let them cool completely. Afterwards, mix the asparagus with the mixture previously made, add fresh pieces of orange and, if desired, place the walnuts on top.
This salad is perfect for a light lunch, as it is ready in a short time and serves up to four people.
Asparagus with fried eggs
Vegetables can also be added to breakfast in practical and healthy recipes. This one is basically made up of fried eggs and asparagus and can be made in large quantities. Check the ingredients list and the way of preparation.
- Four eggs
- A quarter cup of mozzarella cheese
- One tablespoon of parmesan cheese
- A teaspoon of butter
- Four fresh asparagus stalks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- And fresh basil leaves
First cook the asparagus in boiling water for five minutes and set aside. Then mix the eggs, salt, pepper and basil well.
Then heat a skillet and melt the butter, without letting it burn. Add egg mixture and mix well. Then add the cheese and asparagus while the eggs are still soft and cook to your liking.
Another popular method of consuming asparagus is grilling. Since this is a recipe that can be served during lunch or dinner and goes well with several types of accompaniment. Check the way of preparation and enjoy all the qualities of the vegetable.
- ten fresh and clean asparagus
- Five tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
With the asparagus well cleaned, place them in a baking dish and brush oil on all of them. Afterwards, transfer the vegetables to a grill, season with salt and pepper to taste and roast for 25 minutes.
In the middle of the time it is important to turn the asparagus so that all sides are grilled evenly. Finally, serve it hot as an accompaniment to meat or risotto.
Fresh asparagus doesn’t just go with salads or grilling, it’s also a perfect ingredient for soups or winter creams. This asparagus soup recipe is not only delicious, but also extremely nutritious. Learn how to prepare it.
- Three large onions, which is equivalent to about 500 grams
- A bunch of fresh green asparagus
- A tablespoon full of butter
- One tablespoon of chopped parsley
- two medium english potatoes
- A liter and a half of hot water
- Salt and pepper to taste for seasoning
First, cut the onions into small cubes and sauté with butter until golden. Then add the sliced potatoes and cook with the onions and a liter of water.
While the potatoes cook, clean the asparagus thoroughly. The most common way to prepare is to discard about two centimeters of the green part, which is more fibrous.
When the potatoes are cooked, turn off the heat and let everything cool. Then, beat in a blender, along with the cooking water and return to the same pan that was used previously.
Finally, add the asparagus, parsley and salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender. This soup can be eaten with fresh bread and is great to be served on colder days.
Is pickled asparagus good?
Canned asparagus is the most found throughout Brazil. Mainly because the vegetable, even though it’s tasty and nutritious, hasn’t become so popular yet, especially given the high prices it’s found in most regions.
Therefore, the pickled option is great for those who cannot find fresh asparagus, as it still retains most of its nutrients. So a cup of drained canned asparagus contains vitamins A, C, E, K and the B complex.
In addition, the vegetable also has low amounts of minerals. Such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper, which are preserved even with preserves.
However, it is necessary to be aware that canned food has 30% of the daily sodium recommendation for consumption. This is much more than fresh vegetables and can cause problems if excessive consumption occurs. ( 13 )
How to grow asparagus at home?
Asparagus is a vegetable native to part of Europe and Asia. In Brazil, it began to be cultivated only in the 1930s, when it was introduced in Rio Grande do Sul and adapted well to the region’s climate.
One of the main regions that cultivate the vegetable in the country, according to the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) is the northeast. More precisely in the São Francisco River region, where the dry climate has become favorable for plant growth.
The plant cannot adapt well to climates with temperatures above 30ºC, as it dries out easily. Therefore, if the temperature exceeds this temperature, it is important to maintain a constant irrigation system, but without leaving the soil soaked.
The soil must be very rich in nutrients and it is important not to allow the asparagus to overgrow. Since when the sprouts open they become stringy and bitter.
In addition, the vegetable must be in contact with sunlight during growth. Planting is usually done using seeds, but there are places that sell the shoots for safer planting.
The harvesting of the sprouts, which is the edible part, usually takes place in early spring. Usually after the second year of planting, the plants remain productive for many years. ( 14 )
Are there any contraindications?
You’ve seen the main benefits of asparagus and also some recipes to consume it and the best thing is that there is no contraindication for the consumption of asparagus. Except in cases where there is an indication of an allergy to the vegetable. Therefore, it can be safely consumed even by children and pregnant women, as it has no toxicity for any of these groups. ( 1 )