As well as containing vitamins and minerals, asparagus is a diuretic and is rich in fiber which helps to prevent water retention and constipation. The best time to eat asparagus is in the spring. During the spring months, we can see both varieties (white and green) in the store.
Characteristics of asparagus
It has a main stem from the plant called Aspargus Officinalis, which can measure up to a meter and a half tall.
It belongs to the same family as leek, onion and chives, although they don’t have a similar shape or taste.
Green asparagus comes from around the Mediterranean Sea. More specifically, near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
In ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, people would eat asparagus and use it as an offering to the Gods. It was popularized all over Europe by the Romans, who favored it because of its medicinal properties.
With the downfall of the Roman Empire, people stopped consuming asparagus.
However, in the 21st century, it regained popularity for its cooking properties. In the 17th century, asparagus became one of the most consumed foods among the bourgeois and the upper class. Until the 19th century, the only type of asparagus that people knew was the green type. However, due to a change in the way it was cultivated (underground), white asparagus started to grow.
The difference is related to how much sun the plant gets (the green color is due to chlorophyll).
Nowadays, this vegetable is cultivated in regions where the climate is mild, its biggest producers being Italy, Germany and France.
Although greenhouses and cooling chambers allow us to have vegetables all year long, the best time to eat asparagus is in the spring. In other months, you can eat them preserved.
What are the benefits of asparagus?
Due to its high vitamin content, asparagus has been consumed since ancient times and is recommended for its different benefits. Find out what they are:
1. It’s a diuretic
As it’s predominately made up of water, asparagus facilitates the removal of fluids.
- It’s recommended for people suffering from retention, swelling or kidney problems (such as kidney stones and infections), as well as those with hypertension.
- It also provides asparagine which stimulates urine production.
- It doesn’t contain natural sodium and therefore it doesn’t increase the usual bloating you get during PMS.
2. It’s a laxative
Another health benefit of asparagus is its ability to regulate intestinal transit due to the fiber it contains.
It treats and prevents constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticula in the colon and irritable intestine syndrome.
Likewise, fiber has other properties. For example, it reduces cholesterol and improves the breakdown of sugar in the blood.
3. It’s an antioxidant
Having a meal that includes asparagus can be much more efficient than any beauty treatment.
This is because this green (or white) vegetable contains a lot of antioxidants that have the ability to neutralize the effects of free radicals.
Free radicals attack cells and cause aging. Likewise, it contains beta-carotene, which is good for healthy skin.
4. It’s an antidepressant
Asparagus contains a good amount of folic acid. This nutrient not only improves the health of pregnant women and helps the fetus develop, but it’s also beneficial for the brain.
Asparagus reduces the risk of cognitive impairment, therefore, helping you sleep well, get rid of insomnia and also treating depression.
So, if you’re struggling to relax or if you’re too stressed or tired, then the best thing you can do is eat some asparagus with your meal.
It’s better than any medication.
5. It’s really nutritious
Its nutritional composition is made up of vitamins A, C, E and K and it also contains chromium, trace elements, fiber and folic acid.
Consuming asparagus regularly will nourish your body with lots of essential nutrients for your bodily functions.
6. It’s good for your bones
People over the age of 50 (especially women who are going through menopause) and children under the age of 5 should consume more asparagus than anyone else.
Why? Because due to the vitamin K it contains your bones will be stronger and healthier and this will prevent you from fracturing bones.
Whether it be osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, the skeletal system gets weaker as you get older.
Children should eat asparagus to grow and develop properly. Thanks to this vegetable, osteocalcin protein (located in bone tissue) will help you function better.
7. It helps you lose weight
If you’re on a diet to lose weight then you have to include asparagus in your meal plan.
- A cup (200 g) of this vegetable has almost 300 mg of potassium. This nutrient is known to reduce abdominal fat.
- It also has fiber which prevents constipation and eliminates toxins.
And if all that isn’t enough, it satisfies hunger, therefore, it prevents us from eating out of anxiety, depression or boredom.
8. It’s antiviral
Finally, another benefit of asparagus is that it nourishes the body with nutrients that help the immune system.
It therefore helps prevent colds, the flu or any other viral or bacterial illness.