Health benefits of Asparagus
- Asparagus is a very low calorie vegetable. 100 g fresh spears provides just 20 calories.
- In addition, the spears contain moderate levels of dietary-fiber. 100 g of fresh spears provide 2.1 g of roughage. Dietary fiber helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad (LDL) cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that high-fiber diet help cut down colon-rectal cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.
- Its shoots have long been used in many traditional medicines to treat conditions like dropsy and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Fresh asparagus spears are a good source of anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, carotenes, and crypto-xanthins. Together, these flavonoid compounds help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body protect it from possible cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, and viral infections. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 2150 µmol TE/100 g.
- Regarding the nutrition facts, the asparagus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates American food labeling and Education Act define this wonderful vegetable through these Asparagus Nutrition Benefits:
- Fresh artichoke and asparagus are rich in folates. 100 g of spears provide about 54 µg or 14% of RDA of folic acid. Folates are one of the important co-factors for DNA synthesis inside the cell. Scientific studies have shown that adequate consumption of folates in the diet during pre-conception period and during early pregnancy, help prevents neural tube defects in the newborn baby.
- The shoots are also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid. These group of vitamins are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.
- Fresh asparagus also contains fair amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A, and vitamin-E. Regular consumption of foods rich in these vitamins helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- Its shoots are also good source of vitamin K; provide about 35% of DRI. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Asparagus is good in minerals, especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for cellular respiration and red blood cell formation.
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