Seven Reasons To Eat Asparagus

April 25, 2020

by

Heidi Moretti, MS, RD

In times of uncertainty, it’s nice to be able to have a sure thing. Luckily we are surrounded by many foods that naturally nourish our bodies every time we eat them!.

Many fruit and veggies are now in season, including asparagus. This hearty and healthy vegetable is at its peak for nutrient density and for deliciousness!! Another perk is that due to its thicker flesh, asparagus does not have to be organic, which makes it more affordable.

Here are several reasons to include asparagus in your diet this time of year.

1. Asparagus can Protect our Skin from Sun Damage and Inflammation

As much as we love and need the sun, sometimes we can get too much of it, especially as we are closing in on summer. If our skin gets too many ultraviolet (UV) rays, damaging toxins called free radicals are produced which leads to skin damage. When skin becomes inflamed, it can cause redness, discoloration, and an uneven appearance. Luckily, nutrient-dense foods like asparagus may help protect us from these damages. According to early research, due to a high level of antioxidants, asparagus extract may protect skin cells from the damages of UV rays from the sun and may reduce inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea.

2. Asparagus can help Balance Glucose levels

Vegetables like asparagus support and maintain healthy blood sugar levels because they are high in fiber. Fiber supports your gut bacteria and aids in a healthier metabolism, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. Asparagus is very low in calories and yet very nutrient-dense and may aid in weight loss.

3. Asparagus can help Improve Memory in healthy aging adults

People who eat whole foods, like asparagus and other vegetables, are less likely to suffer from memory problems as they get older. Asparagus contains vitamins like B6 and folate which are important for healthy brain function. In one study, asparagus extract was able to improve memory and brain function of healthy rats.

4. Asparagus may Improve Mood

Foods rich in antioxidants like asparagus are well-known to help support a happy mood. When you feed your gut bacteria nutrient-rich foods, your emotions are more positive. We feel what we eat! Asparagus shines in this regard. It contains a unique compound called sarsasapogenin that has been shown to improve depression in mice.

5. Asparagus May Reduce Cancer
It is no secret that people who eat a lot of vegetables have a lower risk of cancer. In certain cultures, asparagus is used as part of complementary cancer treatment, such as in traditional Chinese medicine. Research remains early on this topic but is intriguing nonetheless. For example, when extracts of the WHOLE plant are given in animal models, it causes cancer cell death. It certainly does not hurt to eat more asparagus as part of a healthy diet to help ward off cancer.

6. Asparagus may Reduce Kidney Stones

For anyone who has had a kidney stone, it can be up there on the pain scale and not an experience worth repeating. It has been speculated that since asparagus gives our urine a unique smell, maybe it helps kidney function. It’s true! Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic that can help flush out excess fluid, salt, and toxins. Research shows that asparagus may help reduce a specific type of kidney stone called calcium oxalate stones. Asparagus may also naturally reduce bloating by acting as a diuretic.

7. Asparagus and Digestive Health

Asparagus has so many positive benefits for our digestive system. It is high in antioxidants and soluble fiber, which is a prebiotic or food for our gut bacteria. A healthy and diverse microbiome is essential to our overall health and well being. Asparagus may even reduce the chance of colon cancer according to early research. It may help protect the liver from alcohol toxicity and protect liver cells from oxidative stress, according to cell culture study.

As Hippocrates famously stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” It certainly makes sense to focus our attention on the health of our digestive system, and the best way to do that is by eating colorful, nutrient-rich foods.

Hopefully, asparagus has sold you on making sure it is a routine part of your diet!