10 Benefits of Asparagus, According to Nutritionists
Health benefits of asparagus
Asparagus is known for making pee smell funny. But it can has so many benefits, like helping you beat bloat and lose weight, thanks to its diuretic properties and high fiber content. The veggie is packed with other nutrients, too, including vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium,and protein. Plus, it’s a rich source of antioxidants.
Asparagus can help with weight loss
Not only is asparagus low in fat and calories (one cup sets you back a mere 32 calories), but it also contains lots of soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Because your body digests fiber slowly, it keeps you feeling full in between meals.
“Fiber can definitely help you feel satiated, making it beneficial for weight loss,” says Gans. “It can also aid constipation, and research suggests it may help lower cholesterol.”
To maximize the veggie’s calorie-torching potential, pair it with a hard-boiled egg: the combination of fiber-rich asparagus with the egg's protein will leave you feeling satisfied.
Asparagus helps prevent UTIs
Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, making it a natural diuretic. In other words, eating more of the spears can help flush excess fluid and salt from your body, which may help prevent urinary tract infections.
“When women are not urinating enough, they can get a UTI,” explains Gans. It’s possible that a diet rich in asparagus could prevent these painful infections from developing, since going to the bathroom more frequently can help move bad bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Asparagus is full of antioxidants
Asparagus—purple asparagus in particular—is full of anthocyanins, which give fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals. When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. Although cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, letting it boil or sauté for too long can negate some nutritional benefits. “Overcooking asparagus could cause the vitamins to leach out into the water,” says Gans.
Asparagus contains vitamin E
Asparagus is also a source of vitamin E, another important antioxidant. This vitamin helps strengthen your immune system and protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. To fill up on its benefits, roast asparagus with a little olive oil: “Our body absorbs vitamin E better if it’s eaten alongside some fat,” says Gans. “And when you cook it with olive oil, you’re getting healthy fat and vitamin E.”
Asparagus can help your libido
If you're looking for asparagus benefits for men that help in the bedroom, consider adding the veggie to your next date night menu: asparagus is a natural aphrodisiac thanks to vitamin B6 and folate, which can help boost feelings of arousal. Plus, vitamin E stimulates sex hormones, including estrogen in women and testosterone in men.
Asparagus helps with hangovers
If you crave a greasy breakfast the morning after too many drinks, research suggests that a side of asparagus might be the better choice. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science conducted on laboratory-grown cells suggested that the minerals and amino acids in asparagus extract may help ease hangovers and protect liver cells from the toxins in alcohol.
Asparagus beats bloating
When it comes to fighting bloat, asparagus packs a punch. The veggie helps promote overall digestive health (another benefit of all that soluble and insoluble fiber!). And thanks to prebiotics—carbohydrates that can’t be digested and help encourage a healthy balance of good bacteria, or probiotics, in your digestive track—it can also reduce gas. Plus, as a natural diuretic, asparagus helps flush excess liquid, combating belly bulge.
Asparagus is rich in folic acid
Four asparagus spears contain 22% of your recommended daily allowance of folic acid, making asparagus great for pregnancy. “Folic acid is essential for [people] who are planning on getting pregnant, since it can help protect against neural tube defect,” says Gans. A 2019 review in Frontiers of Neuroscience found that folic acid supplements help reduce risk of premature birth when take prior to conception compared with women who didn't take additional folic acid.
Asparagus is full of vitamin K
Along with other green, leafy vegetables, asparagus is a good source of vitamin K. The vitamin is crucial for coagulation (which helps your body stop bleeding after a cut) as well as bone health.
“Most people think of calcium for healthy bones, but vitamin K is also important,” says Gans. “It can actually help your body absorb calcium.”
Asparagus boosts your mood
Asparagus is full of folate, a B vitamin that could lift your spirits and help ward off irritability. Researchers have found a connection between low levels of folate and vitamin B12 in people who are suffering from depression, leading some docs to prescribe daily doses of both vitamins to patients with depression. Asparagus also contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been similarly linked to improved mood.
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