Asparagus Benefits, Side Effects & Easy Recipes

Asparagus health benefits and side effetc

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) is considered as a modern day’s superfood vegetables. Although the first introduction of Asparagus as a food is mentioned in eleventh-century French monastery documents (1). Medicinally the plant is used as a diuretic from Egyptian civilization about 2000 years ago (9).It is mainly available in green, purple and white spear. Green and white asparagus are the same variety. The change in color is due to its different harvesting time. Green and purple asparagus contained the highest amount of antioxidant activity and low calorie (11).

Fact: Before studying about asparagus in the different site please make sure that whether you are studying the right plant asparagus. Many articles are the mixed outcome of two different plants that are Asparagus officinalis and Asparagus recemosus under common name Asparagus.

What are the main components of Asparagus?

  • Vitamins: asparagus is rich in Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin C, Niacin and Folic acid (8)
  • Minerals: potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and Zinc (8)
  • Dietary fibre (8)
  • Essential oils
  • Amino acids (asparagine, arginine, tyrosine)
  • Secondary metabolites (flavonoids, kaempferol, resin, and tannins) (9)

Why is Asparagus considered a superfood?

Following qualities of Asparagus makes it superfood

  • Low in calories:

    Asparagus contains low calories with no fat and very low sodium (2). Per 100 gram produce only 26 K calorie of energy. Therefore can be eaten without considering any gain in weight.

  • Asparagus contains high amount of glutathione:

    Asparagus contains about 26-40 mg per 100 gram of fresh weight glutathione. Glutathione acts as an antioxidant in the body (2). Another beneficial effect of glutathione is a diuretic and helps in coping with heart problems (3). Light cooking conserves its glutathione content (4).

  • Rich in Vitamin B:

    Asparagus is a good source of folacin, vitamin B helps in cell repair and growth along with blood cell reproduction in bone marrow (5 and 6).

  • Good source of Folic acid:

    Again folic acid is an important supplement for pregnancy. It helps in proper brain and spine development of the child. Asparagus is a good natural source of folic acid.

  • Traditional medicine:

    Traditionally the plant is used for the cure of many diseases like stones, liver diseases, asthma, gout and dropsy (7).

  • Diuretic:

    The diuretic effect of Asparagus is because of its high glutathione content. Asparagus is a medicinal plant which has a diuretic effect and because of its high glutathione content, it was identified as being beneficial for humans with heart problems (Leung and Foster, 1996).

  • Increase fertility:

    Asparagus increases the fertility by balancing and solving the hormonal deficiency in the body, therefore, overcome the impotency and other reproduction-related problems (12).

    Fact: The preliminary test is only done by University of Medical Sciences, Jahrom, Iran in adult rats, showed an increase and better hormonal and ovarian activity (12).

  • Act against Folate deficiency:

    Asparagus is rich in vitamin K and Vitamin 9 (Folate). Therefore acts against folate deficiency and hence helps in reduction of congenital malformations during pregnancy (12).

In short: Therefore Asparagus has a unique quality which categorized it under superfood that is its low calorie, high glutathione, and diuretic nature.

Side effects of Asparagus

  • Although Asparagus is considered as safe to eat, people with inflamed kidney or have other kidney diseases should not use asparagus directly or in the form of any kind of supplement (9).
  • Asparagus is diuretic in nature, therefore, people having diarrhea should also avoid taking asparagus (9).

10 Mins Asparagus recipes

Quantity – 10-12 Asparagus Spears (Serving Size 1).

Quality – always purchase tender Asparagus, thickness of the stalk should not be more than 0.5 Inch(1.27 cm)

Please Note – Cooking is an important factor in conserving the antioxidant, amino acids and vitamins in asparagus always avoid overcooking.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Step 1: rinse asparagus with water, if the stalk is not soft or woody cut the length of the stalk.

Step 2: Take a baking tray, cover it up with an aluminum foil. Sprinkle olive oil over asparagus. Season with chopped Garlic, lemon zest, freshly ground Black pepper and rock salt.

Step 3: Keep it 400 Degrees for 12-15 Mins.

Pan Fried Asparagus

Step 1: rinse asparagus with water, if the stalk is not soft or woody cut the length of the stalk.

Step 2: Take a frying pan put a tablespoon of Olive Oil and heat it for 2 minutes. Put freshly chopped garlic heat it for 1-minute put asparagus and season with black pepper and rock salt. Heat it for 5 Minutes

Step 3: Add 3 Tablespoons of White wine vinegar, it will help in retaining the green color at the same time will add a tangy flavor. Now Cover the pan with a lid and steam it for 3 Minutes.

References

  1. Reuther G (1984) Asparagus. In : WR Sharp et al. ( Ed. ). Handbook of plant cell culture. Vol 2. Crop species. Macmillan. New York pp. 211-242.
  2. Saito M, Rai DR, Masuda R (2000) Effect of modified atmosphere packaging on glutathione and ascorbic acid content of asparagus spears. Food Processing and Preservation 24 (3): 243-251.
  3. Leung AY, Foster S (1996) Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs and cosmetic, 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc. NY.
  4. Anon (2001) http://www.Calasparagus.com
  5. Evans WC. Trease and Evans pharmacognosy. 14th Ed, WB Saunders Ltd. London, UK, 1996, 541-578.
  6. Wallis T E., Text book of Parmacognosy, 5th edition, CBS Publishers, New Delhi, pp 111 &566, (2005).
  7. Nature Gate, Asparagus officinalis,www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasv it/asparagus [22 jul 2013].
  8. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-394314-9.00010-5
  9. 4172/2329-9029.1000180
  10. Leung AY, Foster S (1996) Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs and cosmetic, 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc. NY.
  11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.10.036
  12. PMCID: PMC4869160

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