Asparagus is a member of the Liliaceae family, which includes onions, leeks, garlic and chives. Asparagus can be grown in most parts of the country, but does especially well in cooler regions with longer, colder winters. These periods of dormancy allow asparagus stalks to grow more robustly in the spring than they do in warmer regions with milder winters. Harvest is done in late spring/ early summer and lasts about eight weeks.
Good Source of Fiber
The fiber in asparagus helps to improve digestion because it moves food through the gut. One serving of asparagus contains more than a gram of soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower our risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber dissolves in our bodies into a gluey mass that works to trap fat, sugars, bacteria and toxins, and move them out of the body. Because soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion, it slows our digestion.
Something you may not know about asparagus nutrition? The three grams of dietary fiber found in asparagus can lower our risk of type 2 diabetes. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve; instead, it’s stiff components scrub the digestive tract lining, removing mucoid plaque, trapped toxins and other material.
Fiber also releases organic acids in the body that provide us fuel, cleanse the digestive tract, help the liver to function, and rid our bodies of toxins, pathogens, added cholesterol and extra sugar.
Dietary fiber intake provides many health benefits, but sadly the average fiber intakes for US children and adults are less than half of the recommended levels.
Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels.
Serves as a Natural Diuretic
Something else to know about asparagus nutrition is that the unique chemical properties of asparagus make it act as a natural diuretic, which means asparagus promotes the production of urine. This increases the excretion of water from the body, in particular ridding the body of excess salt and fluid.
Asparagus is used along with lots of fluids as “irrigation therapy” to increase urine output. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema, which is the accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues. It’s also helpful for people who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.
Additionally, researchers have concluded that another benefit of asparagus nutrition is that it can be also used to treat urinary tract infections and other conditions of the urinary tract that cause pain and swelling.
Contains Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients help to reduce common chronic health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Asparagus is full of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, both of which make it a great food for preventing disease.
The antioxidant glutathione is thought to slow the aging process and break down free radicals; it can also help to protect your skin from sun damage and pollution.
Asparagus nutrition is impressive because it contains virtually no fat and remains very low in calories, with only 20 calories for five spears, yet asparagus is packed with vitamins and minerals. It contains two grams of protein, only four grams of carbohydrates and zero sodium. One of mother natures perfect foods.