There are all sorts of benefits of asparagus in your diet. Why not make a meal of asparagus for National Asparagus Day on April 23? If you live in Britain, one very good reason to eat this UK-grown crop right now is because it’s at its seasonal best. It will also have a lower carbon footprint than asparagus which typically has to be flown all the way from Peru during the winter months.
Here, one of our health writers explains the benefits of asparagus in your diet.
Linked To Improved Mood
Asparagus is a great source of vitamins – A, C, E, K and B6 as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium and protein. The vitamin K is crucial for blood coagulation and bone health. This is because it helps the body absorb calcium. Also, the B vitamins can help lift the spirits and ward off irritability.
Plus, these tasty spears also contain high levels of an amino acid called tryptophan, which has been linked to improved mood.
Make A Meal Of Asparagus
Be careful not to overcook asparagus as you risk precious nutrients leaching into the cooking water. To retain as much of the nutrition as possible, serve asparagus chopped raw in salads or lightly steamed.
There’s plenty of fibre in asparagus, too. It has both insoluble fibre which is great for digestion, and the soluble fibre which your gut bacteria loves. This means it can help aid weight maintenance and ease bloating. Plus it can help to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Try roasting your asparagus with a little olive oil to help your body absorb the vitamin E. This important vitamin helps strengthen the immune system, protects the cells from the harmful effects of free radicals, and stimulates production of the hormone oestrogen in women and testosterone in men.
Health Benefits Of Asparagus
The high levels of the amino acid asparagine make asparagus a natural diuretic. And this means it can help flush excess fluid and salt from the body. It could also help prevent urinary tract infections by encouraging you to go to the toilet more frequently, clearing out potentially harmful bacteria.
Some people might find their urine smells odd after eating asparagus. This is because asparagus contains asparagusic acid. It’s a compound high in sulphur, which releases strong-smelling volatile components (which means they vaporise easily) when digested by the body. The smell can be detected as quickly as 15 minutes after a meal. However, the health benefits of asparagus far outweigh this unusual side effect.