Asparagus, also known as garden asparagus, is a kind of spring vegetable from the flowering perennial plant species from the genus of the same name. With the scientific name, the vegetable is common in Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. As a food, asparagus also have various health benefits.
Asparagus is rich in vitamins and minerals. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, asparagus contains
Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. vitamin A is essential for vision, as well as for the maintenance of skin and mucus membrane integrity. Vitamin B is vital for the nervous function, which covers learning, cognition, and memory. It is also important in the prevention of neural tube defects in the developing baby during pregnancy. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is popular for its power to defend the body from infection and sickness. It also promotes the function of the substance called collagen, which acts as cement and binds loosely connected cells and tissues. Vitamin E is responsible for the promotion of the skin’s health and it also serves as an antioxidant. Meanwhile, vitamin K is essential in blood clotting, which prevents excessive bleeding. It is administered to the newborn after delivery to prevent hemorrhage.
In terms of minerals, asparagus contains calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, and copper. Calcium and phosphorus help promote bone and teeth strength and density. Magnesium, on the other hand, raises neuromuscular function. Zinc promotes digestive health while iron helps in the oxygenation of blood. Potassium is vital in fluid balance, along with sodium, and it also promotes normal muscular contraction, which covers the heart. Manganese and copper are both essential to the metabolic process and growth and development of tissues. Meanwhile, selenium prevents cellular damage by producing special proteins called antioxidant enzyme.
Asparagus help prevent the formation of urinary stones. According to a 2010 study published in “West Indian Medical Journal,” as cited by Live Science, asparagus acts as a “natural diuretic” by helping the body flush excess salt and fluid. This mechanism also benefits people with high blood pressure, edema, and heart failure, as removing sodium and fluid from the body leads to the removal of excess body fluid and toxins; thus, it helps prevent kidney stone formation. It is added, however, that people who are suffering from uric acid kidney stones should avoid consuming asparagus.
Asparagus also helps combat cancer. According to Eating Well, it contains the detoxifying compound glutathione, which helps break down carcinogens and eliminate toxic compounds like free radicals. Due to this mechanism, the result is skin whitening, which is better associated to it than its intended action. As per the publication, the vegetable also contains antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals and delay the aging process. Hence, asparagus is linked to the prevention of various cancer forms, such as lung, larynx, colon, bone, and breast cancer.
Being a vegetable, asparagus has demonstrated its versatility when it comes to meal recipes, such as Oven-Roasted Asparagus. According to All Recipes, the ingredients are a bunch of thin asparagus spears (trimmed), three tablespoons olive oil, one and a half tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional), a clove of garlic (minced), a tablespoon of lemon juice(optional), a teaspoon of salt, and half teaspoon of ground black pepper.
To prepare, as per the publication, an oven is preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 220 degrees Celsius. Then, the asparagus is placed into a mixing bowl and drizzled with the olive oil. Next, the spears are tossed to coat, before sprinkling with garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Once done, the asparagus is placed on a baking sheet in a single layer. After that, the vegetable is baked in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness, until it becomes tender. Finally, it is sprinkled with lemon juice prior to serving.
Asparagus offer multiple health benefits to man. Thus, its inclusion to various meal recipes helps promote health and wellness and prevent illness.