Mom always told you to “eat your vegetables,” and she had a point. Many vegetables are being proven as powerful fighters against modern disease. Asparagus is one of the latest to earn a starring role in what we call: superfoods.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition claims that asparagus can help control type-2 diabetes; asparagus regulates blood sugar levels and increases insulin, which helps the body absorb glucose. This study echoes an earlier study in 2006 which linked asparagus to an 81 percent rise in glucose uptake. (1)
While those studies are quite promising, asparagus is packed with other nutrients that make it one of the healthiest foods around.
Asparagus is a top anti-inflammatory food
Asparagus is anti-inflammatory because it contains beacasparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin. The flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin are all also anti-inflammatory substances found in asparagus. (2)
Widespread, chronic inflammation is linked to cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, so including known foods with anti-inflammatory properties is a good idea for overall health.
Asparagus can help aid digestion
Thanks to a compound named inulin, asparagus can help with digestion. This substance, a prebiotic, goes all the way through the digestive system intact, until it reaches the large intestine where it can be used by good bacteria to improve nutrient absorption. (3)
Asparagus also helps with digestion because of the high amount of fiber and protein. These help get food through the gut more smoothly and therefore can provide relief from digestive discomfort. (4)
A rich source of B vitamins, asparagus is a health super food
The importance of B vitamins to our health cannot be overstated. There are eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — and each one plays an important role in keeping our bodies running smoothly and efficiently. The B vitamins help turn the food we eat into energy. (5)
Asparagus is a rich source of these important B vitamins, which help metabolize sugars and starches, making them an important part of blood sugar management. (6)
The folate in asparagus works with the B12 to help prevent cognitive decline. In a study at Tufts University, it was shown that older adults with good levels of B12 and folate outperformed those with lower levels during a testing situation involving mental flexibility. (7)
Sources for this article include:
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