Asparagus is a perennial plant that doubles as a popular vegetable. Asparagus is actually the genus of the plant. There are around 300 species of this plant. The different species are used for many different medicinal uses around the world. The species we eat is, Asparagus officinalis. Asparagus health benefits are amazing, and this is one plant you’ll want in your diet.
Asparagus Health Benefits
Asparagus is great for your gut. First of all, it is a good source of dietary fibre. This helps with digestion and also helps feed the good bacteria in the gut. It also has anti-fungal properties that make it low risk for mold or rot. Both factors are great for anyone looking to heal their gut, and for better nutrient absorption.
Asparagus health benefits are numerous. These spears contain many healing properties including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, hypolipidemic, and anti-fungal activities. In short, they are great for you.
Asparagus could also lower blood glucose levels. This is good news for diabetics or anyone at risk of diabetes. The plant has a stimulating effect on the insulinotropic pathways, helping the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Asparagus contains calcium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, zinc, and selenium. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K1, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Asparagus also contains several essential oils including, asparagine, arginine, tyrosine, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin, and rutin), resin, and tannin.
Boiling asparagus does significantly decrease the amount of antioxidants found in the spears. However, this study boiled the asparagus for an hour, which is far longer than you should cook it. The less time cooking the vegetable, the more intact the nutrients will be. Steaming is a better cooking method. Also, the study found no significant antioxidant loss from cutting the spears.
When you’re eating asparagus, you’re eating the shoots (or spears) of a large, fern-like bush. It takes a few years to fully mature, and for the roots to become well established, allowing you to cut the stalks without killing the plant.
The first year that you grow asparagus you should leave it be. Don’t cut the stalks yet. They will be thin, weak, and cutting them will take energy away from the root system, harming its future growth potential. The second year you can start to cut shoots off the plant. You don’t want to cut all of the shoots off, though. The plant needs some shoots to grow, and branch out to gather energy from the sun. You should let some shoots mature to their full foliage potential each year. You’ll cut this foliage right back come fall.
You may be questioning why you would grow asparagus when it takes a few years to mature. Why not just buy it from the supermarket? First of all asparagus is a good investment. It may be a slow starter, but once it has properly matured it will continue to produce new spears year after year for 20-40 years. It is also better because you control what chemicals it is exposed to. You don’t need to spray your asparagus with harmful pesticides and chemicals. You also get to eat the freshest asparagus around. Supermarket asparagus is shipped in from warmer climates. In that time it can dry out, losing nutrients and flavour. Eating these veggies straight from your garden will ensure it is as fresh as possible.
Asparagus is a deep root plant. It is a perennial, which means that it needs to grow deep into the soil to protect itself against the harsh winter temperatures. Because of this, it doesn’t work well in pots. Check out this instructional video for further types about how you can grow your own asparagus.