Yes, Asparagus is Paleo!
What You Need to Know About Asparagus
Asparagus is a succulent, savory and tender vegetable that comes from the lily family (Liliaceae), together with onions, leeks and garlic. It was first cultivated about 2500 years ago in Greece and has been a prized delicacy since ancient times. Asparagus is actually a Greek word which means stalk or shoot.
There are about 300 varieties of asparagus and only 20 of them are noted to be edible. British and American varieties are usually green in color. French asparagus are purple while Spanish and Dutch asparagus are white.
Long before it was used in cooking, asparagus was believed to be a herbal medicine that can help cure toothaches and prevent bee stings.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus offers a wide range of health benefits. It could be costly but the benefits that one can get from eating it are beyond price. The nutritional value of asparagus couldn’t be easily found in any other food plus, it is very low in calories.
Vitamins and Minerals
Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, E and K. The high level of B vitamins in asparagus helps in regulating homocysteine, an amino acid which when taken too much could be a serious risk in heart disease. Vitamin K aids in bone health by carrying calcium out of the blood stream to the bones, where it can actually prevent one from developing osteoporosis. Without vitamin K to transport it, calcium just sits in the arteries, turning into plaque and causing all sorts of problems.
Asparagus is also a good source of dietary fiber, choline, folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. The fiber in asparagus helps improve digestion and lower risk of heart ailments.
Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidants
Asparagus is rich in different phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Asparanin A, sarsasapogenic, protodioscin and diosgenin are anti-inflammatory saponins present in asparagus. These phytonutrients are linked in the prevention of ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which is an autoimmune disorder that plays a role in the death of certain nerve cells.
Asparagine and chromium are trace minerals present in asparagus that help insulin do its job transporting glucose. Asparagus also contains glutathione and beta carotene which are potent antioxidants. Glutathione have detoxifying properties that can help destroy carcinogens and could lower the risk of certain cancers. This may also help in slowing down the aging process.
Diuretic and Heart Health
The chemical property of asparagus which makes it a natural diuretic is aspargine. This promotes the production of urine. When you consume asparagus, it will make you go to the bathroom more often. Urinating frequently can help get rid of extra salt and fluid in the body. This is beneficial to people who are experiencing fluid build up on different parts of their body. This can also help in cleansing the kidney and bladder.
Diuretics such asparagus can also help in reducing bloating and lowering the blood pressure. In addition, the folate and B vitamins in asparagus aid in lowering the risk of heart diseases and cardiac ailments.
Inulin is a unique carbohydrate that is present in chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke and asparagus. It becomes a prebiotic or food source for the good bacteria, as soon as it arrives the large intestines. This helps in better nutrition absorption and lower risk of allergy.
Why My Pee Is Green and Smells Odd When I Eat Asparagus?
It is true that one weird property of asparagus is that it makes the color of urine green and it would even make the odor strong and unpleasant. The green color in the urine is the result of simple chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the chemical that is responsible for giving green plants its color.
Asparagus contains mercaptan which is a type of sulfur that gives onions, garlic and spoiled eggs their odor. This chemical is broken down into smelly chemical components in the gut in all people. Apparently the odor in the urine can be present just within fifteen minutes of eating asparagus. Some people may not be able to notice any smell at all.
This is actually normal and does not signify any issue with the body when consuming asparagus. Regardless if you smell an unpleasant odor or not after eating asparagus, this isn’t something that needs to be concerned about.
What Experts Say About Asparagus
“Used for cooking and medicinal purposes for over 2,000 years, asparagus is one nutritious perennial garden plant! See and you thought all it was good for was turning your pee green!” – Mark Sisson
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photo credit: A bouquet of asparagus