In this article, we will be looking at the properties and health benefits / medicinal uses of Asparagus.
Botanical name: Asparagus officinalis L.
Other names: Special asparagus, Asparagus fern, White asparagus, green asparagus.
Asparagus is the tender stalk and buds of the asparagus plant, Asparagus officinalis L., a herbaceous plant of the botanical family Liliaceae which usually reaches a height of about 1.5 meters. The stalks that make up the asparagus are covered with tiny scale-like leaves.
A common property of asparagus that is noticed by everyone who eats it, is its ability to increase urine production. For those who have consumed it before, must have noticed their urine possession of a unique odour and an increase in its volume just minutes after consumption. This is due to the presence of asparagine, which is the most active substance present in asparagus and as well forms part of its volatile essential oils, its elimination together with urine brings about the increase in urine volume.
The most common forms of asparagus are, the white asparagus and the green asparagus. Of these two forms, green asparagus is considered as the best, because it is more flavorful to taste and most importantly richer in vitamins than the white asparagus.
Properties of Asparagus
Below are the properties of asparagus:
● Asparagus is among the top foods that are low in calories. It provides only 23 kcal per 1000 g. This property of asparagus being very low in calories is due to its virtual lack of fat and a very low carbohydrate content.
● As seen above that asparagus is very low in carbohydrates, but here, its not the case with protein. Asparagus is among the vegetables highest in protein content, representing about 2.28% of its total content.
● Asparagus also contains considerable amounts of vitamins, mainly B group vitamins, vitamin A, E and C.
● In terms of minerals, asparagus is not left out as it provides significant amounts of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. It also provides various trace elements that are important for the body functioning.
Health benefits / medicinal uses of Asparagus
Asparagus is among the foods that are significantly rich in nutrients but very low in calories. The nutrients in asparagus accounts for its medicinal values / indications. Below are some of its medicinal uses:
● kidney disorders – Asparagus is considered a very good diuretic which helps stimulate urine production in the kidney. It helps in eliminating fluids retained within the body. Due to these effects, patients suffering from the inflammation of the kidney (nephritis), should consume asparagus in moderate amounts because of its stimulant effect on the kidneys.
● Slimming diets – Asparagus provides very few calories and a reasonable amount of fiber, this makes them give a helping hand in producing a sensation of satiety in the stomach. Thus, the consumption of asparagus is highly recommended and ideal in cases where slimming diets are required. It can be consumed with a few drops of lemon acting as a seasoning agent.
● Constipation – The consumption of asparagus is highly recommended in cases of constipation (difficulties experienced in passing out feces as well as infrequent elimination of feces). This is due to the presence of fiber in asparagus, it produces a laxative effect which paves way for the elimination of feces.
● Eczema – For patients with eczema, particularly skin eczema, the consumption of asparagus is recommended as it helps do away with it gradually. This is due to asparagus detoxifying and depurant effect.
Preparation and use of asparagus
Asparagus can be prepared and consumed in ideally two ways, which are the most common, they include:
► Cooked – This is the most common and efficient method of preparing asparagus. It can be fried or roasted, as well as boiled for about 10-15 minutes. Most people find it more easier in preparing by peeling it particularly when the stalk is tough. This is by far the most efficient and effective method of preparing asparagus.
► Canned – Asparagus can also be prepared by canning. This method is not as effective as the above method. This is because canned asparagus loses some part of its vitamin and fiber content, and thus, reducing its nutritional values to the body.