The calories in asparagus are very low and the nutrition is very high. These facts, along with its delicious taste, make asparagus one of the most popular spring vegetables. Fresh asparagus is usually available in California in February but for most people, it grows during the later spring months of April and May.
Asparagus is a perennial, which means it comes back on its own every year. The asparagus spears we eat come up through the soil. However, the plant from which they grow is an underground crown. A newly planted asparagus plant will not grow spears the first three years after planting. But when it does start to produce, it will do so for over twenty years.
Strangely enough, asparagus is a member of the same family as lilies. Only around twenty kinds are edible though there are close to three hundred types of asparagus overall. Asparagus is full of vitamins and minerals and provides nutrients for every stage of life from childhood to adulthood.
Asparagus has been around since the ancient Roman Empire. Historically, it has been considered a delicacy but today asparagus is widely available and can become part of any healthy diet. The calories in asparagus are very low, with one cup having only 27 calories. One cup is equal to around four spears.
If you are dieting and calorie consumption is important to you, you can’t find many foods with fewer calories and certainly none better for you than asparagus. The calories in asparagus are packed with nutrient after nutrient.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
One cup of asparagus has 263 mcg of folate, which is two-thirds of the recommended daily intake. Folate is necessary during pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Folate is also required if you want to have a healthy heart.
Folate converts homocysteine into cysteine. In more understandable terms, homocysteine is the chemical that closes up blood vessels by causing atherosclerosis. Scientists have determined that anyone who consumes 400 mcg per day of asparagus could cut their chance of having a heart attack by ten percent.
Not only are the calories in asparagus few in number, but it also contains zero fat, only 19 mg of sodium in a serving, and it has a whopping 288 mg per serving of potassium. Potassium is also good for heart health. In addition, asparagus contains inulin, which increases the growth of friendly bacteria.
Asparagus is very high in the anti-inflammatory department and can help people who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis, and asthma. It has a good amount of vitamin C, which can help maintain the body’s collagen level, which holds cell tissue together. Vitamin C also helps to support the body’s immune system which fights against infections and diseases.
Asparagus can be beneficial in diabetics because it helps stabilize blood sugar levels. It can aid in the healing of blood vessels. Asparagus is also a potent antioxidant and antioxidants have been proven in research to help prevent certain cancers, heart disease, and such eye problems as cataracts and macular degeneration. If you become constipated a lot, eating asparagus can even have a laxative effect.
If you love asparagus, you can use it to your advantage by gaining so many benefits from only one serving. Eat it often, especially when asparagus is in season. The calories in asparagus are very low and its health benefits are great. If you haven’t ever tried asparagus, now is a good time to see if you like it.
You should add asparagus to the list of nutritious foods in your diet plan. And, if you are a gardener, there is no better time than now to see if asparagus might grow well in your climate and location.