Health benefits of Asparagus

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Anyone that has ever eaten asparagus knows that shortly after you eat your pee will smell.  This is thought to be caused by a compound called asparagusic acid.  The scent is caused by this compound breaking down.  

Asparagus has several health benefits for: 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Function

 Type 2 Diabetes

Asparagus assists in insulin secretion and beta cell function.  In addition, it is high in anti-oxidants which fight the oxidative stress that can be a contributing factor in type2 diabetes.   

Most people have heard of insulin but Beta cells may be new to some readers.  Beta cells are the cells in the pancreas that create and store insulin.   

 Cancer

 Not that long ago I received an email touting the benefits of asparagus in cancer treatment.  Since I don’t pay much attention to those type emails from random people I pretty much ignored the idea.  In looking into the health benefits of asparagus today however, it appears that asparagus does have a role to play in cancer treatment. 

The benefit of asparagus in cancer treatment must start with its anti-oxidant properties.   Anti-oxidants help kill off cells damaged by free radicals.  Free radicals are the product of the bodies use of oxygen and are a main cause of cellular damage leading to illness and aging.  For an interesting and easy explanation on free radicals and anti-oxidants see the online document by Rice University.

The American Institute for Cancer Research does not support the info in the spurious email I received that a dose of asparagus a day can cure cancer.  It does however say that asparagus is a “valuable” addition to a cancer preventative diet. 

The forms of cancer that asparagus is thought to be useful in preventing are 

  • colon
  • pancreas
  • esophagus

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 Heart Disease

The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Asparagus are excellent for heart health.  They prevent oxidative damage and inflammation which are 2 causes of disease. 

Asparagus contains vitamin K which is excellent for regulating blood clotting.  In addition, the high fibre content helps decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

Asparagus works to assist in controlling blood pressure due to its abilities as a diuretic removing excess fluid and salt from the body.

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 Kidney Function

Asparagus is a diuretic which means it increases the flow of urine.  Asparagus is also beneficial to the kidneys because it:

  • Detoxes the urinary system removing bacteria
  • Prevents the creation of kidney stones
  • Increases cellular action in the kidneys

 Asparagus is high in potassium and phosphorus so if you have kidney problems you should consult your doctor to make sure that your potassium and phosphorous levels are within the normal range.

 Asparagus is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that can be prepared in many ways from steaming to roasting and grilling.  Enjoy some today.

 

THIS BLOG IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR.

 

Reference:

 

http://www.livescience.com/45295-asparagus-health.html

 

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminK/index.html#summary

 

  

 http://www.kidney-treatment.org/ckd-diet/511.htm