Table of Contents Hide
- Asparagus Nutritional Profile
- How Many Nutrients in This Food
- How To Serve Nutritious This Food
- Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
- How To Buying This Food
- How To Storing This Food
- How To Preparing This Food
- What Happens When You Cook This Food
- How Other Kinds of Processing Affect This Food
- Medical Uses and/or Benefits
- Adverse Effects Associated with This Food
- Food/Drug Interactions
Asparagus Nutritional Profile
• Energy value (calories per serving): Low
• Protein: High
• Fat: Low
• Saturated fat: Low
• Cholesterol: None
• Carbohydrates: Moderate
• Fiber: Moderate
• Sodium: Low
• Major vitamin contribution: Vitamin A, folate, vitamin C
• Major mineral contribution: Potassium, iron
How Many Nutrients in This Food
• Asparagus has some dietary fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It is an excellent source of the B vitamin folate.
• A serving of four cooked asparagus spears (½ inch wide at the base) has 1.2 g dietary fiber, 604 IU vitamin A (26 percent of the RDA for a woman, 20 percent of the RDA for a man), 4.5 mg vitamin C (6 percent of
the RDA for a woman, 5 percent of the RDA for a man), and 89 mcg folate (22 percent of the RDA).
How To Serve Nutritious This Food
Fresh, boiled and drained. Canned asparagus may have less than half the nutrients found in freshly cooked spears.
Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
• Low-sodium diet (canned asparagus)
How To Buying This Food
Bright green stalks. The tips should be purplish and tightly closed; the stalks should be firm. Asparagus is in season from March through August.
Wilted stalks and asparagus whose buds have opened.
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How To Storing This Food
Store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator.
• To keep it as crisp as possible, wrap it in a damp paper towel and then put the whole package into a plastic bag.
• Keeping asparagus cool helps it hold onto its vitamins. At 32°F, asparagus will retain all its folic acid for at least two weeks and nearly 80 percent of its vitamin C for up to five days; at room temperature, it would lose up to 75 percent of its folic acid in three days and 50 percent of the vitamin C in 24 hours.
How To Preparing This Food
• The white part of the fresh green asparagus stalk is woody and tasteless, so you can bend the stalk and snap it right at the line where the green begins to turn white.
• If the skin is very thick, peel it, but save the parings for soup stock.
What Happens When You Cook This Food
• Chlorophyll, the pigment that makes green vegetables green, is sensitive to acids. When you heat asparagus, its chlorophyll will react chemically with acids in the asparagus or in the cooking water to form pheophytin, which is brown. As a result, cooked asparagus is olive-drab.
• You can prevent this chemical reaction by cooking the asparagus so quickly that there is no time for the chlorophyll to react with acids, or by cooking it in lots of water (which will dilute the acids), or by leaving the lid off the pot so that the volatile acids can float off into the air.
• Cooking also changes the texture of asparagus: water escapes from its cells and they collapse. Adding salt to the cooking liquid slows the loss of moisture.
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How Other Kinds of Processing Affect This Food
The intense heat of canning makes asparagus soft, robs it of its bright green color, and reduces the vitamin A, B, and C content by at least half. (White asparagus, which is bleached to remove the green color, contains about 5 percent of the vitamin A in fresh asparagus.)
• With its liquid, canned asparagus, green or white, contains about 90 times the sodium in fresh asparagus (348 mg in 3.5 oz. canned against 4 mg in 3.5 oz. fresh boiled asparagus).
Medical Uses and/or Benefits
Lower risk of some birth defects.
As many as two of every 1,000 babies born in the United States each year may have cleft palate or a neural tube (spinal cord) defect due to their mothers’ not having gotten adequate amounts of folate during pregnancy.
• The RDA for folate is 400 mcg for healthy adult men and women, 600 mcg for pregnant women, and 500 mcg for women who are nursing.
• Taking folate supplements before becoming pregnant and through the first two months of pregnancy reduces the risk of cleft palate; taking folate through the entire pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects.
Lower risk of heart attack.
In the spring of 1998, an analysis of data from the records for more than 80,000 women enrolled in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard School of Public Health/Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, in Boston, demonstrated that a diet providing more than 400 mcg folate and 3 mg vitamin B6 daily, from either food or supplements, more than twice the current RDA for each, may reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack by almost 50 percent.
• Although men were not included in the analysis, the results are assumed to apply to them as well.
• However, data from a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2006 called this theory into question.
• Researchers at Tulane University examined the results of 12 controlled studies in which 16,958 patients with preexisting cardiovascular disease were given either folic acid supplements or placebos (“look-alike” pills with no folic acid) for at least six months.
• The scientists, who found no reduction in the risk of further heart disease or overall death rates among those taking folic acid, concluded that further studies will be required to verify whether taking folic acid supplements reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Womem hormones balance
Shatavari is the most important herb for women in Ayurveda. It is mainly used to correct hormone imbalance in women and to maintain female reproductive health. It is used during periods to improve blood circulation, keep the nervous system healthy, and improve hormonal function. It is also known as a reproductive tonic. This herb relieves symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, irregular memory and dryness during menopause. How is the consumption of this herb beneficial for women and how it can be used.
Relief from kidney problems
Kidney stones are caused by the accumulation of hard materials in the kidneys. When they pass through your urinary tract, they can cause excruciating pain. Most kidney stones are made of oxalate. Oxalates are compounds found in certain foods such as spinach, beets and french fries. A 2005 study found that asparagus root extract helped prevent the build-up of oxalate stones in the body.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect cells from free radical damage. They also fight oxidative stress, which causes disease. Asparagus contains saponins. These saponins compounds have antioxidant abilities.
Adverse Effects Associated with This Food
After eating asparagus, we all excrete the sulfur compound methyl mercaptan, a smelly waste product, in our urine.
Asparagus is high in vitamin K, a vitamin manufactured naturally by bacteria in our intestines, an adequate supply of which enables blood to clot normally.
• Eating foods that contain this vitamin may interfere with the effectiveness of anticoagulants such
as heparin and warfarin (Coumadin, Dicumarol, Panwarfin) whose job is to thin the blood and dissolve clots
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