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The Amazing Health Benefits of Asparagus + 5 Great Recipes

The Amazing Health Benefits of Asparagus + 5 Great Recipes

Asparagus is one of the most delicious vegetables of the spring and it is easy to overlook the fact that it is such a nutritional powerhouse. But the benefits of asparagus are just as amazing as its taste, and include everything from more better skin to stronger bones.

Asparagus Promotes Beautiful Skin

A clear, glowing complexion is a necessary part of being truly beautiful….and asparagus can help. Why? It is rich in vitamin E, which is one of the nutrients your skin cells need to help reproduce and keep your skin looking fresh, firm and young-looking. Part of this is the antioxidant power of this vitamin which reduces oxidative stress and slows the aging process.

Asparagus Gives Your Strong and Healthy Bones

You probably know all about the fact that you need plenty of calcium and Vitamin D in your diet to build strong bones and prevent diseases like osteoporosis, which can increase your risk of fractures later on in life. But did you also know that generous amounts of vitamin K  are needed for bone health as well? And you can get it with foods like asparagus, which contains vitamin K in spades.

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Asparagus Improves Your Digestion

If sluggish digestion, heartburn or feeling overly full is a problem, consider adding more asparagus to your diet. Asparagus is an incredibly fiber-rich food and fiber is one of the best things for your g.i. tract, acting as a sort of scrubber to clean it out and keep it free of extra waste and improving the whole digestive process. It can also help reduce your chances of problems like constipation.

Asparagus Helps You Get Rid of Water Weight and Bloating

Excess water weight and feeling bloated or swollen is just no fun – but there are natural ways to help deal with this. Asparagus is one of them. It is a great source of an amino acid called asparagine, which acts as a natural diuretic to remove extra fluids and salts from the body. This makes it a great choice for people who suffer from chronic edema problems or certain heart conditions.

Asparagus Strengthens Your Immune System

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have to spare a week or two by nursing yourself out of a cold or the flu. A diet which includes vitamin C can prevent this from happening because it strengthens your immune system and makes it easier to fight off bacteria and viruses – and asparagus is powerhouse for this important nutrient.

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Asparagus Boosts Your Brain

Most people worry at least a little bit about cognitive decline as they age – the slow loss of memory, reasoning and other skills that can eventually lead to a loss of independence if they get bad enough. However, a diet which includes asparagus can help keep the brain active and agile: it is a good source of folate which, along with B-12, keeps the neurons of the brain healthy. Studies have shown that older adults with healthy levels of these nutrients performed better on tests that called for mental agility and flexibility.

Asparagus Helps Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control

Anyone with diabetes knows how hard it can be to keep the blood sugars balanced and under control. Diet makes a big difference – and asparagus is a great dietary choice to make. This vegetable gives you plenty of chromium, a trace mineral that is needed in small amounts in order for insulin to more efficiently transport sugar from your blood and into your cells where it is needed for energy. Several studies have linked chromium to better blood sugar control.

Asparagus is Easy to Add to Your Diet

Want some great new ways to try asparagus? Here are five simple, diverse recipes that show it at its best.

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1. Asparagus Soup

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    2. Grilled Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes

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      3. Asparagus and Shrimp

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        4. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

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          5. Asparagus Stir-Fry

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            These recipes are all widely different, but each one showcases the amazing flavor of this vegetable and each is simple and easy to put together so that you can start benefiting from its unique blend of vitamins, minerals and fiber that can start improve your health today.

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            Brian Wu

            Health Writer, Author

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            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

            1. Nuts

            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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            2. Blueberries

            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

            3. Tomatoes

            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

            4. Broccoli

            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

            6. Soy

            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

            7. Dark chocolate

            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

            15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

            10. Gingko biloba

            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

            11. Green and black tea

            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

            Find out more about green tea here:

            11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

            12. Sage and Rosemary

            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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