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The Health Benefits of Asparagus (Shatavari)

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

English name: Asparagus

Latin names: Asparagus officinalis (native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa) and Asparagus racemosus (native to India, the Himalayas, and Sri Lanka).

Hindi name: Shatavari, which means "one possessing 100 husbands."

Sanskrit name: Shatmuli, meaning "a plant with 100 roots." It is also called the Queen of Herbs in Ayurvedic medicine.

Asparagus racemosus (or Shatavari) has finger-shaped roots and is used extensively in ayurvedic medicine. Asparagus officinalis is cultivated for its edible shoots.

White asparagus is cultivated by covering the shoots with the soil after they have sprouted. This prevents photosynthesis, resulting in the white colour.

Nutrition Facts

  • Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable with just 20 calories per 100 grams. It has almost no fat and is free of cholesterol. The low-calorie content makes it a negative calorie vegetable; you burn more calories digesting it than you gained from consuming it.
  • Asparagus contains the carbohydrate inulin which has major health benefits.
  • It is a rich source of folates (13% DV in 100 grams), a vital nutrient for a growing baby.
  • It contains all the important B-complex vitamins, including niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamine. These are needed for many metabolic and enzymatic processes.
  • Asparagus has rich levels of the antioxidant Vitamin A (25% RDA/100 grams) and moderate levels of vitamins C & E.
  • Vitamin K is found in very good quantities (35% RDA/100 grams). This nutrient is especially helpful in ensuring brain and bone health and ensuring normal blood clotting.
  • Various minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc are found in fair amounts, while copper and iron are in good amounts.
  • Asparagus contains about 4% potassium and almost no sodium, which makes it good for those with hypertension.
 Asparagus (A. officinalis), raw, 

Nutrition value per 100 grams/ORAC value 2150

Nutrient

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Calories

20 Kcal

1%

Carbohydrates

3.38 g

2.50%

Protein

2.20 g

4%

Total Fat

0.12 g

0.50%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

2.1 g

5.50%

Vitamins

 

 

Folates

52 mcg

13%

Niacin

0.978 mg

6%

Pantothenic acid

0.274 mg

5%

Pyridoxine

0.091 mg

7%

Riboflavin

0.141 mg

11%

Thiamin

0.143 mg

12%

Vitamin C

5.6 mg

9%

Vitamin A

756 IU

25%

Vitamin E

1.13 mg

7.50%

Vitamin K

41.6 mcg

35%

Electrolytes

 

 

Sodium

2 mg

<1%

Potassium

202 mg

4%

Minerals

 

 

Calcium

24 mg

2.50%

Copper

0.189 mg

21%

Iron

1.14 mg

14%

Magnesium

14 mg

1%

Manganese

0.158 mg

7%

Phosphorus

52 mg

7.50%

Selenium

2.3 mcg

4%

Zinc

0.54 mg

5%

Phyto-nutrients

 

 

Beta Carotene

449 mcg

 

Alpha Carotene

9 mcg

 

Lutein-zeaxanthin

710 mcg

 

Asparagus Is Highly Perishable!

Asparagus is more perishable than other vegetables and begins to lose its nutrients soon after it is picked. Use it the same day you pick or purchase it. You can keep it fresh by wrapping the ends in damp paper or cloth towels and storing in the refrigerator.

Health Benefits

These properties give asparagus a wide range of health benefits.

Cancer

The health benefits of asparagus have largely been attributed to the saponins in the roots. Asparagus officinalis has saponins in the shoots as well. Saponins have anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that the phytochemical, or antioxidant, properties in asparagus prevent cell damage that precedes cancer.

Asparagus contains a unique carbohydrate called inulin that does not get digested in the anterior part of the intestine but travels to the large intestine where it is broken down by the bacteria residing there (the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli). These bacteria use inulin as food to thrive and multiply, thereby lowering the risk of colon cancer and allergies, and increasing the absorption of nutrients.

Alzheimer's disease

Studies show that high levels of Vitamin E, as are present in asparagus, help prevent the brain changes that precede Alzheimer's disease.

Heart Disease

Its anti-inflammatory properties, and also its various B-complex vitamins (especially choline, biotin, and pantothenic acid) play a key role in regulating blood sugar levels and keeping amino acid homocysteine levels low. This reduces the risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps regulate blood fat and cholesterol levels.

Digestion

Research into the role of prebiotics in digestive health shows that asparagus, like a high-fibre vegetable, aids in digestion and helps boost the body's immune system. The unique carbohydrate inulin, and the dietary fibre (which is a combination of insoluble and soluble fibre), relieves constipation, dyspepsia, ulcers, diarrhoea, dysentery, and colic, and improves digestion by increasing the levels of the enzymes amylase and lipase, which digest carbohydrates and fat, respectively.

Blood Sugar

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also translate into the lowering of blood sugar levels, with the dietary fibre also pitching in. This especially reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Anxiety

Studies in China have shown that asparagus extract is beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, according to Harvard Medical School.

Health Benefits in Ayurvedic Medicine

The list of health benefits of asparagus is long and very impressive. It is used as a female reproductive tonic in Ayurveda, but its benefits go far beyond this.

According to Ayurveda, the root (the most used part of the plant) has the following properties/benefits:

  • Antiseptic
  • Antidiarrheal and antidystentric
  • Diuretic
  • Galactagogue (increases milk output in breastfeeding women)
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Demulcent (soothing pain and inflammations)
  • Nutritive (nourishing)
  • Refrigerant (cooling effect, pitta pacifying effect)
  • Tonic
  • Antitussive (relieves cough)
  • Antioxytocic (prevents stimulation of the uterus muscles)
  • Antioxidant
  • Immunomodulator
  • Adaptogen (metabolism regulator, helping the body to adapt to environmental factors easily)

Asparagus and Urine Odor

Many people report a strong odour in their urine after consuming asparagus, while many others have no such issues. No simple or single explanation has been forthcoming on this by researchers as there are 21 different substances that are believed to cause this odour.

Also, many people do not experience this smell, either due to the different ways, their bodies metabolize asparagus, or because they are not being able to perceive this odour. Not enough research has been done on the connection between asparagus consumption, urine odour, and its risk to health.

Therefore, it would be safe to assume that, in view of the above facts, to consume or not consume asparagus is a personal choice. Of course, by not consuming it, one is bound to miss out on its various health benefits.

Medicinal Value of Shatavari/Satavar/Shatamull (Asparagus Racemosus)

Precautions

Asparagus contains purines, so people who suffer from gout or kidney stones, or even those who are susceptible to purine-related problems, should avoid or limit their consumption of asparagus. An excess of purines can cause excess of uric acid in the body, and lead to health issues in such individuals.

Other References

http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/t_es/t_es_tiwar_shatavari_frameset.htm
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shatavari
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/asparagus.html
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/9-health-benefits-of-asparagus.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus
http://www.greenherbalremedies.com/blog/extra-special-shatavari/

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements, or starting a new health regimen.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 05, 2016:

You can search for recipes online. This article is about the health benefits of Asparagus.

Viknesh on November 03, 2016:

Please tell the infromations in some other languages

gb_adv57@yahoo.co.in on October 26, 2015:

Hi m following a diet plan which includes asparagus but I don't know of it's available in CHANDIGARH or not can u advice any local name for this shall be grateful... Gourave

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 28, 2013:

@ Paul - So glad you could relate to the info here. Appreciate the visit and sharing. Thank you.

@ Elias - Thanks for stopping by.

Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on February 28, 2013:

Great hub! Very informative! rated up & useful. thanks for sharing!

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on February 28, 2013:

rajan,

This is a very useful hub, and it is well-written and researched. I have always enjoyed eating asparagus, and remember my folks growing it on our farm in Wisconsin when I was a young boy. After eating asparagus, I, too, I have noticed a strong odor of my urine. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 24, 2013:

@ John - Thanks for stopping by to read. I appreciate the votes and sharing.

@ Margaret - I'm glad you got info from this hub that could use. Thanks for stopping by and for the votes and sharing.

@ Au fait - wild asparagus is healthier. I do wish you'd write the steamed asparagus recipe hub. It's a great idea. Thanks for stopping by.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 24, 2013:

I didn't know that asparagus is a diuretic, or that it irritates kidney stones or gout! Your hubs are always so packed full of information and I do love that you have recipes included too. The cold asparagus salad interests me. I love asparagus steamed and I guess I should write a hub with the recipe!

As a child asparagus grew wild along the country road where I lived. My mother also had a few hills of asparagus in her garden. Shortly after I married my husband and I found an even better source of wild asparagus along a different country road fairly close by. Then we planted about 30 hills of asparagus in our huge garden. We always had plenty of asparagus and it was one of my favorite vegetables.

Voted up and useful!

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on February 24, 2013:

Good tip on keeping the asparagus from getting hard - I'll try wrapping it up next time I store it. Another great hub - voted up, useful - and sharing.

JCielo from England on February 24, 2013:

Wonderful hub Rajan. When we lived in Spain, we were able to harvest wild asparagus that grew all around our house in the country. We loved it, especially in tortillas! Voted up, useful and shared.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 23, 2013:

@ wetnosedogs - thanks.

@moonlake - glad you like asparagus.

@ Sangeeta - thank you.

@ HO - thanks for your input and visit. You too have a great weekend.

@ Rasma - thanks for visiting.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 23, 2013:

Voted up and awesome. Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting hub. It is great to find out the benefits of one of my favorite veggies asparagus. Passing this on.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on February 22, 2013:

Hi, Rajan!

This is one food that I would rather eat raw or slightly steamed than from a store-bought can or bottle. Put another way, I like it better when it's crunchy, not squishy. Ha-ha! And, yes, I've made the mistake of eating too far up on the stem and discovered the hard way that I don't like eating wood. Have a wonderful weekend, Rajan. I always enjoy your most informative hubs about health and nutrition.

sangeeta verma from Ludhiana India on February 22, 2013:

Hi Rajan!

I have read a lot about asparagus but have not seen it, your hub is a complete guide about it. Thanks for writing such informative hub.

Geetbhim

moonlake from America on February 22, 2013:

I like asparagus just had some yesterday. My Mom and I use to pick it in the field next to our house. Voted up on your hub.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on February 22, 2013:

I do like asparagus. Now I really need to stock up on some. Thanks for this great hub.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 22, 2013:

@ Carol - that's a fine coincidence. Thanks for sharing and good to see you.

@ smnj - thanks for reading. Nice seeing you.

@ Devika - Glad you like the info. Thanks for visiting and nice to see you again.

@ Torrilyn - now that you know the benefits and have tasted it as well I hope you make it a part of your dirt. Appreciate your sparing time to read. Always a pleasure seeing you.

@ Bill - thanks for the thumbs up, my friend. Always good to see you and hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

@ Pinkchic - that's the healthiest way to have asparagus. Appreciate the visit. Nice to see you again.

@ Bill - glad to furnish this health information. Good to see you again.

@ Laura - Thanks for the compliments. Appreciate your visit and good to see you.

Power Ball Pythons from Mobile, AL on February 22, 2013:

Awesome article! Very complete. It makes me want to eat more asparagus!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on February 22, 2013:

Great hub Rajan. I love asparagus. I didn't know it was so good for you. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on February 22, 2013:

Neat hub! I love asparagus when it's steamed with a little olive oil on it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 22, 2013:

I don't know how you keep producing these quality hubs day after day. Excellent job with all the information anyone would need. I do eat this food but still, thank you for some great facts.

Have a great weekend my friend.

torrilynn on February 22, 2013:

rajan jolly, i've always like asparagus. my mother never liked it so i never tried it until they made it at work one day and i found it absolutely amazing and very tasty. i never knew that it would have health benefits such as the ones you have described in your article. thanks. voted up.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 22, 2013:

Very interesting soon Asparagus will be harvested in fields, I knew of some of the benefits , I learned more of the benefits fro you as usuall you have a way of informing me much more thanks

Swapna from India on February 22, 2013:

Excellent article, enjoyed reading it.

carol stanley from Arizona on February 22, 2013:

Funny you should write about this today. My husband brought home several pounds of both green and white asparagus..on sale!! So we will be eating it everyday for at least a week. As always informative and well done. Voting up and sharing.

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