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The Health Benefits Of Asparagus (Shatavari)

Updated on July 20, 2017
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Source

English name:

  • Asparagus

Latin names:

  • Asparagus officinalis (native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa).
  • 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 color.

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Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the species whose roots are used in Ayurvedawhite asparagus
Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the species whose roots are used in Ayurveda
Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the species whose roots are used in Ayurveda | Source
white asparagus
white asparagus | Source

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 a 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 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 has 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 Bifidibacteria 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 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 show that asparagus, as a high-fiber vegetable, aids in digestion and helps boost the body's immune system. The unique carbohydrate inulin, and the dietary fiber (which is a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber), relieves constipation, dyspepsia, ulcers, diarrhea, 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 fiber also pitching in. This especially reduces 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 Medicin

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
  • Galactogogue (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 environment factors easily)

Asparagus and Urine Odor

Many people report a strong odor 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 odor.

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


© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 7 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

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

    • profile image

      Viknesh 8 months ago

      Please tell the infromations in some other languages

    • profile image

      gb_adv57@yahoo.co.in 21 months ago

      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 jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

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

      @ Elias - Thanks for stopping by.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

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

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      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 jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ 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.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      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 profile image

      JCielo 4 years ago from England

      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 jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ 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 profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      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.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      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.

    • geetbhim profile image

      sangeeta verma 4 years ago from Ludhiana India

      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 profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      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 profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

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

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ 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.

    • LauraVerderber profile image

      Power Ball Pythons 4 years ago from Mobile, AL

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

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

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

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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 profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      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.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      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

    • smnj profile image

      Swapna 4 years ago from India

      Excellent article, enjoyed reading it.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      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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