Asparagus Benefits Blood Pressure, Inflammation, and Stress
The tree-like vegetable called asparagus is delicious and nutritious! Asparagus benefits a healthy body and diet in numerous ways, including bones, heart, and blood pressure to name a few. It is usually best when bought fresh at a local farmer’s market, and can be eaten in its raw form or steamed to bring out its finest flavors.
Asparagus presents the perfect combination of both crunch and taste. It offers a plethora of B-vitamins that work to provide your brain and heart specifically with energy and protection. Asparagus benefits the diet too by offering five vegetarian grams of protein, as well as fiber, vitamin C, iron, and manganese.
Beneficial Aspects of Asparagus
Strengthens and supports bones: Vitamin K – found in asparagus – benefits the body by functioning in the renewal of tissues, growth of cells, and mineralization of bones. Vitamin K also plays an important role in blood clotting and prevents excessive bleeding. Emerging research shows that vitamin K also teams with vitamin D to promote healthy bones.
Provides prebiotics and fiber: Asparagus benefits the gut with its high concentration of inulin. This fiber – found in plants – actually bypasses the acid in the stomach and lands in the intestines. There it provides the microbiome in the gut with a tasty meal, where it becomes fermented. For this reason, inulin induces healthy activity among the microorganisms in the gut and the body. Since inulin is a fiber, it promotes healthy bowel movements. Inulin also plays a role in the health of bones and weight, as well as in the regulation of blood sugar.
Improves secretion of insulin: A study in 2012 found that asparagus extract actually functioned like an anti-diabetic medicine; it improved the secretion of insulin and b-cell function.
Cancer prevention and treatment potential: Asparagus has been found to suppress liver growth tumors in rats and actually prolonged life in a recent study. Other research has found antiproliferative function – which delays or stops the growth of cells – in other cancers as well, such as lung cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, and leukemia.
Other Key Ingredients for Asparagus Benefits
Potassium: Asparagus benefits both the circulatory and nervous systems by providing potassium, a vitamin used by the body in the management of electrical impulses and water distribution. Potassium helps those with hypertension, as it functions in regulating blood pressure.
Antioxidants: Asparagus boasts antioxidants, more specifically flavonoids and phenolics. These antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals in the body that cause cancer formation and damage to DNA. These antioxidants can also protect the heart by preventing cholesterol formation and damage to the arteries.
Vitamin A: Asparagus benefits the skin by providing vitamin A. By consuming six asparagus spears, one can receive about one-fourth of their recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A can help provide healthy skin by protecting the skin and preventing sun damage. It also prevents acne by controlling the inflammation response to a microbe called Propionibacterium acnes.
Our body thrives on good nutrition – such as asparagus – and benefits from its ability to fight stress. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system is comprised of multiple organs and systems that work together to ensure homeostasis in times of stress. The NEM is split into two functional and symbiotic sections, called the neuroendocrine and metabolic systems.
The regulatory organs that primarily make up the metabolic response include the liver, pancreas, and thyroid. The thyroid functions in regulating the speed of metabolism. The pancreas creates insulin, maintains glucose levels, and ensures our bodies get enough fuel– especially when stress levels are high. The liver works in filtering and cleaning all the blood. It also detoxifies the body and assists in producing blood clotting proteins.
When the NEM system is disrupted, as in the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue, this metabolic system is unable to function as it was designed due to undue stress. Some early symptoms can be central obesity, cravings of sugar, and dyslipidemia. The metabolic system becomes unstable in later stages of adrenal fatigue and NEM disruption, marked by low blood sugar, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.
In these later stages of NEM interference and adrenal fatigue by way of the cardionomic response, excessive stress can cause things such as heart palpitations and high blood pressure. The potassium provided by asparagus in the diet functions to mitigate high blood pressure.
Cortisol is the chief hormone in the body that assists the NEM system in fighting stress. Cortisol shields the body from excessive adrenal fatigue by normalizing levels of blood sugar. It works alongside insulin – produced by the pancreas – to ensure enough glucose is provided for necessary organs. When stress levels are high, more glucose is needed in the body. Cortisol makes this happen. High levels of cortisol are released in early stages of adrenal fatigue.
As adrenal glands become exhausted in later stages, however, output drops off. As aforementioned, asparagus helps regulate blood sugar levels and supports pancreatic function. Since cortisol levels deplete while in adrenal exhaustion, this benefit is especially important to those who suffer from adrenal fatigue.
Inflammation is another common sign of damage to the body from excessive stress, and can lead to recurrent infections and an increase in autoimmune conditions, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Chronic inflammation leads to increased oxidative damage and overload to our metabolic system, causing toxic build-up in the body.
Cortisol functions as an anti-inflammatory agent and prevents adrenal fatigue in early stages. Since cortisol output decreases while in adrenal exhaustion, inflammation can run rampant in the body. The antioxidants provided by the consumption of asparagus rid the body of free radicals that give way to these chronic conditions and prevents damage to cells, tissues, and organs.
Asparagus can benefit people who suffer from adrenal fatigue because it helps offset some of the damage that excessive stress causes to the body. Asparagus promotes general health by providing the body with essential vitamins and nutrients that assist the heart, gut, pancreas, and more in functioning properly. Not only is asparagus delicious, but it is very nutritious!
Hafizur, R. M., Kabir, N., & Chishti, S. (2012). Asparagus officinalis extract controls blood glucose by improving insulin secretion and β-cell function in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic rats. British Journal of Nutrition Br J Nutr, 108(09), 1586-1595. doi:10.1017/s0007114511007148
Huang, X., Lin, Y., & Kong, L. (2008). Steroids from the Roots of Asparagus officinalis and Their Cytotoxic Activity. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 50(6), 717-722. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00651.x
Zhou, Y., Li, Y., Zhou, T., Zheng, J., Li, S., & Li, H. (2016). Dietary Natural Products for Prevention and Treatment of Liver Cancer. Nutrients, 8(3), 156. doi:10.3390/nu8030156
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