Research shows that green asparagus act as ACE-inhibitors and can lower blood pressure.
Green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is known to be rich in functional components. In a study published in the US Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, naturally hypertensive rats were checked to see if green asparagus prevents hypertension by inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity.
Six-week-old males were fed a diet with 5 percent of asparagus for 10 weeks had significantly lower systolic blood pressure, urinary protein excretion/creatinine excretion, and ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) activity in the kidneys compared with the group who did not receive the vegetable. The test group also had significantly higher creatinine clearance — the rate at which blood plasma is cleared of creatinine and is an indicator of overall kidney health. The researchers say that their findings suggest “that asparagus has an overall effect of benefitting the kidneys and lowering blood pressure for cases of hypertension.”
In addition, by boiling water extract of asparagus, they found ACE inhibitory activity. After purifying and isolating the inhibitor, it was identified as 2-hydroxynicotianamine. ACE increases blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict. For this reason, drugs known as ACE-inhibitors are used in medications to dilate blood vessels and thus lower blood pressure.
The researchers concluded that the 2-hydroxynicotianamine in asparagus “may be one of the factors inhibiting ACE activity in the kidney, thus preventing hypertension and preserving renal function.”
Here’s an easy recipe from TarlaDalal.com for healthy asparagus soup that takes 10 minutes to prepare:
- 2 1/2 cups chopped asparagus
- 2 tsp. low fat butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup peeled and chopped potatoes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper powder to taste
- 1 cup low fat milk (99.7% fat-free)
1. Sauté the asparagus spears in 1 tsp. butter for 30 seconds and keep aside for garnish.
2. Heat the remaining butter in a deep non-stick pan, add the onions and potatoes and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add 2 cups of water, mix well and simmer till the potatoes are nearly cooked.
4. Add the asparagus, mix well and cook for a few more minutes. Cool completely.
5. Blend the mixture in a mixer to a smooth puree and strain it using a sieve.
6. Transfer the puree back to the pan, add the salt, pepper and milk and bring to boil.
7. Serve hot garnished with the sautéed asparagus spears.
8. Decorate with 8 asparagus spears.