A dozen international newspapers recently put asparagus in the spotlight by announcing that it could spread breast cancer cells aggressively. Read on to find out if this startling discovery should affect your attitude towards an otherwise healthy vegetable that finds its way into most salads.
Asparagus, a favorite vegetable known for its high nutritional value, has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons lately. A study published in a renowned journal claimed that asparagine, a substance found in asparagus, has the potential to trigger metastasis in breast cancer patients. This revelation sent most asparagus-lovers in a tizzy as prominent newspapers like The Times and The Guardian splashed health warnings in bold letters. So, does this latest development mean that you should turn your back on the stacks of fresh asparagus at the grocery store? The answer to this question is a loud, resounding – ‘No’! Here are some of the reasons behind it:
- Asparagine, the main culprit behind the promotion of cancerous cells, is an amino acid that is produced by the body with or without asparagus intake. This finding implies that even if you eliminate asparagus from your diet, your body will continue to generate it using the enzyme asparagine synthetase. Therefore, there is no reason why you should deprive your body of the other nutritional benefits that asparagus has to offer, including an abundant supply of folic acid, potassium, iron, and vitamins A and C.
- Asparagus is not the only source of asparagine in your diet. Other healthy food items like legumes, eggs, fish, potatoes, nuts, and whole grains also contain this amino acid. Staying away from all these foods is a dietary disaster as they possess many other essential nutrients that your body needs to function healthily. Similarly, casting off asparagus is not a preferable solution either, as it means robbing your body of the chance of benefitting from the other nutritious elements that these bottle green shoots hold.
- The study that gave rise to the storm that has engulfed asparagus, had mice as its test subjects. It is a well-accepted fact in the medical research community that animal-based investigations, and the results they yield, may not necessarily mimic human case studies. So, before you decide to give asparagus a miss, wait for further clinical trials to prove the link between asparagine and cancer metastasis in human beings.