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by author, natural beauty expert & cancer survivor Britta AragonRSS



Asparagus: Cancer Cure, or a Stalk of Green Hype?

By Britta Aragon on April 26, 2009 | 31 Comments

You may have seen the e-mail circulating around: “Asparagus cures cancer!” True, or just another one of those empty e-mail promises?

As is typically the case with such rumors, there’s a little bit of truth with a lot of hype mixed in. Obviously, if there were sufficient evidence to support the idea that asparagus cured cancer, a lot more people would be drinking a green puree with dinner. And a lot fewer people would be suffering from the disease.

If we’re looking strictly at the cancer-fighting potential of the vegetable, however, asparagus is definitely a star. It’s packed with nutrients like folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin and vitamin B6. It’s low in calories, sodium and cholesterol. And—here’s the biggie—according to the National Cancer Institute, it’s the highest-tested food containing glutathione, one of the body’s most potent cancer fighters. (It helps repair damaged DNA, and ushers toxins out of the body.) Tests indicated that asparagus from Washington contain 70mg/100g of glutathione, more than twice the amount in any other common food. Additionally, asparagus is high in rutin, which strengthens blood vessels, and according to Food Paper author Rachel Levin, it also maintains digestive health with naturally occurring fiber and inulin.

So if you’re looking to help prevent cancer, sustain remission, or support your body during treatment, getting regular servings of asparagus is a great idea. However, don’t go overboard, particularly if you’re undergoing treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, high doses of folic acid can interfere with cancer treatments. Since asparagus contains a good amount of folic acid, keep servings to a max of two a day.

As to the rumored “cure,” consider it speculation. It was apparently started in an article entitled, “Asparagus for cancer” which, according to the circulated e-mail, was printed in the Cancer News Journal, December 1979. (We weren’t able to obtain a copy to confirm.) The article is supposed to have reported on the experiences of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S., who recorded several cases where an asparagus regimen preceded remission. However, other reasons for the remissions were not examined, and currently, there are no clinical studies proving that asparagus cures cancer.

There are, however, studies that link asparagus with potent cancer-fighting abilities. One in 2008 examined the anti-tumor activity of “saponins” taken from the vegetable. According to the Ontario Asparagus Growers’ Marketing Board, preliminary laboratory and animal studies have also shown glutathione to have some cancer-inhibiting properties.

Find some tasty recipes from author Melissa Breyer at Care2.com.

Have you seen a copy of the original article about Dr. Vensal’s findings? Do you have any recommendations on how to prepare delicious asparagus? Let us know!

Photo courtesy of sonicwalker via Flickr.com.

Posted in: Nutrition


31 Comments to “Asparagus: Cancer Cure, or a Stalk of Green Hype?”

  1. Cancer Cure says:

    Many studies show that fruits and vegetables prevent and fight cancer. A diet of fruits and vegetables is almost like a cure for cancer. Many individual fruits and vegetables are now being tested for their ability to fight or cure cancer.

    This is being done by John Hopkins School of Medicine’s Brassica Foundation. They have already bred and patented broccoli sprouts that are extra high in cancer fighting sulforophane.

  2. Pett says:

    Thanks for article. Everytime like to read you.
    Thank you

  3. Wendy says:

    I myself am in treatment for breast cancer. I had 2 surgeries to remove the cancer and 3 extractions of invection. The last one of those calling for my breast to be opened up a third time. I’m now just starting 7 weeks of radiation therapy. Monday thru Friday every week for 7 weeks. I don’t know if the Asparagus works for everyone or not but I feel it’s a safe and possitive step in the right direction. Thank you for the info.

  4. Anne Toombs says:

    I find that the need for chemo. would be less if the powers that be would pay more attention to information such as this, but of course the price of one chemo. is this country is $5,000, and in Germany $500.
    Vegetables like asparagus are significantly less expensive.
    Da!!!

  5. Barbara says:

    All foods grown have health benefits. Each catagory of foods cover different needs for the body, so I know that green vegetables are definately powerful for many areas. That’s why we are what we eat. I’ve learned that sugar feeds cancer so we need to inform others of this as well.

  6. Ike says:

    My wife had lung cancer 3 years ago, upper part of her rh lung was removed. Year and 7 mos after, she was diagnose of 4th stage leukemia and was given 6 mos max to live. The recomended dosage of chemo pills makes her very sick and incapacitated so we tried asparagus and Zeolite. With out the knowledge of her doctor, (she is taking 100mg pills every second day (still causes her cramps) instead of 400mg pills a day! ) One year to date now she is still alive, her blood test are remarkable, almost to normal.

  7. kathy vinet says:

    please let me know if you can eat asparagus any other way than puree

  8. Britta says:

    I will have to follow up on this study. Thank you for sharing the resource. It is important for everyone to understand the benefit of a healthy diet and its aid in fighting and preventing disease.

  9. Britta says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. Nutrition is extremely important as you care for yourself during treatment. Please feel free to read about the other posts I did on remedies during treatment. Sending love and light your way, Britta

  10. Britta says:

    Funny but true Anne! We are especially at a disadvantage here in the US when it comes to our food and our health. That’s why it is so important for us to take care of ourselves inside and out. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. – Britta

  11. Britta says:

    I’m glad to hear that your wife is fighting this disease and incorporating nutritional aspects to help. Thank you for sharing this with us. Sending love and light to you and your wife, Britta

  12. Britta says:

    Hi Kathy, there are several different ways to cook asparagus. Check out Care2.com or FoodNetwork.com for easy recipes. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Hope this helps – Britta

  13. Britta says:

    I agree Barbara and thank you for commenting. Our over-consumption of sugar can be detrimental to our health and as you said it is important for us to inform others and encourage them to make healthier decisions. Thanks again for helping to spread the word. Best- Britta

  14. Feran says:

    I believe that the drug companies do not want people know about important health news. More than 20 years ago I read in journal of medicine that the chemical used to make the plastic wrap soft causes cancer and that this chemical is released to our food up on contact. Later I read that if in Microwave the chemical is just dropped in to the dish it is covering even without contact. More than 20 years later 90% of our food in supermarkets are wrappe in plactic wrap. I have heard about this discovery several times through radio showes and interviews but does the government listen to this to ban the plastic wrap?

  15. Paul says:

    I beleive there are a lot of different opinions out there,some wanting to squash rumors about the fighting qualities of such foods as asparagus purely because they will take profits away from the drug companies who make HUGE profits for the small amount it costs to produce these drugs and then there is the other side of the story,those who sell the certain product and want to boast sales.What ever the reasons as far as I’m concerned,if you are looking at death from cancer you have noting to lose but to try such things.What have you got to lose!!!.Its like here in New Zealand (thats down south by Australia for those who dont know)a few years ago there was a guy here who produced a long life battery (it had 2 cells) that even if you left your lights on and it went flat there was a small part of it that would have enough power to restart your car,what happened to it,a large battery company brought the patent from him then shelfed it away….why because it would hughly cut there profits.To a lot of companies life is expendable and money come first,thats the sad reality.

  16. Britta says:

    Thanks for the comment Paul! You are absolutely right, what do we have to lose by improving our nutrition, increasing our exercise and reducing our exposure to toxins? Unfortunately, medicine is a big business and personal agendas can get in the way but we must spread the word and increase our awareness. – Britta

  17. John says:

    Many years ago I read an article saying that the almond in apricots seed contains a cancer fighting element, same as in other fruit seeds and vegies?? The bible tells us: eat the fruits AND ITS SEED!!
    Doesn’t hurt to try.

  18. Britta says:

    Thanks for commenting John and sharing some of this enlightenment! – Britta

  19. Kapil says:

    Hi Its good insight about asparngus, my father is diagnosed with Cancer and Chemo is not working. Is any one heard of Budwig theory also, which is based on flaxseed oil with cottage cheese. Can mail me at kapmen2405@yahoo.com

  20. Britta says:

    Hi Kapil, thanks so much for commenting. I totally feel for your father and my thoughts and prayers go out to him. I will look into the Budwig theory for further information and do some research. Meanwhile, maybe go to a naturopath or a nutritionist that has had some experience working with cancer patients? For now, the best diet someone going through cancer can do is one full of vegetable, fruits, fish and whole grains (sugar and dairy as well as red meat are not recommended) Here are a couple of posts I have done http://blog.cincovidas.com/20-ways-to-fight-cancer%E2%80%94whether-or-not-you-have-it and http://blog.cincovidas.com/you%E2%80%99ve-heard-about-foods-that-prevent-cancer%E2%80%94-what-about-foods-that-help-fight-it Let me know your thoughts! Best – Britta

  21. Sure, asparagus is packed with nutrients despite it’s nasty taste :-)

    But lets also address the much bigger issue! How is it that most of the population seems to walk around completely oblivious to the situation?

    The highly processed and refined foods that we eat are causing the cancers that are spiralling out of control. Who is benefiting? Big Pharma.

    What are the politicians doing? Nothing. What are we the public doing? Again, nothing.

    Let’s stop focusing on the symptoms, and eradicate the cause!

    Rick.

  22. Britta says:

    Amen to that Rick! We have to hold ourselves accountable in order to create change and protect our health. Prevention starts with us first and spreading the word and information to our family and friends. Thank you Rick for sharing and continuing to live the movement. – Britta

  23. Gail says:

    I agree with Rick. However, a lot of our gov’t and the pharmaceutical industry IS the cause, along with the AMA and FDA suppressing and blocking any natural healing supplements and natural foods that state they can “cure” dis-ease. Hence we have to put a disclaimer on everything.

    We have to advocate for our own health at all times, because the above mentioned corporations certainly won’t and neither do the insurance companies.

    Educating people to the dangers of fast/processed foods is key.

    So if eradicating the cause means people saying they are sick and tired of being sick and tired and not going to take it anymore, then so be it! Take the red pill sheeple!

    Gail

  24. Carel Greyling says:

    It is a real pity that the potential healing ability of the correct and NSF certified natural products are overlooked and actually rejected by a pharmaceutically dominated world. The world should take cognizance of the fact that millions of people world wide are annually dying from (and not necessasirily healed by)chemical substances in prescribed drugs while the potential of natural products with the correct glyconutrient content which contributes to the body’s ability to heal itself is not recognized. More intensive research should target the power of nature with its wonderful potential to help the human body heal itself with unpolluted remedies.

  25. Nancy Robertson says:

    I have a cancer treatment file as well as files in natural treatments for hypertention,diabetes, Alzheimer’s, skin disorders and cancers,thyroid disorders, and…you get the picture.
    For years I have been adding to my files, because I think it is incumbent upon us to take responsibility for our own health. Chemical drugs treat symptoms; they do not cure. So many supplements, vitamins, and foods can and do cure what ails us. I would never depend on a medical doctor to cure me. Nor do the medical doctors seem to be able to diagnose health problems without doing costly medical tests. We need to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us and do our research. Be your own first or second opinion. Do your self a huge favor and remember…no one or any drug company has a vested interest in your health. Not like you do.

  26. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Nancy. You sound extremely organized! I agree that we should be much more conscious of what we eat when considering our health. Prevention is the best option. And you’re right—medical tests are becoming more expensive, and recent studies indicate that a lot of them aren’t living up to their promises. Thanks for the great thoughts.

  27. […] Asparagus is another good idea to add to your menu if you want to prevent or fight cancer. Lots of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and other potent ingredients there. Especially glutathione, which helps to repair the DNA in cells damaged by cancer. […]

  28. […] Asparagus is another good idea to add to your menu if you want to prevent or fight cancer. Lots of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and other potent ingredients there. Especially glutathione, which helps to repair the DNA in cells damaged by cancer. […]

  29. Nicky says:

    There has been a cure for cancer since 1975….google rick simpson or run from the cure….the goverment shut this guy up because they want to keep us sick because thats where the money is.

  30. John Champeau says:

    Can I just add the asparagus puree to my AM and PM smoothies?

  31. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, John. I would think so. My understanding is that the puree is still very high in nutrients, so I would think that would be a good option. Thanks for suggesting it.


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