By SUSAN CALLAHAN, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
As a devotee of probiotics, I am accustomed to bowel movements which are shall we call them "generous sized". The probiotic way of eating seeks to satisfay your gut with the foods that the 3 trillion bacteria in the gut prefer to eat. The bacteria in your gut include those that actually improve your body's functions and those that are harmful.
Leading scientists and doctors such as neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter of Naples, Florida and Dr. Raphael Kellman of New York, believe that many chronic diseases and conditions such as stubborn diet-resistant obesity, multiple scleorsis, and numerous allergies and intestinal disorders, actually could be helped or even in some cases "cured" if we could achieve a supportive gut bacterial environment.
And, to achieve a healthy gut bacterial environment, you got to give them what they want. One of the things that they love to eat are prebiotics such as asparagus, my favorite prebiotic in fact. Other prebiotics include onions, leeks, garlic and chicory root.
What Is It In Asparagus That Increases Poop?
Asparagus, whose technical name is " asparagus officinalis", has a trifecta of qualities that your gut loves.
Asparagus is rich in fiber, two types of fiber in fact. Asparagus has soluble fiber and insoluble, hard-to-digest fiber. A cup of asparagus --- a little more than 10 spears ---- has 3.4 grams of soluble fiber and 2.2 grams of insoluble fiber.
By comparison, cooked onions, also a prebiotic food that the gut bacteria love to eat, have 2.4 grams of soluble fiber, 50% less than asparagus.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, helps to move food through your digestive system and adds bulk. Insoluble fiber is fermented in your small intestine and colon, the gut bacteria extract the nutrients they need from it to survive and the rest is passed through your stool.
The insoluble fiber that asparagus is rich in is called "inulin". It is inulin that both feeds your good gut bacteria and that helps to increase weight loss, scientists believe. A 2015 study led by nutritionist Nicola Guess of King's College in London found that feeding participants a supplement of inulin caused a 7.6% weight loss over 18 weeks. That translates to a loss of 13.68 pounds for a person weighing 180 pounds or a loss of 11.4 pounds if you weigh 150 pounds.
How Much Asparagus Should You Eat for Healthy Bowels?
Eating just 3 or 4 spears of asparagus Three times a week is sufficient to improve bowel movements, if you are prone to constipation. Try to eat asparagus which has been cooked about 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. When asparagus is out of season, look for asparagus which has been canned or preserved in jars.
I find these less tasty than fresh asparagus but just as effective in producing soft stool and reducing constipation.
It also helps to include onions with your asparagus. Hat onions slowly over medium heat to gently caramelize them. Serve them over the asparagus.
The only real downside to eating this much asparagus is that it will make your urine smell like sulphur. This, in my opinion, is a small price to pay for the improvement in your gut health and body weight asparagus helps to bring about.