Asparagus is a vegetable available year-round with peak availability in spring. When you buy asparagus fresh from the farmers’ market or grocery store, it’s best to eat it right away. Asparagus pairs well with lots of other spring vegetables and flavors—like peas, garlic or new potatoes.

If you need more reasons to enjoy this yummy and nutritious vegetable, read on to discover all the ways asparagus is good for you.

Recipes to Try: Healthy and Delicious Recipe for Fresh Asparagus

Health Benefits of Asparagus

These vegetable spears are packed with nutrients, providing a good source of fiber, vitamin C and folate. Asparagus is also an excellent source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting and healthy bones. Notably, asparagus also contains chromium, a trace mineral that may enhance the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That’s good news if you’re watching your blood sugar levels.

Here are a few other potential benefits of asparagus:

1. May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Asparagus contains potassium, an important nutrient for keeping your heart, bones, kidneys and nerves functioning and healthy, per the NIH. This stalky vegetable also consists of a compound called asparaptine, which may help improve blood flow, and in turn, may lower blood pressure.

2. May Help Fight Cancer

This herbaceous plant, along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts, is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals, according to a 2022 review article in Frontiers in Nutrition. Thanks to glutathione, eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.

3. Packed with Antioxidants

Pictured recipe: Asparagus Salad with Eggs & Jambon de Bayonne

Asparagus is one of the top-ranked vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Along with other potential anti-aging foods, asparagus may help slow the aging process and reduce inflammation.

4. May Be a Brain Booster

Another anti-aging property of this delicious spring veggie is that it may help our brains fight cognitive decline. Like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12—found in fish, poultry, meat and dairy—to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, according to a 2021 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. If you’re 50-plus, be sure you’re getting enough B12, as your ability to absorb it decreases with age. Learn about anti-aging foods with our best foods to help keep your brain young.

5. A Natural Diuretic

Pictured recipe: Grilled Asparagus

According to a 2024 review in Foods, asparagus contains compounds that act as a natural diuretic, increasing urination and helping the body to get rid of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people suffering from edema—an accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues— and those with high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.

While some claim that asparagus is good for UTIs, there is currently insufficient evidence to support this claim. With that said, when you have a UTI, you want to drink plenty of water, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in part, to help flush the bacteria from the urethra. And since asparagus is a diuretic and will make you pee more frequently, it might be worth a shot to see if it helps.

Asparagus Nutrition

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (135 g) of uncooked asparagus, per the USDA:

  • Calories: 27
  • Total Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Total Sugar: 2.5 g
  • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 3 mg
  • Potassium: 273 mg (8% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin C: 7.6 mg (13% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 56.2 mcg (70% Daily Value)
  • Folate: 70.2mcg (18% Daily Value)

Potential Side Effects

Have you wondered why eating asparagus causes a strong urinary odor?

According to a 2020 review article in Metabolites, these vernal shoots contain a unique compound called asparagusic acid. When metabolized, asparagusic acid gives off a distinctive smell in the urine. Young asparagus contains higher compound concentrations, so the odor is stronger after eating them. Rest assured, though: There are no harmful effects from the sulfuric compounds or the odor.

Asparagus Varieties

The most common type of asparagus is green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier in flavor. No matter what type you choose, asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads.

Don’t Miss: Why Asparagus is One of 15 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic

How to Cook Asparagus

To preserve the antioxidants, try roasting, grilling or sautéing your asparagus. These quick-cooking, waterless methods will preserve the fabulous nutritional content and antioxidant power of asparagus. Learn how to choose, prepare, cook and store asparagus with our practical tips.

The Bottom Line

Asparagus is a highly nutritious vegetable with numerous health benefits, like supporting brain health and fighting cancer. Whether you love eating the common green spears or the vibrant purple or white asparagus, they add flavor, texture and color to your meals. Get inspired with our Healthy Asparagus Recipes and Simple Asparagus Side Dishes today!

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