asparagus

The benefits of asparagus

Asparagus is a spring vegetable that’s in season from May to June.1 It’s often served with warmer-weather dishes, like fresh new potatoes with butter, or as part of a delicious BBQ. Many people associate asparagus with strong-smelling urine after eating but don’t realise this distinct odour is caused by phytonutrients.2 Asparagus is absolutely full of phytonutrients.

Here, we’ll look at all the health benefits of asparagus. We’ll investigate this powerful plant’s nutritional profile, and ask if anybody should avoid this super-food. Finally, we’ll advise you on how to incorporate more asparagus in your diet.

Health benefits of asparagus

Asparagus has supported health and wellness in traditional Chinese and Indian cultures for centuries.3 Eating asparagus as part of your regular diet can help:

Reduce inflammation

Its high phytonutrient content may reduce inflammation caused by oxidative stress. This is a normal process that’s worsened by factors like environmental pollution and smoking.

Encourage healing

Vitamin K helps the body heal wounds, and asparagus contains a load of it.4 An average portion of asparagus contains 91 micrograms of Vitamin K.5 An average person needs to eat 1 microgram of Vitamin K for every kilogram they weigh, and asparagus meets the requirements of a 91kg person.

Support fetal health

Vitamin B9, or folate, is essential for babies to develop healthily in utero. Vitamin B9 deficiency can increase the instance of heart and spine defects.6 A portion of asparagus meets 22% of a pregnant woman’s Vitamin B9 requirements.7

Decrease blood pressure

Asparagus is low in salt and high in potassium, providing 6% of your recommended daily intake.8 This combination is useful for lowering blood pressure9, as it encourages blood vessels to relax, and increases salt loss through urine.10

Nutritional value of asparagus

An average, 180g portion of asparagus contains:11
  • 101% of your daily vitamin K. The body needs this to clot blood and heal wounds12
  • 67% of your daily vitamin B9. Vitamin B9 helps the body produce healthy red blood cells and decreases the risk of birth defects13
  • 33% of your daily copper. Copper helps blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body14

How to include more asparagus in your diet

Asparagus is incredibly versatile to cook with, and can be boiled, grilled, baked, steamed, or fried. Since asparagus is grown around the world,15 it works in a variety of world cuisines. Try it in pasta, a stir fry, or lightly flavoured by itself.

Last updated: 9 October 2020

FoodNutrition