Are asparagus good for you? 9 science-backed benefits of eating it

Asparagus lovers know how versatile this stalky green vegetable is: Eat it broiled, roasted, pickled, baked, and boiled any way you can in early to late spring, when the harvest is at its peak. Asparagus varieties may have their signature green hue, but purple and white varieties are also grown. It’s also the ultimate spring treat, no matter which color you like best.

While local asparagus at peak freshness may only be available for a month or so in late spring, you can find this stemmed green vegetable in grocery stores year-round. However, it is fresh and plentiful from late winter to early summer.

Whether you chop it up to bake in a quiche, pickle it to enjoy year-round, or roast it with chicken for a skillet dinner, asparagus is a delicious, nutrient-packed vegetable. While we love it for its flavor and versatility, you can’t forget the abundant health benefits of consuming asparagus.

As a dietitian, I can’t rave enough about this vibrant spring veggie. Immersing myself in research, I asked other nutrition experts to help me explain the many health benefits of eating asparagus so I can confidently fill my shopping cart and plate all season long! Plus, for more healthy eating tips about your favorite veggies, be sure to read up on 7 Science-Backed Benefits of Eating Bell Peppers.

The nutritional content of asparagus

Asparagus with lemon

Asparagus is a low-calorie, high-fiber, high-protein vegetable rich in many micronutrients, including vitamin K, folate, copper, and several B vitamins. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of cooked asparagus (180 grams) has:


  • 40 calories
  • 4.3 grams of protein
  • 0.4 grams of fat
  • 7.4 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3.6 grams of total dietary fiber
  • 2.3 grams of natural sugar


  • 91.1 micrograms, 91% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin K
  • 268.2 micrograms, 67% DV folate
  • 0.3 milligram, 33% DV of copper
  • 0.3 milligram, 24% DV of thiamin
  • 11 micrograms, 20% DV selenium
  • 0.3 milligrams, 19% DV riboflavin
  • 13.9 milligrams, 15% DV of vitamin C
  • 2 milligrams, 12% DV of niacin
  • 1.1 milligrams, 10% DV of zinc
  • 90 micrograms, 10% DV vitamin A
  • 1.6 milligrams, 9% DV of iron
  • 403.2 milligrams, 9% DV of potassium
  • 41.4 grams, 3% DV of calcium
  • 25.2 milligrams, 1% DV sodium

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Are asparagus good for you?

chicken, asparagus and tomatoes

“Asparagus is a veggie MVP, with a nutritional range that’s hard to beat!” He says Pam Hartnett, MPH, RDNnutrition writer, trainer and owner of The Vitality Dietitians.

Each cup of cooked asparagus has 3.6 grams of fiber and 4.3 grams of protein, making it easy to meet your fiber goals and eat enough protein, especially if you follow a plant-based diet. Eating asparagus also supplies your body with a dose of polyphenols, saponins and anthocyanins, plant compounds with powerful antioxidant properties and other potential health benefits.

Calorie for calorie, this vegetable is incredibly nutrient dense, packing several nutrients into every delicious bite.

How many asparagus can you eat per day?

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2-3 cups of vegetables per day for adults. Only 10% of adults meet these recommendations. If you’re one of the 90 percent of people who don’t eat the recommended portions of vegetables every day, asparagus is an easy way to increase your vegetable intake.

It’s easy to include a little asparagus in every meal of the day. Add chopped and sauteed asparagus to your morning scrambled eggs, a bun and cup of cream to your lunch asparagus chowder, and an all-in-one grill pack for dinner with salmon, wedge potatoes, and asparagus spears!

RELATED: 8 Science-Backed Benefits of Eating Cucumbers

Here are 9 science-backed benefits of eating asparagus

1. Asparagus can help manage blood sugar

Cut the asparagus stems

“Asparagus is considered a non-starchy vegetable, which doesn’t have as big an impact on blood sugar as starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn,” she explains. Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCESand founder of Healthy Lane Nutrition.

A cup of cooked asparagus has only 7 grams of carbohydrates compared to the 31 grams of carbohydrates found in 1 cup of boiled potatoes, a starchy carbohydrate. Half of the carbohydrates in asparagus come from fiber, a non-digestible plant compound that has less of an impact on blood sugar than other carbohydrates.

“Those trying to lose weight and manage diabetes are encouraged to pack half their plate of non-starchy vegetables like asparagus,” says Lane.

2. Might lower blood pressure

Eating more asparagus could be a part of your blood pressure management diet.

“Asparagus is a natural diuretic thanks to plant compounds, vitamins and minerals, and potassium,” she says Caroline Thomason, RD, CDCESa dietitian based in Northern Virginia.

One cup of cooked asparagus has 9 percent of your DV for potassium, a mineral that helps lower tension in blood vessel walls and reduce the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium, according to the American Heart Association.

A small study from 2013 in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that the lower stalks of asparagus have a variety of bioactive compounds, in addition to potassium, that may help lower blood pressure. The problem is that the lower stem is usually discarded due to its hard, woody texture.

To use all parts of the asparagus plant, make asparagus soup using the woody stems as stock!

3. Asparagus increases the feeling of fullness after eating

Steak and asparagus

If you frequently finish your meals feeling under-satisfied or snack only an hour later, consider adding a serving of asparagus to your plate.

Being a vegetable rich in fiber and protein, asparagus can help increase satiety or the feeling of fullness after eating. Protein and fiber slow down digestion, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness. To stay full long after your meal is over, eat asparagus alongside chicken and a whole grain like brown rice for a balanced, high-fiber, and high-protein meal.

4. Supports a healthy pregnancy

Asparagus is one of nature’s highest sources of folate, with just one cup providing 67 percent of the daily value. This nutrient is essential for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant due to its importance on neural tube development in the developing fetus. Other folate-rich foods include beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, and fortified cereals and cereals.

Women who don’t get enough folate are at risk of having babies with neural tube defects, low birth weight, and premature birth.

5. It is rich in prebiotics for a healthy gut

White beans and asparagus

“Asparagus is a great source of prebiotic fiber, which is food for the good bacteria (probiotics) in your gut,” she says. Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDNintuitive food dietitian for moms.

Just over half a cup of asparagus contains 2.5 grams of inulin, a prebiotic fiber highly effective at nourishing beneficial gut microbes, according to a September 2017 article in Nutrients.

“The fiber in asparagus helps support a healthy gut microbiome and promotes digestion and healthy bowel movements,” says Anzlovar.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. On a 2,000-calorie diet, just one cup of asparagus has 12.8 percent of your DV of fiber!

RELATED: 44 best high-fiber foods for a healthy diet

6. Acts as a natural detoxifier

“Including asparagus in your diet can aid in the body’s natural detoxification process,” says Hartnett. This is thanks to the abundant antioxidants present within.

“Compounds like quercetin and glutathione help neutralize harmful toxins in the body and support healthy liver function,” explains Hartnett.

Glutathione is found in all cells, especially concentrated in the liver, and plays an important role in detoxification and defending cells against oxidative stress, according to a June 2020 review in Liver research. Quercetin has its own powerful antioxidant activity and also increases the amount of glutathione in the body, according to a May 2020 article in ACSOmega.

7. Asparagus promotes a healthy heart

Asparagus on wooden board

Eating more asparagus could reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Asparagus is a rich source of folate, a B vitamin that helps lower blood homocysteine ​​levels, a compound linked to increased risk of heart disease,” says Hartnett.

Homocysteine ​​is broken down from folate and vitamins B12 and B6 into other usable and beneficial compounds. High levels of homocysteine ​​can damage arteries, lead to blood clots and increase the risk of heart disease, according to the National Library of Medicine.

8. May help support immune health

Fruits and vegetables are important for immune health for a variety of reasons: from their prebiotic fiber to antioxidants and copious amounts of vitamins and minerals. Asparagus poses a triple threat when it comes to immune support. This vegetable is a good source of vitamin C and zinc, two nutrients essential for immune cell growth and function, has high antioxidant activity, and is a good source of prebiotic fiber to help stimulate immune cells in the gut.

9. Asparagus can give your bones a boost


Vitamin K plays an important role in bone health, as proteins involved in bone mineralization and turnover depend on vitamin K to function. A December 2019 review published in Journal of Osteoporosis found that low vitamin K intake and low vitamin K blood levels are associated with an increased risk of hip fractures in observational studies.

Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, with one cup giving you 91% of your DV. Other dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach, kale and broccoli are also excellent sources of this vitamin.

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