9 Health Benefits of Asparagus

The spring veggie boasts a long list of health and nutritional benefits.

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Asparagus is known for making pee smell funny. But it has many health benefits. For example, asparagus can help with weight loss, help prevent urinary tract infections, promote reproductive health, and even be a mood booster. Asparagus is packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, folate, iron, potassium, copper, calcium, and protein. Plus, it's a rich source of antioxidants.

This article discusses the many health benefits of asparagus. It also includes several tips for how you can cook asparagus as part of a healthy meal.

Asparagus Can Help With Weight Loss

Not only is asparagus low in fat and calories (one cup is 27 calories), but it also contains 2.8 grams of fiber. According to a 2020 review published in the journal Metabolites, this makes asparagus a good choice if you're trying to lose weight.

Because your body digests fiber slowly, it keeps you feeling full in between meals. Research has found that fiber can help us feel satiated after consuming it, and promotes weight loss. It can also ease constipation, and research suggests it may help lower cholesterol.

To maximize the veggie's low-calorie content, pair it with a hard-boiled egg: The combination of fiber-rich asparagus with the egg's protein will leave you feeling satisfied.

Asparagus Helps Prevent UTIs

The 2020 Metabolites review notes how asparagus is a natural diuretic, meaning it can help flush excess fluid and salt from your body. The review reports that asparagus is used in traditional medicine to help treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other urinary problems.

It's possible a diet rich in asparagus could prevent these painful infections from developing since going to the bathroom more frequently can help move bad bacteria out of the urinary tract.

Asparagus Is Full of Antioxidants

Asparagus—purple asparagus in particular—contains pigments called anthocyanins, which give fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues. Anthocyanins also have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals, according to a 2020 review in the journal Antioxidants.

Like all vegetables, overcooking asparagus might cause the vitamins to leach out. It's best roasted or boiled for just 4 minutes.

Asparagus Contains Vitamin E

Asparagus is a source of vitamin E, another important antioxidant. This vitamin helps strengthen your immune system and protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Research is still trying to determine whether vitamin E can prevent cancer, heart disease, dementia, liver disease, and stroke.

Asparagus Promotes Reproductive Health

The 2020 Metabolites review states that green asparagus contains a high level of saponin protodioscin—the same plant chemical that gives asparagus its bitter taste.

A 2021 review in the journal Phytomedicine explains how protodioscin supports ovarian health, enhances libido post-menopause, and can even fight ovarian cancer cells.

Protodioscin has also been found to increase testosterone production, restore erectile function, and boost libido when taken in supplement form, according to the book Herbal Biochemicals in Healthcare Applications, published in 2021.

Whether you can benefit from these effects simply by eating asparagus, however, needs more research, although it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

Asparagus Is Great for Gut Health

An article in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition from 2018 discusses how a prebiotic in asparagus called inulin benefits gut health. For starters, inulin promotes a healthy balance of good gut bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. This, in turn, reduces gas and helps you digest your meals better.

Inulin does more, too. Since it's a soluble fiber, it draws water into your gut, softening your stools and making them easier to pass, the article says. In other words, eating more asparagus can help keep your bowel movements regular and prevent constipation.

Asparagus Is Rich in Folic Acid

The 2020 review in Metabolites states that four asparagus spears contain 22% of your recommended daily allowance of folic acid, making asparagus great for pregnancy.

Everyone needs folic acid as it helps the body make new cells. However, during pregnancy, getting enough folic acid can prevent major birth defects in the baby's brain or spine.

A 2019 review in Frontiers of Neuroscience reports that, compared to individuals who didn't take folic acid supplements prior to becoming pregnant, those who did take them were less likely to have a premature birth.

Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. The effects of supplements vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. Please speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any supplements.

Asparagus Is Full of Vitamin K

Along with other green, leafy vegetables, one cup of asparagus provides an excellent source of vitamin K. The vitamin is crucial for bone health and coagulation (which helps your body stop bleeding after a cut), a 2019 review in the Journal of Osteoporosis explains.

But vitamin K is also important for bones. Though research is still trying to determine if the vitamin plays a role in protecting against bone fractures, research has determined that is an essential vitamin for bone health, involved in the production of some bone-related proteins as well as regulating bone reabsorption.

Asparagus Brightens Your Mood

Asparagus is full of folate, a B vitamin that could lift your spirits and help ward off irritability. Researchers have found a connection between low levels of folate and vitamin B12 in people with depression, explains a 2020 review in Cureus. This finding leads some healthcare providers to prescribe daily doses of both vitamins to patients with depression.

A Quick Review

Packed with micro and macronutrients, asparagus is an overlooked food with a plethora of health benefits to offer. From being a mood booster to helping with weight loss, or promoting gut health, this low-fat, low-calorie veggie should be a staple in your diet.

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14 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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