10 Health Benefits of Asparagus, According to Nutritionists

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 so many health benefits, like helping you decrease bloating and manage your weight, thanks to its diuretic properties and high fiber content. Asparagus is packed with other nutrients, too, including vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, potassium, copper, calcium, and protein. Plus, it's a rich source of antioxidants.

This article discusses the many health benefits of asparagus, according to nutritionists. 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 32 calories), but it also contains lots 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. "Fiber can definitely help you feel satiated, making it beneficial for weight loss," said Gans. "It can also aid 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 mentions that asparagus is a natural diuretic, meaning that it can help flush excess fluid and salt from your body. The review also mentions that asparagus is used in traditional medicine to help treat urinary tract infections and other urinary problems.

"When women are not urinating enough, they can get a UTI," explained Gans. It's possible that 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—is full of 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.

When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. "Overcooking asparagus could cause the vitamins to leach out into the water," said Gans.

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.

To fill up on its benefits, roast asparagus with a little olive oil: "Our body absorbs vitamin E better if it's eaten alongside some fat," said Gans. "And when you cook it with olive oil, you're getting healthy fat and vitamin E."

Asparagus Promotes Reproductive Health

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

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

In men, protodioscin has 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 asaparagus, however, needs more research, although it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

Asparagus Helps With Hangovers

If you crave a greasy breakfast the morning after too many drinks, research suggests that a side of asparagus might be the better choice. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science conducted on laboratory-grown cells suggested that the minerals and amino acids in asparagus extract may help ease hangovers and protect liver cells from the toxins in alcohol.

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.

"Folic acid is essential for [people] who are planning on getting pregnant, since it can help protect against neural tube defect," said Gans.

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

Asparagus Is Full of Vitamin K

Along with other green, leafy vegetables, asparagus is a good 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.

"Most people think of calcium for healthy bones, but vitamin K is also important," said Gans. "It can actually help your body absorb calcium."

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 doctors to prescribe daily doses of both vitamins to patients with depression.

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  2. Tena N, Martín J, Asuero AG. State of the art of anthocyanins: antioxidant activity, sources, bioavailability, and therapeutic effect in human healthAntioxidants. 2020;9(5):451. doi:10.3390/antiox9050451

  3. Ghanbari A, Akhshi N, Nedaei SE, et al. Tribulus terrestris and female reproductive system health: A comprehensive reviewPhytomedicine. 2021;84:153462. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2021.153462

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  7. Li B, Zhang X, Peng X, Zhang S, Wang X, Zhu C. Folic acid and risk of preterm birth: a meta-analysisFront Neurosci. 2019;13:1284. doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.01284

  8. Rodríguez-Olleros Rodríguez C, Díaz Curiel M. Vitamin k and bone health: a review on the effects of vitamin k deficiency and supplementation and the effect of non-vitamin k antagonist oral anticoagulants on different bone parametersJournal of Osteoporosis. 2019;2019:e2069176. doi:10.1155/2019/2069176

  9. Sangle P, Sandhu O, Aftab Z, Anthony AT, Khan S. Vitamin b12 supplementation: preventing onset and improving prognosis of depressionCureus. 2020;12(10). doi:10.7759/cureus.11169

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