The health benefits of asparagus

Asparagus is rich in vitamins A, C and K, plus folic acid. Discover what else makes this veg so good for you and get inspired by our healthy recipe ideas.

A bunch of fresh asparagus

What is asparagus and when is it in season?

Asparagus is a spear-like vegetable that is a member of the lily family. It’s typically in season in the UK from April until June, traditionally starting 23 April (St George’s Day) and ending on the summer solstice in June. The majority of asparagus is green in colour, but you can also get white and purple varieties too.
 

Nutritional benefits of asparagus

Asparagus is packed full of goodness including vitamin A, an essential nutrient that helps to protect our eyes, skin and immune system, plus vitamin C which helps to strengthen our capillaries and is involved in collagen formation. Asparagus is also a good source of vitamin K, used in bone formation and blood clotting, and may reduce the risk of diabetes.

Asparagus also contains folic acid, important for making blood cells. Folic acid is also an essential nutrient during pregnancy as it is needed for foetal development. Just 150g of asparagus will provide the total recommended daily intake of folic acid for most adults (200mg). The NHS recommends that pregnant women get 400mg folic acid a day.

Asparagus has long been known for its diuretic properties, meaning it's good for helping to flush out the kidneys and may help in the prevention of kidney stones. It also has anti-inflammatory effects, so may relieve inflammatory conditions.

How much asparagus counts towards my five-a-day?

Five asparagus spears or 80g of asparagus counts as one portion towards your five-a-day. Read our five-a-day infographic and discover cheap ways to reach your five-a-day.
 

What about other health claims surrounding asparagus?

Creamy chicken & asparagus braise
Can asparagus help to cure hangovers?

There is some evidence that asparagus may help ease some of the symptoms of a hangover due to the vegetable’s fibre and flavonoid (plant compounds) content. The research even suggests that asparagus may help reduce damage to the liver caused by alcohol, although further research is needed.

Can asparagus be beneficial for the digestive system?

Encouragingly, research has shown that cooked asparagus may be useful in gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis as it helps to regulate the digestive system, thereby reducing inflammation and promoting repair. Asparagus is one of a variety of vegetables that can act as a prebiotic, boosting the good bacteria in the digestive system.

How do you cook with asparagus?

Asparagus & lentil salad
Asparagus is super versatile and can be baked, griddled, roasted, steamed, boiled or blanched.
 

Healthy asparagus recipe ideas...

Creamy chicken & asparagus braise
Lemony tuna & asparagus salad box
Healthy pasta primavera
Pea & broad bean shakshuka
Asparagus salad with a runny poached egg
Warm salad of asparagus, bacon, duck eggs & hazelnuts

Read more...

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The health benefits of avocado
The health benefits of bananas
The health benefits of coconut oil
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This article was published on 30 August 2017.

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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