Health Benefits Asparagus, Nutrition Facts and Cooking Tips


Freshly cooked asparagus has an outstanding array of health benefits showcased by its nutritional facts.

Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as several minerals.

Asparagus has its own family (Asparagaceae) and is broadly related to garlic, leeks and onions (family Amaryllidaceae). The edible parts are the spear shaped shoots that have a compact and pointed head. The main photosynthesizing function in this family is the stems or shoots with the leaves reduced to small bract-like structures. These shoots are picked as they appear each day and light exposure is minimized to keep them cream to light green in color. Older shoots are dark green to purple in color.

Although it's available right throughout the year, fresh asparagus is usually at its best in Spring. The shoots are harvested when about 6 to 8 inches long (15 cm).

This article summarizes the health benefits of asparagus and includes the asparagus nutritional information in a table.

It also includes a table comparing the nutrients in asparagus with alternative green vegetables such as cooked green snap beans, green peas, okra and cabbage.

Asparagus has outstanding health benefits being rich in fiber, Vitamins and minerals and being so versatile in its culinary uses.
Asparagus has outstanding health benefits being rich in fiber, Vitamins and minerals and being so versatile in its culinary uses.. Source: Public Domain

Health Benefits of Asparagus

The two tables below summarise the nutritional data for asparagus in relation to other vegetables.

Comparison of Nutrients in Asparagus with other Vegetables

Serving Size (100gm)
Asparagus (cooked)
Green snap beans (boiled
Peas, green, cooked, boiled
Okra, cooked, boiled
Cabbage, cooked boiled
Calories
22
35.2
83.8
22.5
23.0
Total Fat (gm)
0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Cholesterol (gm)
0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Sodium (mg)
14
0.8
3.1
6.3
8.0
Total Carbohydrate (gm)
4
8.0
15.6
5.0
5.5
Dietary Fiber (gm)
2
3.2
5.6
2.5
1.9
Sugars (gm)
1
1.6
5.6
2.5
2.8
Protein (gm)
2
1.6
5.6
1.3
1.3
Vitamin A (percent daily allowance)
20%
14%
16%
6%
2%
Calcium (percent daily allowance)
2%
5%
3%
7%
5%
Vitamin C (percent daily allowance)
1%
1%
1%
1%
4%
Iron (percent daily allowance)
5%
4%
9%
1%
1%

Buying and Preparing Asparagus

When selecting asparagus to buy, choose firm, straight stalks that do not droop when picked up and have tight, firm tips. The cream and light green spears have a more delicate flavor but have less nutrients than the darker green spears. Always try to eat asparagus on the day of purchase. A bunch of spears can be kept at room temperature by placing in a glass of water. Otherwise, wrap the spears in tightly-wrapped plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

Cooking Tips for Asparagus

Nutrition Facts for Asparagus

100g raw asparagus
Nutrient Value
% recom. Daily allowance
Energy
20 Cal
1%
Carbohydrates
3.38 g
2.5%
Protein
2.20 g
4%
Total Fat
0.12 g
0.5%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
2.1 g
5.5%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
52 mcg
13%
Niacin
0.98 mg
6%
Pantothenic acid
0.27mg
5%
Pyridoxine
0.09 mg
7%
Riboflavin
0.14 mg
11%
Thiamin
0.14 mg
12%
Vitamin C
5.6 mg
9%
Vitamin A
756 IU
25%
Vitamin E
1.13 mg
7.5%
Vitamin K
41.6 mcg
35%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
2 mg
 
Potassium
202 mg
4%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
24 mg
2.5%
Copper
0.19 mg
21%
Iron
1.14 mg
14%
Magnesium
14 mg
1%
Manganese
0.16 mg
7%
Phosphorus
52 mg
7.5%
Selenium
2.3 mcg
4%
Zinc
0.54 mg
5%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Carotene-beta
449 mcg
 
Carotene-alpha
9 mcg
 
Lutein-zeaxanthin
710 mcg
 




Simple steamed asparagus pairs well with many meat dishes, eggs and cheese
Simple steamed asparagus pairs well with many meat dishes, eggs and cheese. Source: Public Domain
Lemon juice is a wonderful simple dressing for asparagus
Lemon juice is a wonderful simple dressing for asparagus. Source: Public Domain
Asparagus is a delight in salads and side dishes. See the many ways to use asparagus here.
Asparagus is a delight in salads and side dishes. See the many ways to use asparagus here.. Source: Public Domain
Asparagus has a unique texture that pairs so well with other ingredients
Asparagus has a unique texture that pairs so well with other ingredients. Source: Public Domain
Asparagus can complement any seafood dish, especially shrimp, scallops and fish. The color, texture and taste complements the delicate taste of the fish
Asparagus can complement any seafood dish, especially shrimp, scallops and fish. The color, texture and taste complements the delicate taste of the fish. Source: Public Domain
Nutrition facts for Asparagus
Nutrition facts for Asparagus. Source: Public Domain
Health Benefits for Asparagus
Health Benefits for Asparagus. Source: Public Domain
Grilled or barbecued asparagus is a delightful side dish accompanied by bell pepper strips
Grilled or barbecued asparagus is a delightful side dish accompanied by bell pepper strips. Source: Public Domain