We know asparagus does make your pee smell a little funny—blame it on the asparagusic acid. But don’t let this small fact deter you from enjoying all the health benefits asparagus has to offer! In fact, a simple serving of asparagus can actually provide your body with a myriad of nutrients that significantly boost your body’s overall health including fiber, protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium, and phosphorus. And yet, while asparagus is a great source of these specific nutrients, the one major effect of eating asparagus comes from the boost of vitamin K and folate in asparagus.
Here’s why these two nutrients are important for your overall health, and for even more healthy eating tips, here are The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Serve one cup of asparagus with your dinner for a mere 20 calories, and your body will be getting a serious amount of nutrients—especially vitamin K and folate. In that one-cup serving, you’re getting 57% of your daily recommended vitamin K intake for the day, and 34% daily recommended amount of folate. While these nutrients may not seem significant in your overall diet, they do quite a bit for your body that you may not realize.
First, let’s look at vitamin K. This nutrient is essential for your body’s blood health. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin K is needed to thicken your blood and is important for blood clotting and healthy bones. Because of this, a sufficient amount of vitamin K each day can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and coronary heart disease. Low levels of vitamin K have been linked to both of these diseases, so eating more vitamin K-rich foods—like asparagus—is immensely helpful for your overall health and longevity.
Mixing asparagus regularly into your diet is a great way to get a sufficient amount of vitamin K each week, along with other vitamin K-rich foods like green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, lettuce), fruits, and even some sources of protein (meat, eggs, soybeans) and dairy.
Along with the vitamin K content, asparagus also provides your body with a significant amount of folate. While folate may not be something you regularly think about when concentrating on your micronutrients, for pregnant women, folate is incredibly important.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that women of a “reproductive age” get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, which can help with preventing major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
The CDC says that folic acid is a B vitamin that helps our body in producing cells for our skin, hair, and nails. While folic acid is a type of dietary supplement you can take, consuming a sufficient amount of folate is still considered the same thing (folate is considered vitamin B9, which comes from nutrition, according to a review published in Obstetrics & Gynecology).
Asparagus is an easy way to get folate into your diet to help assist with pregnancy, along with these The 20 Best Folate-Rich Foods.
Regardless if you need a boost of vitamin K and folate, eating asparagus clearly provides your body with a ton of micronutrients that can be difficult to incorporate into other parts of your diet. So next time you whip up a healthy dinner—like this Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon or our Healthy Crispy Chicken—add in a side of this Easy Roasted Parmesan Asparagus to reap the full benefits that this green vegetable has to offer. Or even enjoy asparagus during a weekend brunch with this Asparagus Salad with Fried Egg and Prosciutto!
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