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One Major Effect of Eating Asparagus, Says Science

This springtime veggie favorite is a nutritional powerhouse!

Asparagus makes your pee smell a little funny—blame it on the asparagusic acid. But don't let this small detail deter you from enjoying all of the health benefits that 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 overall health, including fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. While a great source of these specific nutrients, the one major effect of eating asparagus comes from the boost of vitamin K and folate in it.

Here's why these two nutrients are important for your overall health. 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 get a serious amount of nutrients—especially vitamin K and folate. In that one-cup serving, you'll get 57% of your daily recommended vitamin K intake and 34% of your daily recommended folate intake. While these nutrients may not seem significant to your overall diet, they do quite a bit more for your body than you may realize.

First, let's take a 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 important for blood clotting and healthy bones. Because of this, a sufficient amount of daily vitamin K can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. 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.

Regularly mixing asparagus into your diet is a great way to get an ample amount of vitamin K each week, along with other vitamin K-rich foods like fruits, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, lettuce, spinach), and even some sources of dairy and protein (eggs, meat, soybeans).

Along with the vitamin K content, asparagus also provides your body with a significant amount of folate. While folate may not be something that you regularly think about when concentrating on your micronutrients, it's incredibly important for pregnant women.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that women of "reproductive age" get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, which can help prevent major birth defects in a baby's brain and spine.

Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps your body to produce cells for hair, nails, and skin, according to the CDC. While folic acid is a type of dietary supplement that you can take, consuming a sufficient amount of folate is still considered the same thing. (Folate is considered vitamin B9, which comes from nutrition, per a review published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.) Asparagus is an easy way to get folate into your diet to help assist with pregnancy, along with The 20 Best Folate-Rich Foods.

Regardless, if you need a boost of vitamin K and folate, eating asparagus provides your body with a ton of micronutrients that can be difficult to incorporate into other parts of your diet. So the next time you whip up a healthy dinner—like this Healthy Crispy Chicken or our Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon—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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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more
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