Asparagus: The Edible Spear

Asparagus: The Edible Spear

Nutritious and delicious, let's dive deeper into this seasonal favourite.

Ingredient feature

Of the 300 different types of asparagus that we know, only 20 are edible. Considering their hall-of-fame status as seasonal staples of haute cuisine and the fact that they are absolute nutrient powerhouses, we’re lucky to have those 20.


Yes, these unique spears of green (and occasionally white and purple) are terrific sources of vitamin C, K, and folate. They also boast a well-rounded mineral profile, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and trace mineral manganese.

You can think of asparagus as eye food because it offers an impressive bouquet of carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These powerful free-radical scavengers prevent macular degeneration, keeping your vision sharp into old age.

The lutein in asparagus and a phenol called ferulic acid give asparagus a pronounced benefit for people with arthritis. Both of these compounds inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme that initiates inflammation.

If all of that weren’t enough, asparagus is high in inulin, providing an excellent food source for beneficial gut bacteria. That’s right- this high-protein multivitamin is also a powerful prebiotic.

You might have heard that asparagus makes some people’s pee smell funny, but not others. This is because the liver converts asparagusic acid, found in asparagus, to sulphurous compounds that cause a distinct odour. This process occurs in everyone, but due to genetic variations, roughly 50-60% of people cannot smell it!

May and June are some of the best months to look for these vibrant green, white, and purple spears, so don’t miss your chance. Quick and easy to prepare, it only takes a few minutes to snap off the tough ends and steam, roast, or saute the perfectly crispy and juicy al dente asparagus.

Damien ZielinskiA cloud-based functional medicine practitioner with a focus on mental health and insomnia
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