After a long and chilly winter, Washington farmer’s markets are beginning to fill up with fresh, colorful produce! Washington has a variety of local produce, but did you know Washington’s sandy soil is ideal for growing asparagus? Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant species - meaning it can live for more than two years. Their young shoots are the delicious green stalks seen at the grocery store. Asparagus is harvested from late February until June, peaking in the spring months. Asparagus is full of flavor and loaded with vitamin A, folate, and potassium. These nutrients are great for our skin, heart and blood health, and so much more!
Nutrients found in just 4 spears of asparagus:
Protein 1.4 grams
Fat 0 grams
Fiber 1.2 grams
Folate 89 micrograms
Potassium 391 milligrams
Vitamin A 606 IU
Vitamin K 30 micrograms
Asparagus & Skin Health
While asparagus is full of nutrients that nourish the whole body, it is especially beneficial for skin health. After months of dry winter air, you may find your skin needs some extra care. A diet low in antioxidants may prevent new collagen from forming and limit the body’s healing process. With asparagus being rich in antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, it can be a helpful addition to your spring diet to help repair your skin.
Asparagus & Blood Health
An important nutrient for blood health is vitamin K, and asparagus is rich in just that! Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and the healing process. Though this vitamin is fat-soluble and can be stored, the body only keeps a small amount, so it’s good that asparagus is in a large variety of foods. Other sources of vitamin K include green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, and broccoli.
Asparagus & Heart Health
Asparagus is also an excellent source of fiber and potassium, which are great for heart health! A diet high in fiber may improve heart health in many ways, such as reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are some tips to make the most of this seasonal vegetable.
Tips to remember at the store:
Tips to remember at home:
Ways to Include Asparagus In Your Diet:
-By itself because why not (baked, grilled, steamed, etc.)
-Toss into your favorite pasta dish
-Bake into a casserole
-Cut spears into halves, then cook into an omelet
-Add small pieces to a stir-fry
-Spice it up! Try this Pickled Asparagus recipe by Marissa Stevens
Wishing you all a nutritious and happy spring!
Violet Lederman, Dietetic Intern
Katie Shepherd, RDN
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!