Cholesterol free and low in sodium, asparagus is loaded with minerals, vitamins and low-fat protein.

At first glance, an asparagus spear might seem like a relatively ordinary vegetable, but don’t let appearances fool you. Asparagus is a complex, highly nutritious vegetable. The minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc are all present in a single spear, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Nutrition Facts Label reveals that asparagus is also chock-full of vitamins; a 1-cup serving contains 73 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and 29 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A.

Asparagus is a nice source of low-fat protein with 5 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat in a 1-cup serving; that same serving size contains 3 grams of fiber. It is also cholesterol free and low in sodium.

Did you know?

Green asparagus is certainly the most prevalent variety of asparagus in the U.S., but asparagus also come in purple and white varieties, the latter of which is very common in Europe.

The hearty texture of asparagus spears makes them extremely versatile, as they can easily be steamed, boiled, roasted or grilled. Originally from the Mediterranean region, asparagus has been a food staple in Greek and Roman cultures for more than 2,000 years. Since being introduced in the United States in colonial times, demand and production has increased to the point that the United States is both the largest importer and one of the largest exporters of asparagus every year. Fresh, frozen, canned and even pickled asparagus can now be purchased year-round.

A 1-cup serving has 5 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat

Growing asparagus can be a painstaking process. According to the Nutritional Research Foundation, it takes three years from the time asparagus seeds are initially planted until the first set of stalks are ready for harvesting; however, an asparagus plant can continue to produce for at least 15 years.

Once an asparagus plant is producing, the pace increases significantly. The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board says that under the right conditions, a single spear can grow as much as 10 inches in a 24-hour period.

Storage tip
Putting fresh asparagus in an open jar with about an inch of water and refrigerating it can help keep the spears fresh longer.

Need a Superfood recipe? Try one of these:

Grilled asparagus medley

Asparagus and shrimp fajitas

Asparagus fish bundles