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Published on May 18th, 2011 | by Jeannie Moulton

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Five Asparagus Facts

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We are in the midst of asparagus season, so it seems fitting to learn a bit about asparagus…from its nutritional benefits to why it makes your pee smell funny.

1. Asparagus grows very quickly

Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10 inches in a 24-hour period!

2. There are three main types of asparagus: green, white and purple.

Green asparagus is ‘normal’ asparagus – what most people buy in the store.

White asparagus is green asparagus that has been denied light while growing. It’s less bitter than the green variety.

Purple asparagus is different to the green and white varieties. It has a high sugar and low fiber content. It’s purple color comes from a phytochemical with a deep purple-blue pigment – the same cancer-fighting phytochemical found in blueberries.

3. Asparagus makes people’s pee smell weird

…but not everyone has the gene to smell the weird pee.

When asparagus is digested, it produces some sulfur-containing compounds. When these are excreted in the urine, it has a strange smell; however, you needn’t worry because it has no adverse affect on the body.

The smell can be noticed as little as 15 minutes after eating asparagus!

4. It’s a natural diuretic

This may or may not be a good thing, but it is a strong diuretic.

Asparagus is a very good source of potassium and contains the amino acids asparagine. This combination gives asparagus a strong diuretic effect.

Historically, asparagus has been used to treat problems involving swelling, such as arthritis and rheumatism, and may also be useful for PMS-related water retention.

5. Last, but not least, it’s loaded with vitamins

Asparagus is a good source of potassium, vitamin K and folate – all of which are essential vitamins.

Sources: Science Blogs, WH Foods, Wikipedia, Organic Garden

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons by Stiefen Schlingen

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About the Author

I spent the last five years earning my PhD in Engineering. I enjoy all types of science and writing, so I am trying out a new career path in science publication and communication. Recently, I have moved to Oxford, England. As an environmentally-conscious person, Oxford is a great place to live...notably there is no car required. I love to talk about vegan cooking, plant-based diets and the benefits of such, so just ask if you are interested. I do ballet for fun and love kitties.



  • http://Web Pat Farina

    Since the darkest colored vegetables are supposed to have the best nutrative values, I would think then the purple asparagus would be the highest in vitamin content and the white would have less than either of the others. Do they taste the same?

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