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Asparagus is a spring vegetable that's packed with nutrition.

It's very seasonal, and as always fresh is best (but organic is better!).

Asparagus pairs nicely with lots of other spring vegetables and flavors—think peas, garlic or new potatoes.

1 cup of cooked asparagus has 40 calories, 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 404 milligrams of potassium. Potassium is good for blood pressure and asparagus also contains asparaptine, which helps improve blood flow and in turn helps lower blood pressure. If you need more reasons to enjoy this yummy vegetable read on to see some surprising reasons it's so good for you.

Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. That's good news if you're watching your blood sugar.

This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. It's actually one of the top ranked fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This may help slow the aging process and reduce inflammation. nother anti-aging property of this delicious spring veggie is that it may help our brains fight cognitive decline.

Like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12—found in fish, poultry, meat and dairy—to help prevent cognitive impairment. In a study from Tufts University, older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility. (If you’re 50-plus, be sure you’re getting enough B12: your ability to absorb it decreases with age.)

It contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic, and increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema (an accumulation of fluids in the body's tissues) and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.

We recommend you roast, grill or stir-fry your asparagus. These quick-cooking, waterless methods will preserve the fabulous nutritional content and antioxidant power of asparagus.