Embrace Spring and Asparagus

By Carol Taylor, MCN, RDN, LD Registered Dietitian and Journalist

Asparagus is a delicious harbinger of spring. From root to tip, asparagus is packed with nutrients that support health across the lifespan.

Key nutrients in asparagus include vitamins A, C and K, and minerals calcium, potassium, and chromium. These nutrients support bone and skin health as well as the health of nails, hair, and eyes.

But for me what stands out is the rich vitamin B content of asparagus, especially folate which is important in fertility and pregnancy.


Folate and folic acid are both forms of vitamin B9, which supports the formation of healthy cells and cell development, especially during the early days of pregnancy. Like other water-soluble vitamins, folate is not stored long in the body and must be consumed daily.

Folate occurs naturally in food. The body digests it in the small intestine and uses it immediately. Folate in food is sensitive to heat and light and easily breaks down (or degrades) if vegetables over ripen or are overcooked.

Folic acid is a synthetic form that’s used in supplements and added to foods to enrich or fortify them. Folic acid from supplements and in fortified/enriched foods is more stable and is broken down by the liver and the body can get more out of it.


In adequate amounts of folate, especially during the first trimester, can lead to brain and spinal defects in the fetus, which is why it is included in prenatal vitamins. Neural tube defects can form very early in pregnancy. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends starting folic acid supplements before pregnancy begins. It is usually included in most multivitamins.

If taken as a supplement, more isn’t necessarily better. Vitamin and mineral supplements can interfere with other medications and may not be appropriate for those with certain medical conditions. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any supplement.

Most adults need 400 micrograms of dietary folate or 400 mcg DFE. For pregnant women it’s 600 mcg DFE, and for women who are breastfeeding it’s 500 mcg DFE.


How to Choose: Look for firm, crisp stalks of asparagus that have dry, tight tips. Pass on bunches with limp or wilted stalks or tips that have spread out.

Store: Stand the bunches up right in a cup of water or wrap the ends in a wet paper towel and store in a plastic bag. Use within three to five days.

Prep: Wash well. Trim the ends if they are tough. Cut stalks into smaller pieces for salads, pasta, or sautéing. They can be left whole for grilling, broiling or roasting.

Cooking: Asparagus is great sauteed, grilled or roasted. But steaming helps keep stalks tender while also maintaining vitamin content. To steam them, place stalks in about one inch of water, turn heat to medium high and cook covered for five to seven minutes or until fork tender. To cook in the microwave, use a microwave-safe dish and a small amount of water and cook for three to four minutes.

Our goal at Southern Dallas County Business & Living Magazine is to bring you the latest information on issues relating to Southern Dallas County. We will have monthly feature stories on CEOs and business owners, marketing tips, dining, finance, commercial and residential real esate, investing, social issues and other interesting, thought-provoking and useful information.

Stay Up-To-Date With Southern Dallas Magazine!
[mc4wp_form id="314"]