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5 fun facts about asparagus

Asparagus is a vegetable grown in Quebec, usually from mid-May to the end of June. Did you know that they are hand-picked, one by one? Here are five other interesting facts you should know about this vegetable.

1.     Asparagus can have three colours: green, white or violet. In Québec, it is the green asparagus that is well known. Each variety has its own flavour. No matter which asparagus you choose, make sure you rinse them with cold water immediately after cooking to keep their vibrant colour!

2.     Asparagus are one of the foods that contain the most folate. Ten asparagus are enough to fulfill half of an adult’s daily intake! This vitamin is essential to repair DNA, cells’ division and growth. For this reason, it is especially good for pregnant women.

3.     Moreover, the antioxidants they contain can help prevent numerous diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases related to cell aging.

4.     The asparagus contains a fiber called “inulin”. Inulin is a prebiotic, meaning it makes its way to the large intestine, where it feeds the good bacteria. These bacteria are part of our microbiota and help keep our digestive system, and immune system in good health.  As inulin is a soluble fiber, it also helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

5.     This list would not be complete without mentioning the specific smell our urine has after eating asparagus. This odor is caused by a chemical reaction during digestion. In fact, an enzyme decomposes the asparagus in multiple molecules, one of them being methanethiol. This molecule is part of the same family as the substance made by skunks to ward off its enemies. If you don’t smell this odor in your urine, don’t worry! According to a recent American study, 60% of adults are unable to detect this scent. The cause would be genetic, but more studies are needed to better understand our sense of smell.

Interesting, isn’t it?


Marie-Ève Caplette, nutritionist

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