“Asparagus Is A POWERHOUSE Vegetable,” Says Bodybuilding Coach

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Asparagus is a powerhouse vegetable with a rich nutritional profile and many bodybuilding-specific advantages. However, you must know about two potential drawbacks and how to properly add them to your diet if you’re a bodybuilder. 

Key Takeaways

  • Asparagus is beneficial for bodybuilding, especially during a cut, because it only has 20 calories per 100 grams and provides fiber, keeping you full without increasing your calorie intake.
  • Asparagus has a rich nutritional profile. It provides high amounts of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate and some antioxidants like quercetin. These nutrients are crucial for optimal performance, muscle recovery, bone health, and metabolism.
  • Asparagus is rich in asparagine––an amino acid with diuretic effects. It helps the body flush out excess water and sodium, which is beneficial for blood pressure, achieving a leaner or more ‘dry’ physique, and seeing more consistent weigh-ins when losing weight.

Asparagus: Overview

nutritional content of asparagus


Asparagus is a low-calorie food with 100 grams providing only 20 calories

In comparison, the same amount of sweet potato provides 86 calories or nearly 4.5 times more calories.

This means you can eat a considerable amount of asparagus without ingesting many calories, which offers a considerable advantage during a cut.

For example, rather than eating half a sweet potato (worth 90 calories), you can eat two cups of asparagus and feel far fuller.

Asparagus can also be a good food to eat while bulking, though you might want to modify it a bit to increase the calorie content. A simple way would be to add olive oil or butter while cooking it.


Asparagus consists of carbohydrates and protein with no fat. 

In 100 grams, you get 3.9 grams of carbs, with 2.1 grams coming from fiber. This means your body can use only 1.8 grams of net carbs for energy.

Asparagus also has 2.2 grams of protein per 100 grams, less than other plant sources (like lentils and chickpeas) but more than non-starchy veggies like carrots (which have 0.8 grams of protein per 100 grams).


Here are the top three nutrients you get from asparagus: 

  • Vitamin K (35% of daily needs for men and 46% for women per 100 grams). Limited research suggests that vitamin K may improve cardiac output (the amount of blood your heart pumps each minute), potentially allowing more oxygen to get to your muscles and improve gym performance.

Check out my complete guide on the best vegetables for muscle growth.

Pros Of Eating Asparagus

Pros vs Cons of eating asparagus for bodybuilding

1. Asparagus Is Low-Calorie Food

Asparagus can help during a cut because it’s a low-calorie food.

Studies have shown that people who eat low-calorie and high-water foods (like asparagus, since it is 94% water) consume fewer calories and lose weight more effectively. 

For example, in one study, people lost an average of six kilograms over six months when they had low-energy-dense foods (i.e., asparagus). 

In comparison, those eating energy-dense foods (such as grains, starchy vegetables, and certain fruits like bananas) didn’t lose weight. 

2. Asparagus Is A High Fiber Food

Asparagus provides 8% of the recommended fiber intake.

This is another reason why asparagus helps with weight loss. Fiber slows gastric emptying, making you feel fuller for longer without eating as many calories. 

Additionally, getting enough fiber is beneficial for gut health and regular bowel movements

It may even improve cholesterol levels and long-term cardiovascular health.

3. Asparagus Helps Boost Immune System & Performance

Asparagus has a high antioxidant capacity since it has vitamins E and C, glutathione, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These components help reduce inflammation and boost your immunity. 

Additionally, research shows that one of its flavonoids, quercetin, can decrease the stress after a workout and improve performance. 

In one study, subjects taking 1,000 mg of quercetin daily for two weeks saw improvements in time to exhaustion and physical capacity (measured on a treadmill).

The trouble is that 100 grams of asparagus provides 23.6 mg of quercetin. So, getting 1,000 mg would mean eating over four kilograms of asparagus daily. 

That said, you can still get a decent amount of this antioxidant from regular asparagus servings and reap some of its benefits.

4. Asparagus Is A Natural Diuretic

Asparagus is a natural diuretic because it contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine. It leads to frequent urination and helps the body eliminate excess fluids and sodium.

This can be helpful for bodybuilders with elevated blood pressure (as fluid retention is known to contribute to the issue) and may be helpful when looking to achieve a more shredded or ‘dry’ look, such as right before a competition.

Since water retention can also mask scale weight loss, eating asparagus more frequently during a cut can reduce that, allowing for more accurate weigh-ins.

Cons of Eating Asparagus

1. Asparagus Might Give You Stomach Upset

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms, including stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. 

The foods you eat can help manage your symptoms or make them worse. Typically, those with IBS want to avoid high-FODMAP foods––those containing specific carbohydrates that can worsen IBS symptoms. 

Asparagus is considered a high FODMAP food, so you may want to avoid it if you struggle with IBS or general GI discomfort. 

2. Asparagus Is An Expensive Vegetable

Another con of asparagus is that it’s quite expensive, with a bunch (less than a pound in weight) costing $3.87 at Walmart. In comparison, a one-pound bag of carrots costs only $0.98.

So, while asparagus is a good food to add to your diet (assuming it doesn’t bother your stomach), you may want to eat it occasionally if you’re on a budget.

Can You Eat Asparagus Before Workouts?

Asparagus is not a good food to eat before training because it takes longer to digest and doesn’t provide the carbs your muscles need.

Research recommends having up to a gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight before training. 

For someone weighing 70 kilograms (154 lbs), that would be up to 70 grams of carbs.

Asparagus only has 1.8 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, which is far from ideal.

So, consider high-carb foods like rice, quinoa, and ripe bananas for energy before training.

Can You Eat Asparagus After Workouts?

You can add asparagus to your post-workout meal because it provides antioxidants (e.g., vitamins C and E and quercetin) that may reduce muscle inflammation.

However, remember that research recommends getting 0.3 to 0.5 grams of protein and carbs per kilogram of body weight after training for optimal recovery.

Carbs are essential for replenishing lost glycogen (the complex carb form stored primarily in the muscles), whereas protein directly supports muscle repair and growth.

So, eat asparagus alongside protein (e.g., meat, fish, or eggs) and carbs (e.g., rice, potatoes, pasta, or quinoa) for a balanced post-workout meal.

Tips For Incorporating Asparagus Into A Bodybuilding Diet

tips for incorporating asparagus into a bodybuilding diet

Place Them In Cold Water

One way to keep asparagus crunchy and prevent it from turning mushy is to immediately place it in cold water after cooking it.

Here’s how:

  1. Place the asparagus in boiling water and cook it for up to four minutes, depending on the thickness. It should be tender but still green and with a vibrant look.

  2. Immediately place it in a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve its crunchy texture.

It’s also possible to eat asparagus raw. Here are a couple of tips from Daisy Coyle, APD:

“First, remove the woody ends of the spears — just as you would if you were preparing to cook them. At this point, you could bite directly into them, but the experience is not likely to be pleasurable. Instead, use a vegetable peeler, grater, or sharp knife to cut or shred the spears into fine pieces. The thinner the pieces, the easier they’ll be to chew.”

Store Them The Right Way

Have you ever bought asparagus and left it in the fridge for a couple of days, only for it to turn soggy after a couple of days? If so, here’s what to do instead:

Trim the bottom of the asparagus, add some water at the bottom of a jar (about 1-2 inches), place the spears standing up, and cover the jar. Place them in the fridge for them to last 4-5 days.  

Also, here is a quick tip on buying asparagus from health writer Moira Lawler:

“​​When choosing your green asparagus at the grocery store or farmers’ market, look for spears with compact tips and smooth stalks that are a rich green color for most of their length. The spears should be firm, and they may be thin or thick. Asparagus’s tenderness has more to do with freshness and maturity rather than stem thickness.”

Cook Them In Different Ways

There are different ways to cook asparagus. You can always meal prep them and have some ready-to-eat in case you want a fast lunch or dinner. 

Here are some recipes that can help you out:

What To Read Next


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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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