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Is Asparagus Keto?

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  Published on December 19th, 2022
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified December 19th, 2022
Bunch of keto asparagus

Asparagus is a unique and tasty vegetable that is also a much-loved herald of spring. In Europe, in particular, the arrival of local asparagus in the markets is celebrated, and asparagus dishes appear on every menu. But beyond the delicate flavor of these long green spears is excellent nutritional value and an array of health benefits. However, if you’re not familiar with the carbohydrate content of asparagus, you might be wondering: is asparagus keto? Let’s look at how to incorporate asparagus into your keto lifestyle.

What Is Asparagus?

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) comes in several colors, including purple, white, and green. Most people are more familiar with the green variety.

Asparagus is featured in dishes worldwide, and you can cook asparagus in different ways to achieve different textures. Many people enjoy a slight firmness and crunch to their spears.

Is Asparagus Keto?

Yes, asparagus is a keto-friendly veggie. Half a cup (90 grams) of cooked asparagus contains around 1.9 grams of net carbs, 2.2 grams of protein, and 0.2 grams of fat. [1] As a low-carb vegetable, asparagus is the perfect addition to keto stir-fries, salads, veggie and egg bakes, keto pasta dishes, side dishes, and more.

Nutrition Profile and Benefits of Asparagus

Like many vegetables, asparagus is low in calories and fat but loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Asparagus’ low calorie count and moderate fiber content make it a perfect veggie for weight loss. The insoluble fiber supports digestion and regular bowel movements, while the small amount of soluble fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut like Lactobacillus, which strengthen your immune system and assist in producing B12 and other important nutrients. [2] 

Half a cup (90 grams) of cooked asparagus provides around 12% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C, 18% of the RDI for vitamin A, and an impressive 57% of your RDI of vitamin K. These tasty spears also provide phosphorous, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and small amounts of micronutrients like zinc and iron.

Asparagus’ high levels of vitamin K make it helpful with blood clotting and bone health. [3] Folate is crucial for cell growth, DNA formation, and healthy pregnancy. [4]

Free radicals can be generated by your body’s normal metabolic processes or from exposure to carcinogens and harmful substances in your environment. An excess of free radical molecules can be harmful to your body and lead to oxidative stress—a state of imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals.

That’s where antioxidants come in, to donate an electron and neutralize free radicals, making them more stable and less reactive. Vitamins like Vitamin E are considered powerful antioxidants. [5] Asparagus is rich in antioxidants, including vitamins E and C, polyphenols, quercetin, and glutathione. [6] [7] Glutathione is known for its detoxifying properties and the ability to assist in removing carcinogens from the body.

These antioxidants have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory, blood-pressure-lowering, anticancer, and antiviral properties in several test-tube, animal, and human studies. [8] [9]

Purple asparagus get their vibrant color from anthocyanins, which are pigments that have antioxidant effects. In studies, anthocyanin reduced blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. [10] [11]

Animal studies on rats with high blood pressure indicate asparagus could have other blood-pressure-lowering properties. After 10 weeks, rats eating an asparagus diet had 17% lower blood pressure compared to the rats on the standard diet. More human research is needed. [12]

Using Asparagus in Your Keto Kitchen

Most people trim or break off the ends of the asparagus spears and store them in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. You can consume asparagus raw or cooked. Eating it raw generally involves shaving it into finer pieces and using olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice to tenderize, with herbs for flavor. Most people prefer to cook their asparagus, which softens the tougher plant fibers, making it easier to chew and digest. [13] One interesting study revealed cooking green asparagus increased the total antioxidant activity by 16%. [14]

Keto asparagus dish with hollandaise, egg, and bacon.

There are lots of ways to prepare and cook this versatile vegetable, so it’s a good idea to find a low-carb recipe that appeals to you. Roast, saute, boil, grill, steam, or stir fry your asparagus, or toss it into your salad mix. Canned asparagus is precooked and ready to eat, and you can also try frozen asparagus, which is available year-round.

Keto Recipes Featuring Asparagus

Add more of this nutrition powerhouse to your keto dinner, lunch, or brunch plate with these flavorful recipes from the talented recipe creators here at Ketogenic.com:

Do you eat asparagus on keto? What’s your favorite low-carb asparagus recipe? Discuss tips and recipes with the keto community here at Ketogenic.com.

Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.



Self Nutrition Data. Asparagus, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Nutrition Facts & Calories. Asparagus, cooked, boiled, drained Nutrition Facts & Calories (self.com)


Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: Mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417-1435. DOI: 10.3390/nu5041417


DiNicolantonio, J. J., Bhutani, J., & O’Keefe, J. H. (2015). The health benefits of vitamin K. Open Heart, DOI: 10.1136/openhrt-2015-000300


Greenberg, J. A., Bell, S. J., Guan, Y., & Yu, Y-H. (2011). Folic acid supplementation and pregnancy: More than just neural tube defect prevention. Rev Obstet Gynecol, Folic Acid Supplementation and Pregnancy: More Than Just Neural Tube Defect Prevention - PMC (nih.gov)


Cui, H., Kong, Y., & Zhang, H. (2011). Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and aging. J Signal Transduct, DOI: 10.1155/2012/646354


Rickman, J. C., Barrett, D. M., & Bruhn, C. M. (2007). Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. Journal of the Food and Science of Agriculture, https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.2825


Kulczynski, B., Kobus-Cisowska, J., Kmiecik, D., Gramza-Michalowska, A., Golczak, D., & Korczak, J. (2016). Antiradical capacity and polyphenol composition of asparagus spears varieties cultivated under different sunlight conditions. Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment, DOI: 10.17306/J.AFS.2016.3.26


Li, Y., Yao, J., Han, C., Yang, J., Tabassum, M., Wang, S., Liu, H., & Yin, Y. (2016). Quercetin, inflammation and immunity. Nutrients, 8(3), 167. DOI: 10.3390/nu8030167


Chen, A. Y., & Chen, Y. C. (2013). A review of the dietary flavonoid, kaempferol on human health and cancer chemoprevention. Food Chem, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.11.139


Sakaguchi, Y., Ozaki, Y., Miyajima, I., Yamaguchi, M., Fukui, Y., Iwasa, K…Okubo, H. (2008). Major anthocyanins from purple asparagus (Asparagus officinalis). Phytochemistry, DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.02.021


Mink, P. J., Scrafford, C. G., Barraj, L. M., Harnack, L., Hong, C-P., Nettleton, J. A., & Jacobs Jr, D. R. (2007). Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: A prospective study in postmenopausal women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/85.3.895


Miglio, C., Chiavaro, E., Visconti, A., Fogliano, V., & Pellegrini, N. (2008). Effects of different cooking methods on nutritional and physiochemical characteristics of selected vegetables. J Agric Food Chem, DOI: 10.1021/jf072304b


Fanasca, S., Rouphael, Y., Venneria, E., & Azzini, E. (2009). Antioxidant properties of raw and cooked spears of green asparagus cultivars. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2621.2008.01871.x

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