Nutrient Decline in Asparagus


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Follow Me on Pinterest Nutrients in asparagus have tended to decline since 1950. Though the change is not statistically significant, asparagus is a good example of the trend toward decline with a loss of vitamin C of over 60%, rioflavin 39%, phosphorous 17%, iron 11%, and calcium about 8%. Read more about the overall trend towards nutrient decline, a trend driven in part by the use of hybrid seed — seed that produces food that travels well or is simply bigger often sacrifices the nutritional content for the hybridized feature. You can act in your own life by gardening and by growing heirloom produce when you do. For heirloom seed, check out the Sustainable Seed Company.

Asparagus: Nutrient Change Data

In the table provided below we include the nutritional content of asparagus from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 values for asparagus are adjusted for water content — a sample with more water will bias the results. These nutrient measures are based on a very small number of data points and none of the individual differences are statistically different, however all together, they suggest that nutrition has declined in smaller garden crops.

Nutrient Change In Asparagus

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
22.8
23
Protein
2.39
2.27
Fat
.22
.2
Carbohydrates
4.2
4.5
Ash
.76
.57
Calcium
22.8
21
Phosphorus
67.31
56
Iron
.98
.87
Vitamin A
1085.71
583
Thiamin
.17
.14
Riboflavin
.21
.128
Niacin
1.52
1.17
Vitamin C
35.83
13.2

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The graphs used to display decline in nutritional content of garden crops on the Traditional Foods site, including change in asparagus, can be reposted and redistributed for noncommercial use with a link back to this particular page or to our article about nutrient decline here.

Nutrient Data Source

The historical data on the nutritional content of garden crops has been published and made available by the United States Department of Agriculture. It was also compiled by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose research we describe on this site. Following the lead of the authors, we adjusted the 1950 asparagus nutrient measures so that the 1950 and 1999 food samples had the same water content.

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