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Most of us buy and eat asparagus because, frankly, it is completely yummy but there is a lot more to this in-season vegetable than meets the eye and taste buds. Shaped like a spear, asparagus is quite literally a nutritious weapon to ward off a plethora of health impeding nasties and the ravages of ageing.

Here are five facts that you probably did not know but should about eating our spear-ited green vegetable warrior.

Sharpens your defences: A herbaceous plant-along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts-asparagus is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. Eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.

Sharpens your mind: the delicious spring veggie may help our brains fight cognitive decline. Like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12-found in fish, poultry, meat and dairy-to help prevent cognitive impairment. In a study from Tufts University, older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility. (If you’re 50-plus, be sure you’re getting enough B12: your ability to absorb it decreases with age.)

Sharpens your overall well being: In addition to being a great source of fibre, asparagus is packed with folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells delivering more efficient use of your body’s fuels and increased ENERGY!

Delivers youthful vitality: Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, ranking among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This, according to preliminary research, may help slow the aging process.

Fluid be gone: Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic, and increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema (an accumulation of fluids in the body's tissues) and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.