Health Benefits of Artichokes

Although artichokes taste good (particularly when combined with spinach in a dip), are they healthy? Here, we break down the nutrients and advantages of artichokes and offer some delectable ideas for using them in your next meal.

Beautiful, nutrient-rich plants called artichokes are green and gorgeous. But they’re a bit of a vegetable underdog, like Brussels sprouts. In fact, artichokes didn’t even rank among the top 20 veggies sold in the United States in 2021, according to the International Fresh Produce Association. Brussels sprouts also failed to impress.

On your next trip to the grocery store, you might want to pick up a few of these delectable plants. Artichokes are a fantastic source of fiber, which encourages bowel regularity and aids in weight maintenance. They are also packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which strengthen your immune and cardiovascular systems.

Health Benefits

Lower Cholesterol

Artichoke leaf extract may help decrease cholesterol levels, according to preliminary studies. However, artichokes are not yet being advised as a treatment for high cholesterol due to the paucity of studies on these effects and the small sample sizes.

Liver Health

For those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, artichokes can enhance liver function, according to a few modest trials. There is proof that artichoke leaf extract can improve general liver health, even though there isn’t much information yet on how it might affect alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Blood Pressure Control

The risk of heart disease and stroke can be raised by high blood pressure, sometimes known as hypertension. According to one study, patients with somewhat high blood pressure might control their blood pressure by drinking artichoke leaf juice. Even though study is still in its early stages, scientists think that the high potassium content of artichokes may play a role in this impact.

Provider of Protective Prebiotics

Globe artichokes are the green ones you might see at the supermarket. However, Jerusalem artichokes are a different variety of artichoke that have no connection to the common green plant.

Jerusalem artichokes don’t have toothy leaves or green skin like globe artichokes do. In actuality, they don’t resemble globe artichokes at all. They resemble sunflowers and are also referred to as sunchokes. These tubers, which resemble a hybrid between white potatoes and ginger root, can be eaten either raw or cooked. They offer prebiotics and are a fantastic source of inulin.

Important minerals like calcium and magnesium are easier to absorb with the aid of inulin, which also promotes the production of B vitamins. A 2014 study in the journal Biotechnology Reports found that inulin also aids in the prevention of several malignancies, including breast and colorectal cancer.

Strengthens your bones

You can obtain up to one-fifth of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K from one artichoke. This vitamin is crucial for healthy bones, blood clotting, and wound healing. Don’t scrimp on this nutrient if you want to keep your bones strong as you age.

Provides some phosphorus

Phosphorus, another essential component for supporting the body’s processes utilising and storing energy, creating bones and teeth, and filtering waste in the kidneys, is found in roughly 9% of the Daily Value in a whole artichoke.

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Contains helpful antioxidants

Antioxidant qualities of artichokes are well known. Antioxidants are substances that can combat free radicals, chemicals that might harm cells, and are present in vegetables and fruits.

Artichokes contain two unique antioxidants, cynarin and silymarin, in addition to being a fantastic source of the antioxidant vitamin C. The antioxidant cynarin, which is exclusive to artichokes, may have a number of advantages, including lowering cholesterol, promoting liver health, and lowering the risk of atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer. Studies on silymarin’s impact on liver health have been conducted.

Improve your digestion

Thanks to their fiber and cynarin content, artichokes will help your digestion. One benefit of cynarin is that it reduces bloating and discomfort from the digestive system.

Fiber facilitates bowel movement, preventing gas and constipation. However, you must drink enough water for fiber to be effective.

Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Vitamin K is found in artichokes. This vitamin is well recognized for promoting blood clotting, but it can also enhance brain function and so lessen the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The brain’s calcium levels are controlled by vitamin K. (and bones as well). According to research, calcium in the brain is dysregulated in persons with low vitamin K levels, which can lead to Alzheimer’s.

How to Prepare Artichoke

If you’ve never prepared fresh artichokes before, it could seem frightening, but once you get the hang of it, it’s simple. After cleaning the artichoke, remove the stem. Steam the artichoke for 30 to 40 minutes after slightly opening the petals.

You have a few options for how to eat your artichoke after it has been steamed. To get the full health benefits, you can pull the leaves off the artichoke and scrape off the meaty part with your teeth. Some people choose to peel away the petals of the artichoke and only eat the center, or “heart,” but some of the best nutrients are concentrated in the leaves.

You may discover recipes online for a variety of seasoning combinations to enhance the flavor of your artichoke leaves. To add to dips, pasta, or stir-fries, artichokes and artichoke hearts can also be purchased canned or jarred.

Bottom Line

Artichokes are a nutritious vegetable that offer antioxidants like cynarin and silymarin, as well as minerals like fiber, vitamin K, and magnesium. We may easily enjoy artichoke hearts all year long thanks to canned, jarred, or frozen versions of them. Whole artichokes are also a striking yet simple complement to your meal in the spring and fall.

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