Most people consider artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) to be a vegetable, but it is actually a type of thistle. Several species of thistle have medicinal properties, including artichoke. Health benefits of artichoke have been known and used for centuries. This Mediterranean plant can improve digestion and lower blood sugar levels. It also improves liver and heart health.
Artichoke is rich in folate which is very important for pregnant women, since it protects newborns from neural tube defects. Health benefits of artichoke could also increase bone mineral density and reduce the change of osteoporosis. Some people chew artichoke leaves after a night of heavy drinking because of its ability to eliminate toxins in the blood, thus acting as a hangover cure.
There are about 140 different types of artichokes, but only about 40 are grown commercially. Do not confuse artichoke with Jerusalem artichokes, which are unrelated. Artichoke’s name comes from the word “articiocco” which derives from “ciocco” which means “stump”. The edible part is usually called “artichoke heart” which is the bud of the artichoke flower, which should be cut before the flower blooms into a single purple blossom.
Artichoke is sold fresh between February and June or September and December. California produces artichoke year round. You can also grow artichoke in your garden, just make sure you have space since they can grow quite big, up to 6 feet tall!
This vegetable ranges in size from a tennis ball to a golf ball. Pick the heaviest and firmest artichokes you can find. It should be a healthy green color and look fresh. Artichoke is also sold frozen and canned. Rinse canned artichoke before consuming since they have a higher sodium content. Artichokes can be baked, boiled or steamed when cooking. They can be added to dips, pastas, pizzas, salads, soups and more.
Nutritional Content of Artichoke
Health benefits of artichoke include its high levels of antioxidants, one of the highest of all vegetables. This nutritious vegetable has lots of fiber and phytonutrients, improving your liver and digestive health. It can also prevent conditions such as cancer and heart disease. This vegetable can be included in the keto diet.
One artichoke has 63.6 calories, 14.3 grams of carbohydrates, 10.3 grams of fiber, 3.5 grams of protein and 0.4 grams of fat according to the USDA. It contains folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. As well as copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega-3, omega-6, potassium, phosphorous, niacin, thiamin, and zinc.
Artichoke extract, which has high concentrations of plant compounds, is becoming a popular supplement. It provides a concentrated dose of its compounds including cymaroside, cenaron, chlorogenic acid and luteolin. Health benefits of artichoke are especially beneficial to lower cholesterol and fight disease. It is actually derived from the antioxidants and phytonutrients found in the leaves.
Health Benefits of Artichoke
Health benefits of artichoke include a powerful antioxidant called silymarin (just like its relative, milk thistle) that is effective in protecting the liver. A study shows that artichoke may even help regenerate liver cells. This vegetable increases the antioxidant rates in the liver, including levels of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione and glutathione peroxidase.
Cynarin, found in artichoke, can stimulate the production of bile in the liver. Bile is responsible for enabling digestion and absorbing nutrients. Without proper bile production, many essential nutrients and fatty acids could not be absorbed. So even a healthy diet would not provide good health. Health benefits of artichoke include its ability to restore proper gut health and nourish the digestive tract. Improvements in gut flora can boost immunity and reduce symptoms of digestive disease.
High rates of fiber found in artichokes can help reduce inflammation. Artichoke leaf extract is very useful in alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This condition causes an upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Consuming artichoke can help a person defecate easier.
One artichoke has more than a third of the minimum daily fiber target. Consuming fiber is essential for different body functions. It helps relieve conditions like constipation and diarrhea. Fiber is also essential for detoxification of sugar, toxins, waste and extra cholesterol. It also helps the liver work better and makes us feel full after eating. Fiber has the ability to stabilize blood sugar, helping to stop cravings and overeating.
Health benefits of artichoke include its ability to help with weight loss since it can swell up and expand in your intestines and stomach, thus soaking up fluid. Fiber is the part of any plant food that cannot be digested, so it makes its way through your digestive system and body. Without fiber you may gain weight and feel very hungry, bloated, constipated, and bloated. Lack of fiber also affects your mood and energy.
Soluble fiber is a great way to eliminate visceral fat, which accumulates around your organs and can cause diseases. Diets high in fiber can help maintain healthy weight and reduce serious health conditions.
Fiber in artichokes can normalize blood sugar levels, which is necessary for diabetics since spikes and dips in insulin can create problems for them. This fiber also allows glucose to be absorbed more slowly, since it cannot be digested and does not require insulin. Health benefits of artichoke include its anti-inflammatory effects, which can also help treat insulin resistance.
Diets high in antioxidants can help prevent several types of cancer. Antioxidants are needed to fight free radicals and slow down diseases that come with age. Health benefits of artichoke include high contents of rutin, gallic acid and quercetin, which reduce the growth of cancerous cells. According to research, polyphenolic extracts from artichokes induced apoptosis of human breast cancer cells and reduced their invasive potential. Another study shows that it is also effective in protecting from hepatocellular carcinoma.
Health benefits of artichoke include its ability to calm inflammation in the body and improve blood flow. Artichoke extract supplements and juice can fight high blood pressure and hypertension according to research. This vegetable has potassium and magnesium which are important to maintain good blood pressure.
Artichoke contains cynarin which is one of the best natural remedies for controlling cholesterol levels. Its soluble fibers, particularly inulin, are very effective in lowering cholesterol. People with high cholesterol are more likely to develop heart disease and experience stroke or cardiac arrest. Health benefits of artichoke can lower total cholesterol, low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations according to research.
Artichoke is high in iron, which is especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. Iron deficiency is more common in women and children. Low levels of iron can prevent people from being able to focus, make them feel fatigued and have poor concentration. It also weakens the immune system and causes disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut. Anemia is a condition that can develop when iron levels are low for some time. The body cannot produce enough hemoglobin and red blood cells are unable to distribute oxygen throughout the body.
Health benefits of artichoke provide your body with antioxidants that can fight free radicals. Artichoke helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and liver, which means your body can heal skin faster when it comes in contact with pollutants, toxins or is damaged or burned. Vitamin C and vitamin E help produce collagen and prevent premature skin aging.
Side Effects of Artichokes
Health benefits of artichoke should not be used by people who have allergic reactions to plants in the Asteraceae or Compositae families. This includes daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums, ragweed and many others.
Artichokes also increase bile flow, which is naturally released by the liver. So there is a concern that it could possibly worsen bile duct obstruction. Do not consume artichoke or use its extract if you suffer from this condition or have gallstones.