Artichokes are one of the oldest known vegetables which have nitrified its consumers since thousands of years. Technically speaking artichokes are flowers but can be classified as vegetables by the way people consume them. These are grown in the U.S. You can find this vegetable in many variations, such as the Frost Kissed Artichokes, the long-stemmed Artichokes, the Heirloom Artichokes and the Globe Artichokes.
These varieties have distinct flavors, and each is unique. You can find Frost Kissed artichokes seasonally in the winter, where the outer layer of the artichoke becomes brown due to the frost. However, these artichokes have a special nutty flavor to them. You can separate the brown parts by cooking the artichokes, and a beautiful green artichoke is ready to be eaten.
The Heirloom Artichokes are also known as the classic green globe artichokes. These are grown from the shoot of the previously harvested artichokes and not from seed. The best part about these artichokes is that they grow slowly and take about nine months to be ready. These artichokes are more dense and meatier which in turn leads to a more flavorful vegetable. The harvest season of this variety of artichokes is in March, April, and May, which is a chef’s dream.
When talking about artichokes, it is necessary to mention the Long stem artichokes. These are delicious, and you get more for less! The best part of this variety is that the stem is an extension of the heart of the artichoke. This stem can be cooked in multiple ways and also used in stir-fry and soups.
Artichoke is a powerhouse of nutrients and fiber. An artichoke can provide more than 20% of the daily requirement of fiber providing 10.3 grams of fiber per 120gram artichoke. Artichokes are a good source of vitamin C, folate, mineral, Iron, phosphorus, magnesium and are also low in sugar and fat.
The artichoke is a fascinating vegetable with history as rich as its heart. In literature, artichokes were first mentioned around 40 -70 AD in the “Greek Herbal of Dioscorides.” This book was about the medicinal uses of plants. This plant has a list of benefits that might go on for ages, but we will discuss a few of its astounding properties.
Artichokes Amazing Health Benefits
1. Improved Metabolism
Artichokes are high in manganese, and this helps the body absorb nutrients properly from the food we consume. In general, this is very useful for people trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
2. Blood Pressure
Artichokes are also high in potassium which like other potassium-rich foods provides a balance of the electrolytes in the human body. Consuming potassium and magnesium will reduce the effects of sodium consumption on the body and fights the effects of hypertension and high blood pressure.
3. Folic Acid
Folic acid is known to increase fertility in both men and women, and also prevent any complications in the development of the embryo. Artichokes provide around 107mcg per serving which is a quarter of the daily recommended amount of 400 mcg.
4. Cancer Prevention
Some of the phytonutrients in artichokes can provide protection from cancer-causing cells, quercetin, rutin and garlic acid help induce apoptosis which helps prevent cancer. Artichoke leaf extract is used in the treatment of prostate cancer in men. University of George- August conducted a study which showed that how the phytonutrients from the artichokes interfere with the estrogen receptors helping blunt the release of prostate-specific antigen or PSA.
The high phytonutrient content of artichokes means that it is loaded with antioxidants. A study from the Department of Agriculture concluded that a single serving of artichokes contains far more antioxidants than foods assumed to be antioxidant-rich such as blueberries, dark chocolate and such.
6. Dietary Fiber
A study showed that men should consume 30 to 38 grams of dietary fiber per day and women between 21 to 25grams. These days’ people are unable to consume even half of this amount which leads to many health issues. If the consumption of dietary fiber is not enough, it may potentially lead to gut-related diseases and colonic cancer. Artichokes are packed full of fiber, and 120 grams of artichoke can provide you with10.3 grams of fiber. This helps to maintain a clean and healthy digestive system.
7. Artichoke Helps Digestion
Fiber promotes a healthy gut and artichokes are your best friend for digestive issues. German medicine has been recommending artichoke leaf extract as a remedy for indigestion and an upset stomach. A compound in artichokes helps produce more bile which speeds up the movement of food and waste. This also helps reduce bloating and water retention. A study conducted on 247 people reported that people taking the artichoke leaf extract supplement were satisfied with their gut health. Inulin in artichokes is a pre-biotic.
8. Cognitive Advantages
The amount of vitamin K present in artichokes is 12 % which protects from diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s decease. Vitamin K promotes cognition, especially in seniors. Vitamin K is also seen as beneficial for bones and may reduce bone loss and risk of fractures.
A study conducted on patients suffering from high levels of blood cholesterol in 2001, showed that when they were given 1800mg of artichoke leaf extract per day for six weeks, there was a clear reduction of twenty percent bad cholesterol. They also observed an 18% decrease in the overall blood cholesterol and the other group who were being given placebo reduced their cholesterol only by eight percent.
10. A Healthy Liver
A study conducted in 2010 involved mice that received a high-cholesterol diet who were then given artichoke leaf extracts. Their cholesterol and lipids levels reduced significantly. Artichoke and its leaf extract are in use for liver health since thousands of years. Ongoing studies show that artichokes have a positive effect on the liver health. Some scientists believe that this may be due to increased bile production. Phytonutrients such as cynarin and silymarin have the most powerful effect on the liver.
11. Bone Health
Vitamin K is found in abundance in the artichokes this not only is beneficial for mental health but for strengthening the bone structure of the body as well. Artichokes are also filled with vitamin C which helps the production of collagen which is the essential connective tissue for overall skin, bones, and connective tissues. The magnesium present in Artichokes helps enhance the absorption of calcium in the body.
Artichoke with all its wonderful benefits is the ultimate superfood which provides many distinct health benefits along with a wholesome flavor profile. It is also known for neutralizing the effect of free radicals.