People love to eat artichokes. What’s not to love? From the leaves to the heart, artichokes are simply delicious. However, you might not be aware of the humble artichoke position as a nutrient powerhouse and the amazing health benefits you can have simply by adding this veggie to your diet. We boiled down the artichoke’s many benefits to the 6 best and unexpected ways that artichokes can positively impact your health.
ANTIOXIDANTS: Artichokes are a superfood in every sense of the word. The phytonutrients in artichokes provide potent antioxidant benefits, and a serving of artichokes provides greater antioxidant benefits per serving than many other foods traditionally considered to be antioxidant-rich such as dark chocolate, blueberries and red wine.
DIETARY FIBER: Currently the average American consumes roughly half the amount of the necessary fiber, leading to many potential health effects such as an increased risk of gut-related diseases and colonic cancer. One 120 g artichoke provides a whopping 10.3 g of dietary fiber, making them a powerful tool for helping to not just keep you regular but also to improve your digestive health overall.
However, the digestive benefits of artichokes are not limited just to their fiber content.
DIGESTIVE SUPPORT: German doctors have long recommended artichoke leaf extract as a gentle remedy for indigestion and upset stomach. This may be due to a compound found in artichokes called cynarin which has been shown to increase the production of bile, helping to speed up the movement of food and waste through the intestines and reduce feelings of bloating.One of the major sources of fiber found in artichokes is inulin, which is a prebiotic. Prebiotics can increase the proportion of probiotics or ‘good bacteria’ in the gut.
CHOLESTEROL: In a 2001 study 143 patients suffering from high levels of total blood cholesterol and were administered with 1800 mg of artichoke leaf extract per day for a period of six weeks.
When compared to placebo the artichoke leaf extract showed a clear reduction of around 20% “bad” LDL cholesterol and 18% total blood cholesterol; the group taking the placebo reduced their total cholesterol level by around 8%.
BRAIN AND COGNITIVE BENEFITS: Artichokes provide around 12% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. This vitamin may offer protection against neuronal damage and degeneration, thereby helping to keep cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at bay in elderly individuals. In a study researchers found that eating a diet that included more vitamin K was associated with better cognition in elderly people.
LIVER HEALTH: Artichokes, as well as artichoke extracts from the leaves and stems of the plant have been historically recommended for liver health. Ongoing research seems to indicate that artichokes have qualities that may protect the liver and decrease blood lipids, such as cholesterol, in the body. Some researchers think that the mechanism for beneficial effects on the liver may be related to increased from of bile from the liver. Among the most powerful phytonutrients in artichokes, cynarin and silymarin have strong positive effects on the liver.
The first time I cooked artichokes, I was intimidated!! This recipe is so simple you can’t mess it up!
Garlic and Lime Artichokes
4 large whole artichokes, top 1 inch and stems removed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Place artichokes stem-side down in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice.
Slightly separate the artichoke leaves with your hands.
Insert a knife blade into the center of each artichoke to create a garlic clove-size space.
Drizzle each artichoke with olive oil.
Press 1 clove of garlic into the center of each artichoke and season with salt.
Tightly wrap each artichoke twice with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Place in baking dish and bake in the preheated oven until sizzling, about 1 hour 20 minutes