Artichokes are low in saturated fat and cholesterol while being a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain vitamins which include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, B-12, A, E, D, and vitamin K. They also provide minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
One medium artichoke contains almost 7 grams of fiber, which is an amazing 23–28% of the reference daily intake (RDI). These delicious thistles come with only 60 calories per medium artichoke and around 4 grams of protein — above average for a plant-based food.To top it off, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables (2, 3).
Apart from their impressive abilities at fighting cancer, artichokes are also considered a heart-healthy addition to your diet for a variety of reasons. Certain ingredients in their leaves have been found to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL or omega-3 fatty acids).
Cholesterol is a type of fat that builds up in the arteries of the cardiovascular system, blocks blood flow, increases blood pressure, and can lead to potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes.
Artichoke extract affects cholesterol in two primary ways: first, artichokes contain luteolin, an antioxidant which prevents cholesterol formation and second, artichoke leaf extract encourages your body to process cholesterol more efficiently, leading to lower overall levels. Any method of reducing bad cholesterol is worthwhile, so give artichokes a chance at improving your heart health.
Artichokes are a good way to gently improve your heart health and blood pressure. It is helpful in reducing elevated levels of blood pressure but it takes a while for the results to be notices as it works gently and slowly in this regard, so it is a good plant to use in a combination with some other methods for this purpose.
Artichoke leaf extract helps protect your liver from damage and promote the growth of new tissue. It also increases the production of bile, which helps remove harmful toxins from your liver and help relieve symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Artichokes are a great source of fiber, which can help keep your digestive system healthy by promoting friendly gut bacteria, reducing your risk of certain bowel cancers, and alleviating constipation, indigestion, bloating, nausea, heartburn and diarrhea.
Artichokes contain inulin, a type of fiber which acts as a prebiotic.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects your digestive system and can cause stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and flatulence. Certain compounds in artichokes have antispasmodic properties. This means that they can help stop muscle spasms common in IBS, balance gut bacteria, and reduce inflammation.
Artichokes help lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the activity of alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose.
Certain antioxidants found in artichokes — including rutin, quercetin, silymarin, and gallic acid — in artichokes are thought responsible for these anticancer effects.
This vegetable is very dense in antioxidants, such as quercetin and rutin, as well as vitamin C, all of which can help protect the skin from chronic disease and oxidative stress, thus preventing wrinkles, age spots, and blemishes.
On a similar note, artichoke’s dense antioxidant levels will also help you avoid the negative effects of free radicals in the rest of the body, preventing chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are some trace minerals in this herb that can suppress the appetite, which can help to prevent overeating and aid in weight loss goals.
Studies find that artichoke tea is able to increase liver cleansing and reduce toxicity in the body, which will help the metabolism and reduce strain on the immune system.
Artichoke leaf derives from the common globe artichoke, a widely consumed vegetable cultivated by both the early Greeks and Romans. One of the oldest cultivated plants, artichoke is native to Southern Europe, North Africa and the Canary Islands.
Although often considered a vegetable, artichokes (Cynara cardunculus) are a type of thistle which produces a “globe” of edible leaves and a fleshy edible heart.
Since antiquity artichoke has been employed as a bile stimulant and diuretic. As a traditional medicine, artichoke has been used primarily for enhancing liver function. Among traditional healers, artichoke has been used to treat chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and symptoms of diabetes.
The ancient Greeks and Romans regarded artichoke as a valuable digestive aid and the relatively rare plant was reserved for consumption primarily by the elite. In the Middle Ages in Europe, the artichoke was consumed primarily by the royal and the rich.
In traditional European medicine, the leaves of the artichoke were used as a diuretic and as a "choleretic" to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver and gall bladder.
In the early 1900’s, French scientists began to investigate the traditional medicinal uses of the artichoke plant. Somewhat later, Italian scientists isolated a compound from artichoke leaf called cynarin. From the 1950s to the 1980s, cynarin was used as a drug to stimulate the liver and gall bladder and to treat elevated cholesterol. Since that time, cynarin has been supplanted by other drugs.
Artichoke is cultivated in temperate areas in Europe, Africa and the Americas. The “globe” is harvested at peak size, and then is used either for food purposes or for preparation of artichoke-based medicinal products. In the United States, Castroville California, south of Monterey, is the primary center of artichoke cultivation. Artichoke hearts are significant in Mediterranean cuisine, and are often preserved in vinegar.
Timing is key in cultivating them, as they turn hard and nearly inedible once the flower has fully bloomed. Also, one of the most sought-after parts of the thistle is the “heart”, which is the base from which the other buds spring. It is often considered a delicacy or at least the most delicious part of the plant and is generally more expensive.
Preparation: Put a teaspoon of artichoke leaf into a 200ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup three times per day, before meals.
Precaution: Consult your physician before using artichoke products if : • If you have gallstones • there is obstruction of bile ducts.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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