Artichokes are stunning in appearance and rich in nutrition, and they are a healthy addition to any diet. However, they share with Brussels sprouts the status of an underdog among vegetables. Here are some ways in which eating artichokes can improve your health, along with some suggestions for how to include them in your diet. The year 2021 saw artichokes fall off the list of the top 20 most popular vegetables sold in the United States. Also, Brussels sprouts didn’t cut. The next time you’re at the supermarket, though, you might want to pick up a few of these delicious plants. Artichokes are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and can cure constipation, and will be helpful in weight maintenance, and vitamins and antioxidants, which strengthen the heart and the immune system. Artichokes, scientifically known as Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus, are a thistle despite popular belief to the contrary.
This plant has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for millennia due to the belief that it provides therapeutic benefits. Claimed health benefits include reduced sugar in the blood, enhanced digestion, healthier hearts, and stronger livers. In addition, artichoke extract, which is rich in the plant’s natural components, is becoming more and more widely used as a dietary supplement. While artichokes and spinach dip is a great snack, many wonders if the vegetable itself has any health benefits. Of course, the classic spinach and artichoke dip is tasty, but that’s not the lone way to enjoy those hearty little greens. In case you’re unfamiliar with these pinecone-shaped vegetables, fresh artichokes are available in the spring and fall. Here’s what you have to understand about their nutritional value, health advantages, and how to incorporate them into your healthy diet. We’ll go over the health benefits and nutritional value of artichokes.
What are the health advantages of artichokes?
The health benefits of artichokes are numerous and diverse. Artichokes include a fiber that is beneficial to digestion and helps contribute to healthy weight loss. Additionally, it controls the amounts of sugar and cholesterol in the blood, the latter of which is beneficial to the health of the heart. While artichokes are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants like quercetin and gallic acid, they also contain a wide variety of other antioxidants that are beneficial to the health of the skin, hair, and nails. Pinecone-like in appearance, artichokes are also referred to as globe artichokes and artichokes grown in France. Many people consider them to be in the vegetable category, although they are officially the bud of the thistle flower. The choke of an artichoke is inedible, but the heart of the artichoke can be eaten. The artichoke bulb is made up of tough and fibrous outer petals that are greenish-purple non-color.
When the bud opens up to reveal the flower, the artichoke as a whole is no longer fit for consumption. There are two times of the year when artichokes are at their peak: in the spring, between March and June, and in the fall, between September and October. In addition, practically all of the artichokes that are produced in the United States are cultivated in the state of California. Did you know that technically speaking, artichokes are the bud of a thistle flower? The majority of people think of artichokes as being strange-looking green veggies. Artichokes are thought to have originated in the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea; nonetheless, they are currently farmed on every continent. You may also get artichoke leaf extract, which is a concentrated capsule manufactured from the leaf, stem, and root of the plant.
Following are the health advantages of Artichokes
Potentially Beneficial for Blood Pressure Regulation
Those who suffer from hypertension may benefit from using artichoke extract. Consuming artichoke extract daily for 12 weeks resulted in a decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure of 2.76 and 2.85 mmHg, respectively, in a trial including 98 males with high blood pressure. It is unclear how artichoke extract accomplishes its goal of lowering blood pressure. But research in both test tubes and animals shows that artichoke extract boosts levels of eNOS, an enzyme that helps dilate blood arteries. Artichokes also contain a lot of potassium, which is beneficial for keeping blood pressure in check. While artichoke extract has been shown to provide health advantages in tests, it is not known if eating a full artichoke will have the same effect.
Possibly Beneficial to Liver Health
It has been suggested that a substance found in artichoke leaves can help prevent liver damage and perhaps encourage the creation of new liver tissue. It stimulates the gallbladder to produce more bile, which aids in the liver’s detoxification processes. Human studies confirm the beneficial impact on liver health. One study found that 90 persons with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who took 600 mg of artichoke extract every day for two months saw improvements in liver function.
Perhaps beneficial to gastrointestinal health
A healthy digestive system is only one of the many ways that consuming artichokes can help. Artichokes are high in inulin, a type of fiber that promotes a healthy digestive tract in addition to its more well-known benefits of keeping you full and regular.
Possibility of glycemic regulation
Foods high in fiber can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels because they prevent the body from absorbing sweets as quickly. Although most trials are limited or were conducted on rodents rather than humans, artichoke leaf extract may be beneficial for persons with diabetes.
Possibility of anticancer activity
Some study suggests that artichoke leaf extract may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, although this hypothesis has to be confirmed by more investigations. Because of their high antioxidant content, artichokes are beneficial for many health reasons, including protecting the heart and lowering the likelihood of developing cancer.
Can potentially reduce IBS discomfort
Some studies suggest that artichoke leaf extract can alleviate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. But, people don’t know the nature of the action, and sometimes fiber might worsen IBS, so it may rely on what type of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) you’re experiencing (constipation, diarrhea, or both).
Strategies for incorporating artichokes into your diet
Artichokes’ unusual appearance can be off-putting, but despite appearances, they are simple to prepare. Don’t be afraid to pick one up at your neighborhood grocery shop or farmer’s market. If you’re only planning on getting one, it won’t cost you a fortune or be too much to handle. As soon as you come home, just follow the below steps.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the lemon, salt, and garlic.
- Cut off approximately half an inch of the artichoke’s pointed top with a sharp knife, use kitchen shears to flatten the sharp tips of the leaves, then steam the artichoke for 25 to 30 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water.
- The next step is to pick your preferred dip and drizzle it over the artichoke. This may be anything from aioli to mustard to Ranch dressing to melted butter.
- You can eat the soft, fleshy underside of the leaves by peeling them off one by one and then scraping them with your teeth.
Take your time and savor every bite. It’s time-consuming, so it makes you more mindful about how fast you’re chowing down. The leaf is slightly tough, but the inside is sweet and soft, so there are a lot of different sensations to connect with as you chew, not to mention the flavor. If the artichoke holds up after being steamed, the nutritional experts advise grilling it with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. She also recommends removing the artichoke’s heart, marinating it in olive oil and seasonings, and serving it atop pizza or in a salad with feta, olives, and dark leafy greens. It’s commendable that you’re attempting to diversify your diet, even if the artichoke is only something you enjoy once a month.
What is the proper way to roast artichokes?
The best artichokes to buy are those that are substantial in weight and have tightly packed leaves. If the leaves create a squeaking noise when rubbed, you know they’re new. Cooking artichokes doesn’t require a master chef because it doesn’t require a lot of ability. Artichokes take more time than most vegetables to prepare. Put a clean artichoke on its side on a chopping board, and trim off the top inch and a half. Collect the artichoke leaves and trim them and put them in a bowl. To avoid browning, use freshly squeezed lemon juice as a drizzle. Finally, you’ll want to carefully pull the leaves outward from the center, spray avocado oil into the gaps, and then press a peeled garlic bulb into the center. Scatter kosher salt over the vegetables, then move them to a sheet of foil and drizzle them with the bowl’s juices.
Prepare an oven-safe dish by wrapping the artichoke in two layers of foil. Prepare the artichoke by preheating the oven to 425 degrees and baking it for about an hour and 20 minutes. After the artichoke has cooled sufficiently to be handled, you can cut it in half, remove the garlic cloves, and remove the inner leaves, which have a purple tinge. Afterward, scrape out the choke, or the fuzzy, fibrous, inedible portion that surrounds the artichoke’s treasured heart with the edge of a spoon, and discard it. Tear off the outer leaves and eat it alone or with a spread like hummus, and seasoned tahini. On the other hand, you can’t eat the whole leaf. Use your teeth to scrape off the soft interior and throw away the tough skin. Finally, relish the tasty center on its own or with a touch of balsamic vinegar.
The Bottom Line
Artichokes are a low-carb, high-nutrient food that may have several positive effects on health. However, the majority of the evidence comes from tests done with a highly concentrated artichoke extract. When taken regularly, artichoke extract has the potential to improve a variety of health markers, including cholesterol, blood pressure, liver function, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive issues, and blood sugar. To yet, there have been very few reports of adverse effects from using artichoke extract. There is a possibility of an allergy to artichokes and/or artichoke extract. A larger risk exists for those who are allergic to other members of the same plant family, such as daisies, and marigolds. Because of the lack of available safety data, pregnant and nursing women should avoid artichoke extract. Since artichokes and artichoke extract stimulate bile flow, they should be avoided by those who have bile duct obstruction or gallstones.
Dosage guidelines cannot be established at this time due to a lack of evidence. Talk to your doctor before using artichoke extract if you have any doubts. Vegetables like artichokes are great for your health because they include essential nutrients. Artichoke hearts are readily available all year round thanks to their preservation in cans, jars, and freezers. Whole artichokes, which are in season in the spring and fall, are a beautiful and tasty addition to any meal. The use of artichoke leaf extract for therapeutic purposes is not supported by any clinical trials or other scientific data. However, artichoke leaf extract shouldn’t be used in place of prescribed drugs or as an alternative to proper medical attention. Here’s where the supplement starts endangering your health and doing you no favors. Keep in mind that the label “natural” is no guarantee of a product’s safety or quality.