7 Health Benefits and Healthy Recipes of Artichokes!

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Artichokes are the healthy diet for many reasons: their strong link with the prevention of serious diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, their nutritional effect on the liver and digestive tract, the ability to reduce dangerous inflammation throughout the body , and, of course, its great taste and versatility in recipes as well. Although artichoke hearts are often the most available and consumed part of the artichoke, don’t discard the artichoke leaves so quickly – the leaves are actually where many of the most powerful nutrients in the artichoke are stored. In fact, artichoke extract supplements, which have become more popular in recent years due to their various heart health benefits, are largely derived from the antioxidants and phytonutrients found in vegetable leaves…

7 Health Benefits of Artichokes:

1. They Have Antioxidant Power That Can Help Prevent Cancer:

  • Artichokes are absolutely filled with a series of vital antioxidants and phytonutrients, such as quercetin, rutin, gallic acid and cinnarine.
  • Artichokes are on my list of the 10 most important antioxidant foods due to their high ORAC score (oxygen radical absorption capacity), which tests the power of a plant to absorb and eliminate free radicals.
  • Artichokes are ranked 15th on my list in terms of having a high ORAC score and therefore a powerful ability to combat oxidative stress in the body.
  • One of the most crucial benefits of a food that contains a large amount of antioxidants is its ability to prevent several types of cancer, since cancer cells can grow partially due to oxidation and the accumulation of “free radicals” inside the body when “Are not controlled.”
  • Antioxidants are exactly what our body needs to fight free radicals and stop the onset of diseases that are often seen in aging populations.
  • The antioxidants present in artichokes – specifically routine, quercetin and gallic acid – have been shown in studies that reduce the growth of cancer cells and therefore prevent the proliferation of cancerous tumors.
  • Artichokes have demonstrated their ability to fight cancer in two types of cancer in particular, breast cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. Research published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology and Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that polyphenolic extracts from edible parts of artichokes “induce apoptosis and decrease the invasive potential of the human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB231”.
  • Another study by the Department of Medical Chemistry at the National Research Center in Dokki Giza, Egypt, examined the protective effects of fish oil and artichokes on hepatocellular carcinoma in rats.
  • The researchers concluded, after dividing the rats into eight groups, that “the results indicated that 10% fish oil and 1% artichoke leaves managed to protect to some extent hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, they can be considered as protective foods against angiogenesis ».

2.  Fight Cardiovascular Diseases:

  • The consumption of artichokes and artichoke extract has been correlated with the reduction of harmful cholesterol levels, calming inflammation in the body and improving blood flow.
  • People with higher cholesterol levels are more at risk of developing heart disease and experiencing cardiac arrest or stroke, but fortunately the powerful cinnarine substance found in artichokes is one of the best natural remedies to return cholesterol to a healthy level..
  • The lipid and reducing action of artichoke glycemia also helps prevent coronary heart disease and metabolic disorders.

3.  Detoxifies the Liver and the Digestive System:

  • Because of their ability to increase the production of digestive bile and detoxify the body, artichokes are included in the GAPS diet, which is a diet that was created specifically to nourish the digestive tract and restore proper intestinal health.
  • Eating foods approved by the GAPS diet such as artichokes is correlated with improved intestinal flora, reduced symptoms related to digestive diseases and increased immunity, as well – since much of the immune system remains within the intestine. Artichokes contain a powerful antioxidant flavonoid silymarin, which is an effective liver protector.
  • A specific substance in artichokes called cinnarin has been shown to positively stimulate bile production, which is produced by the liver and ultimately responsible for allowing digestion and helping with nutrient absorption. Without proper bile production, a good diet cannot be used to promote health because many of the essential nutrients and fatty acids are not absorbed properly.
  • Studies have also shown that artichoke leaf extract can be very useful in relieving symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one of the world’s leading digestive disorders. IBS is a condition that often causes painful symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, stomach upset and more.
  • It is believed that artichoke benefits IBS and other digestive disorders due to its high fiber content, the ability to reduce inflammation, and the nutritional effect of artichoke on the intestinal lining and liver.

4.  Excellent Source of Fiber, Which Can Help with Weight Loss:

  • Artichokes are very high in fiber, which is crucial for numerous functions in the body. Fiber keeps the digestive system running smoothly and relieves conditions such as constipation and diarrhea.
  • It has the important role of helping the body detoxify from waste, extra cholesterol, sugar and toxins, in addition to fiber acts to facilitate liver function and make us feel full after eating.
  • Studies have shown that consuming a lot of soluble fiber, such as that found in artichokes, is an excellent way to avoid dangerous visceral fat, which accumulates around the organs and can cause various diseases.
  • A high fiber diet is correlated with maintaining a healthy weight and also reducing the risk of serious conditions, including colon cancer, heart disease and more.
  • Fiber is technically the part of any plant food that cannot be digested; therefore you must make your way through your digestive system and then out of your body.
  • So essentially fiber is the substance that attracts food through your intestines, and without it you can suffer from problems such as feeling too hungry, constipation, energy spikes and falls, mood swings, weight gain, and swelling.
  • Fiber helps with weight loss because it has the ability to swell and expand in your stomach and intestines, absorbing fluid and giving you the feeling of being full.
  • This makes it harder for you to overeat, and it also helps balance cravings due to the fiber’s ability to stabilize blood sugar.

5. Help Control Diabetes:

  • The high amount of fiber found in artichokes has the ability to help keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing spikes and falls in insulin that can lead to serious problems for diabetics.
  • The fiber in artichokes allows glucose to be absorbed into the blood more slowly, and because fiber is a substance that can be digested and does not require insulin, fiber does not count toward the amount of carbohydrates or glucose you consume.
  • It has even been shown that Jerusalem artichoke improves insulin secretion and sensitivity in diabetic rats, which is also promising for diabetic humans.

6. Good Source of Iron, Which Prevents Anemia:

  • A serving of one cup of artichokes provides about 10 percent of an average person’s daily needs for the important trace of mineral iron.
  • While many people think that animal products, such as beef and eggs, are the only and best sources of iron, artichokes are also a good source, especially for plant consumers who need to make sure they consume enough of the vital mineral.
  • An iron deficiency is more common among women, especially premenopausal women, and also among children.
  • Low iron levels can cause fatigue, a weakened immune system, poor concentration and ability to concentrate, as well as digestive disorders such as intestinal filtration syndrome and irritable bowel disease.
  • Even more serious is a condition that occurs when iron levels are low for a continuous time called anemia.
  • Anemia occurs when the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin and, therefore, red blood cells are not able to properly distribute oxygen throughout the body.
  • Eating iron-rich foods is a great way to prevent anemia and the negative symptoms associated with iron deficiency.

7.  Improve the Health and Appearance of the Skin:

  • The foods you eat are the way your body receives antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which finally appear in their appearance because they constitute the layers of your skin. Antioxidants, in the form of vitamins and minerals, help prevent your skin from aging, drying out and losing its texture and appearance.
  • For example, collagen makes up about 70 percent of skin cells, and antioxidant vitamin C is one of the biggest contributors to healthy collagen development.
  • Therefore, not eating enough foods that contain vitamins and antioxidants often causes low collagen production and other skin-related conditions that age prematurely.
  • A strong immune system is also crucial to maintain healthy skin.
  • Immunity is largely based on the health of the intestinal wall and the amount of nutrients that enter the body and are properly absorbed, so your immune system is partially in charge of dictating how well your body is able to protect your skin from infections and the accumulation of unhealthy bacteria.
  • The positive effects of artichokes on the digestive tract and liver mean that your immune system is well equipped to quickly heal your skin once it is damaged burned or when it comes into contact with common toxins and contaminants.

A medium boiled artichoke (about 120 grams) contains approximately:

  • 64 calories
  • 3 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3.5 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 7 micrograms of vitamin B12 (27 percent DV)
  • 8 micrograms of vitamin K (22 percent DV)
  • 9 milligrams of vitamin C (15 percent DV)
  • 4 milligrams of magnesium (13 percent DV)
  • 3 milligrams of manganese (13 percent DV)
  • 343 milligrams of potassium (10 percent DV)
  • 6 milligrams phosphorus (9 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams of copper (8 percent DV)
  • 3 milligrams of niacin (7 percent DV)
  • 1 milligrams riboflavin (6 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram of vitamin B6 (5 percent DV)
  • 7 milligrams of iron (4 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram of thiamine (4 percent DV)
  • 1 milligrams of pantothenic acid (3 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams (3 percent DV)
  • 5 milligrams of zinc (3 percent DV)

How to Buy and Use Artichokes?

  • Almost 100 percent of commercially grown artichokes in the United States today are grown in California. They are available 12 months a year, with the high seasons being spring and autumn.
  • Artichokes are also commonly grown in the Mediterranean region, as well as in other parts of the world where they are frequently used in different types of healthy kitchens. When selecting artichokes, the best are the heaviest and strongest artichokes.
  • The artichoke should have a healthy green color, and should look fresh, not dehydrated. The petals must be closed; This means that the artichoke is fresh, and that it will be tender when eating it. If you press the leaves against themselves, a slight squeak will be created, and this is a good indicator that an artichoke is fresh.
  • A medium sized artichoke is about the size of a tennis ball, and a small one is the size of a golf ball. To keep your artichoke fresh, it must be stored properly. Store the artichoke in an airtight plastic bag and cut the edge of the stem to prevent it from spoiling while it is stored. It is better to cook the artichoke within a week of buying it if possible.

Preparation and Cooking of Artichokes:

  • Start by rinsing the artichoke thoroughly under cold water. There may be a light film on the artichoke, which happens while it is growing, so rinse it well or rub it with a kitchen brush or a towel to clean it. Cut an inch from the top of the artichoke and cut the stem.
  • Then slightly separate the petals. This will allow you to season the whole artichoke. You can also squeeze some lemon juice so it doesn’t brown easily while cooking.
  • Artichokes can be steamed, boiled and baked. To steam the artichokes, place them in a basket with the stem up and, when the water is boiling, leave them for about 30 minutes (when steaming a medium-sized artichoke).
  • You can even add a clove of garlic and a little lemon in the steamer to add flavor. Steaming artichoke is an excellent way to preserve its nutrients, as it does not destroy some of the delicate nutrients and antioxidants.
  • To boil an artichoke, soak it in boiling water and keep it on low heat for about 30 minutes.
  • To bake an artichoke, separate the pedals and season well with heart-healthy olive oil and spices. Then wrap it with two layers of foil and put it on a baking sheet, baking at 425 degrees for about an hour.
  • Be careful with undercooked or undercooked artichokes; when they are undercooked, they can be hard and chewable, and when they are overcooked they can become viscous and soft.
  • When they are perfectly cooked, the artichokes will be silky and creamy and will remain well united. Keep in mind that the larger the artichoke, the more time it takes to cook.

Recipes to Prepare Artichokes:

  • It is easy to eat an artichoke. Start by plucking a petal from the cooked inside of the artichoke. Then remove the soft and delicious meat with clenched teeth. Once you consume all the petals, remove the hairy layer that covers the heart of the artichoke. Then eat the heart, which for most of us is the tastiest part.
  • Artichokes can be served as a snack or as a side dish, stuffed artichokes serve as a delicious addition to a meal and artichoke hearts can be added to salads and pasta. The most complementary condiments for an artichoke are olive oil, lemon, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Another popular and tasty way is to use artichokes in a delicious artichoke sauce. Try my recipe for goat cheese and artichoke sauce.
  • You can also try my Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe and my Baked Italian Chicken Recipe, which also includes artichoke.

Artichokes History:

Did you know that there are currently about 140 different varieties of artichokes? Of these 140, only 40 are grown commercially to be sold as food. The name artichoke comes from the word articiocco, which is most likely influenced by the word ciocco, which means “stump.” Balloon artichoke, the most consumed today, comes from the species of thistle, a group of flowing plants characterized by leaves with prickly spines on the margins. The edible part of the artichoke, usually called “heart,” is actually the bud of the artichoke flower, formed before the flower begins to bloom. The bud in bloom is a cluster of many small flowers in bloom, along with the edible base of the plant. An artichoke plant can grow to be six feet in diameter and three to four feet tall. When the plant blooms, it is about seven inches in diameter and has a vibrant violet blue color. When the plant blooms, it stops being edible and becomes rough, so the artichokes are harvested and consumed before reaching this stage of maturity. The consumption records of artichokes date back to ancient Greece and the Roano Empire, where we find texts that indicate that these populations consumed the natural variant of the artichoke, thistle. Today, this native plant is found in the same areas of the Mediterranean where it remains a staple in the healthy Mediterranean diet. The artichoke was known in these times for being a delicacy and a natural aphrodisiac; He was also known for helping to ensure the birth of children. Artichoke seeds were found during an excavation in Roman times, and were brought to North Africa shortly after, where many more people were introduced to the health benefits of artichoke. Varieties of artichokes are also grown in Sicily since the classical era of the ancient Greeks and in Naples since the mid-ninth century. Records show that some of the richest elitists also enjoyed artichokes; When they were introduced to England by the Dutch, they were grown in the garden of Henry VIII in Newhall around 1530.

During the 19th century, the health benefits of artichokes were brought to the United States. French immigrants who settled in Louisiana brought artichokes around 1806, where they began to venture into French Creole cuisine. The Spanish, settling in the Monterey region, California, brought artichokes to the west coast of the US. in the late 1800s, where they are still grown and enjoyed today. The way artichokes landed in the northeast is actually a funny story. In the 1920s, a mafia member known as the “King of the Artichoke” bought all the artichokes sent to New York from California for $ 6 a box and created an artichoke producing company. He sold the artichokes with a profit of 30 to 40 percent and attacked and terrorized his competitors, until finally the mayor of New York declared illegal the sale, exhibition and possession of artichokes in New York. Fortunately, the ban was lifted after only one week.

Possible Side Effects of Artichoke Consumption:

  • For a small percentage of people, artichokes can cause some side effects, such as intestinal gas and allergic reactions. Those who are allergic to plants such as marigolds, daisies and other similar herbs have the highest risk of having an allergic reaction.
  • Artichokes can cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to Asteraceae / Compositae plant families. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies and many others, so if you have allergies to any of these, be sure to check with your doctor before taking artichoke extract or eating artichokes.
  • There is also concern that artichokes could worsen bile duct obstruction by increasing the flow of bile, which is the fluid naturally released by the liver. If you have this condition, do not use artichoke extract or consume artichoke without first discussing your decision with your doctor. By increasing the flow of bile in the body, gallstones can get worse, so if you suffer from gallstones, use caution when consuming artichokes.

Final Thoughts on Artichokes:

  • Artichokes have antioxidant power that can help prevent cancer, fight cardiovascular disease, detoxify the liver and digestive system, provide fiber and help control weight, help control blood sugar and diabetes, provide a good source of iron to fight anemia, and improve skin health and appearance.
  • When selecting artichokes, the best are the heaviest and strongest artichokes. If you press the leaves against themselves, a slight squeak will be created, and this is a good indicator that an artichoke is fresh.

 

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