Artichokes (Cynara cardunculus) are known as cardoon in their natural form. Artichokes are common in Europe, Mediterranean regions, Middle Eastern countries and the United States of America.
The edible part of the artichoke is the bud in the flower head before it blooms. As such, artichoke harvest timing is important as they become pretty much inedible when the flowers are fully bloomed. Another important part of artichoke is the “heart”- the base from which other buds sprout. This part is considered a delicacy and could be quite expensive.
Artichokes Nutritional Facts
|Amount Per 100g|
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Total Carbohydrates 11g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 19%
Below are various health benefits of artichokes;
1. Reduces The Body’s Bad Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels in the body constitute one of the most notorious health problems in our generation. Bad cholesterol is harmful to the body since it leads to the formation of plaque in the arteries which in turn leads to cardiovascular ailments. By helping the liver produce more bile juice, artichokes expedite the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. Research has also proven that when artichoke leaf extracts were taken by patients daily, for 6 weeks, their cholesterol levels reduced by 20 percent.
2. Helps Alleviate High Blood Pressure
There is a positive correlation between the formation of plaque in the arteries and the level of blood pressure. This is because plaque causes constriction and rigidity of the arteries which in turn leads to high blood pressure. Since eating artichokes help in clearing blood cholesterol and plaque in the arteries, it leads to the normalization of blood pressure levels in the body.
3. Maintains A Healthy Heart
Bad cholesterol in the blood has long been associated with the formation of clots and blockages in the heart’s valves. This is dangerous as it leads to the blockage of blood supply to the heart and can subsequently lead to incidents of a heart attack. As mentioned above, taking in artichokes helps in the clearing of bad cholesterol from the body. Folate and vitamin K found in artichoke has been found to aid in the breakdown of homocysteine and preventing calcium deposition in the blood vessels respectively. This goes a long way in boosting heart health.
4. Improving Liver Health And Wellness
The liver is one of the primary organs in the body that aid in the detoxifying process along with the kidneys. Sometimes the substances we take in can damage the liver and prevent it from performing its job optimally. Artichoke contains 2 active antioxidants in the form of Silymarin and Cymarin. These antioxidants have been found to aid greatly in the detoxification process and facilitating faster elimination of toxins from the liver and the body in general. They also aid in the regeneration of liver cells in case of damage.
5. Works As A Treatment For Hangovers
Alcohol is a toxin that the body needs to promptly eliminate in order to function properly. While the liver does a good job in eliminating alcohol, excessive alcohol consumption overtaxes the liver and can lead to a hangover. Due to the antioxidants found in artichokes that aid in the detoxification process it is a good treatment for hangovers. You might want to chew a few artichoke leaves after a night of binge drinking.
6. Improves Brain And Cognitive Abilities
As a person ages, their brain and cognitive abilities generally decline which in turn predisposes them to conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer. Artichokes have been found to contain numerous elements that aid in boosting general brain health. They contain phosphorus which is a critical part of brain cells. Maintaining a high intake of phosphorus aids in brain cell regeneration and, thus, improved cognitive capabilities. Artichokes also contain vitamin K which prevents neuronal degeneration and damage. Finally, this amazing plant has been found to allow greater amounts of oxygen to reach the brain hence enhancing brain functionality.
7. Protects Against Lead Toxicity
Lead is a heavy metal that can be found in substances we take in as food or in the air we breathe. Lead is easily absorbed and deposited in the body leading to adverse health complications. These include mental, physical and reproductive dysfunctions as well as various forms of cancers. Artichoke extracts have been found to contain high amounts of cynarin, caffeoylquinic acid and chlorogenic acid. These have a special chelating effect that stops the increase of lead levels in the blood.
8. Helps In Maintaining Strong Bones
When it comes to the strengthening of bones and preventing complications occasioned by weak bones, artichokes are greatly effective. It contains vitamin K which aids in the formation of bones and general support of bone health. Vitamin C contained in artichoke is also crucial when it comes to the formation of the protein collagen which aids in bone formation. Minerals such as phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium found in artichoke also help in boosting bone wellness and density which is effective prevention against osteoporosis.
9. Great Source Of Folic Acid
Folic acid is well known for its immense benefits when it comes to boosting the reproductive abilities of both men and women. Artichokes contain a high amount of folic acid per part which makes it a great addition to your diet if you are trying to get someone pregnant or trying to conceive.
10. Prevention Of Birth Defects
As mentioned above, artichokes contain a high amount of folic acid which is greatly beneficial to pregnant women since it facilitates proper baby development in the womb. The high folate amounts in artichokes aid in the prevention of childbirth defects such as brain underdevelopment, neural tube defects, cleft lips, congenital heart defects, and pre-eclampsia. Due to the extensive pregnancy-related health benefits of artichokes, they ought to be in the daily diet of every pregnant or nursing mother.
11. Prevention Of Anemia
Iron deficiency often takes place in women or people who do not take in adequate iron provisions into their bodies which, in turn, causes anemia. Artichokes are able to provide you with about 10 percent of your daily iron needs. In addition to taking in animal products and other vegetables to boost your iron content, make it a habit to include artichokes in your diet to keep anemia at bay.
12. Guards The Body Against Free Radicals
Free radicals are destructive compounds formed as a result of the day to day processes and functions our bodies undergo each and every day. When these compounds are left unchecked and out of balanced, they run the risk of causing massive stress and causing oxidative damage on cells. Artichoke contains antioxidants that help terminate and neutralize these harmful free radicals back to healthy levels before they can cause any health repercussions in our bodies.
13. Protects Against Cancer
As mentioned earlier, artichoke contains antioxidants such as Vitamin C, polyphenols, rutin and quercetin. These micronutrients go a long way in combating free radicals that are one of the major cause of malignant and non-malignant tumors/cancers, Polyphenols are known to have chemopreventive qualities and are able to stop or reverse the effects of cancer cells in prostate, leukemia, and breast cancer patients. Rutin and quercetin are a pair of antioxidants that help in reducing the chances of developing different types of cancers. Vitamin C, on the other hand, has been proven to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer in women.
14. Improves Skin Health
Artichoke’s leaf extracts also aid in the improvement of the skin’s health. It contains antioxidant compounds such as ferulic acids, caffeic acids, and silymarin that help the body in combating harmful free-radical agents. These compounds slow the aging process and eliminate wrinkles and blemishes caused by these harmful free radical agents in the skin. They also prevent skin disease and cancer. Vitamin C contained in artichoke aids in collagen synthesis which improves skin wellness and makes it look young once more.
15. Improves Hair Health
Artichokes contain minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper which are all vital to healthy hair. Potassium deficiency is the major reason for hair loss while manganese deficiency often results in weaker hair. Copper has been found to aid in hair growth while Iron aids in the nutrition and oxygenation of the hair roots and follicles. Calcium and phosphorus, on the other hand, go a long way in improving overall hair quality, sheen, and strength of the hair.
16. Elimination Of Dandruff
Cleaning your hair using artichoke liquid has long been used to eliminate dandruff although this action was not been fully understood until recently. Artichoke extracts used to cleanse the hair and scalp contain vitamin C which is a great agent for clearing scalp inflammation as well as other scalp ailments or mild infections such as dandruff.
17. Helps In Supporting The Digestive System
Probably one of the most famous benefits of artichokes is their contribution to the wellbeing of the digestive system. Artichoke prevents indigestion by way of stimulating bile which facilitates vitamin absorption, fat digestions and accelerates the gut movement. In the gut, artichoke aids digestion by stopping muscle spasms and increasing the number of beneficial gut micro-organisms. It can also help patients suffering from health conditions such as heartburn, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.
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