Artichokes are an intimidating looking vegetable for the unfamiliar. But don't let the sharp spines or geometric exterior scare you off. With a little knowledge and the right dipping sauce, artichoke turns into a delicious and out of the ordinary healthy snack.
Artichokes have many health benefits, here are 10:
-Rich in Antioxidants: Artichokes are packed with phytonutrients with antioxidant benefits that help with everything from preventing cancer to strengthening your immune system. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked artichokes as even higher than dark chocolate, blueberries, and red wine for having the most antioxidants per serving, and they are number 7 out of 20 on the list of the 20 best foods rich in antioxidants from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
-High fiber content: artichoke takes the crown for the highest natural fiber content of any vegetable and on most grains. Many people are surprised to learn that just 120 grams of artichoke has more than 10 grams of fiber, or almost half of their daily requirement.
-Reduce cholesterol: artichokes have been shown time and again to be effective in reducing cholesterol. In two placebo-controlled trials, antioxidants in artichoke leaf extract lowered the patient's cholesterol levels by 4.2% and 18.5%.
-Hepatic function: your liver produces bile to eliminate dangerous toxins and digestive fats. Artichokes greatly help with this process, demonstrably increasing bile as a result of the phytonutrient cynarin, which is found in artichokes. Artichokes are also filled with flavonoid lasilymarin which prevents the process of lipid oxidation from occurring in the cell membranes of liver tissues.
-Improved Digestion: The cynarin and fiber in artichokes make them a great tool for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Bile-producing cynarin relieves bloating and other digestive pains. Fiber helps break down food and keep the digestive system moving. Inulin, one of the main sources of fiber in artichokes, is prebiotic. The prebiotic increases the amount of probiotic bacteria in the stomach.
-Reduce blood pressure: sodium increases blood pressure. Potassium replaces electrolytes and compensates for the negative effects of sodium. Artichokes smile in potassium. Therefore, artichokes lower blood pressure.
Build Strong Bones: Artichokes are rich in vitamin K, containing 12% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance (DRI), and play a crucial role in ongoing bone health. They also have vitamin C, which is involved in collagen formation. Collagen is, among other things, essential for bone health.
-Low Calorie: Artichoke is a great snack because it is very low in calories and fat, but high in fiber, which makes you feel full. Also, the slow process of eating each individual artichoke leaf will psychologically make you feel like you have a great snack.
-Increases immunity: artichokes are rich in vitamin C, which is essential to maintain a healthy immune system.
-Health Folate: Fresh artichokes contain many folic acids, which are involved with enzymes in DNA synthesis. Eating artichoke and getting the recommended amount of folic acid can disrupt your genes.