Artichokes, scientific name Cynara cardunculus. The edible part of an artichoke is the bud within the flower head before it fully blooms. 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.
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.
They have many health benefits which includes cancer prevention, boosting the immune system, lowering cholesterol and protecting against diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Artichokes have also long been famous for detoxifying the body and improving the health of the liver and aiding in digestive issues like indigestion, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diarrhea. Furthermore, these miraculous little thistles can reduce blood pressure, eliminate hangovers, and stimulate urination.
Nutrition Value of Artichoke
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 47
- Total Fat 0.2 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 94 mg – 3% RDA
- Potassium 370 mg – 10% RDA
- Total Carbohydrate 11 g – 3% RDA
- Dietary fiber 5 g – 20% RDA
- Sugar 1 g
- Protein 3.3 g – 6% RDA
- Vitamin C 19% RDA
- Calcium 4% RDA
- Iron 7% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 5% RDA
- Magnesium 15% RDA
Nutrition Health Benefits of Artichoke
10 Nutrition Health Benefits of Artichoke
1. Reduces Cancer Risk
Artichokes have the highest antioxidant levels out of all vegetables, according to a study done by the USDA, and out of 1,000 plants of different types of foods, they ranked 7th in antioxidant content. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals that are natural byproducts of cell metabolism that can lead to a number of dangerous conditions and diseases in the body.
Artichokes contain polyphenols which have chemopreventive qualities which means they can slow down, stop, or completely reverse the effects of cancer in any patient. They also have high level of quercetin and rutin, two specific antioxidants that have been proven to reduce the chances of developing cancer.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that has been shown to actively discourage conditions like mucositis and fibrosis, and also to reduce the chances of breast cancer.
Studies have also shown that the extract from artichoke leaves can be used to induce cell apoptosis (cell death) as well as cell proliferation when injected in cancerous masses, and can reduce the chances for and effects of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. The flavonoids in them have been found to reduce chances of breast cancer as well.
2. Heart Health
Artichokes contain certain substance in their leaves that 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.
3. Regulates Blood Pressure
Artichokes are rich in potassium which helps neutralize the effects of excess sodium which leads to an increase in blood pressure. Potassium is also a vasodilator which helps reduce stress on the blood vessels thereby reducing blood pressure.
4. Aids in Digestion
Artichokes are a rich in dietary fiber which is essential for improving the health and functionality of the digestive system. Fiber adds bulk to the food and helps to keep the bowel movements regular and decrease the symptoms of constipation, fiber can reduce chances of a variety of stomach and intestinal cancers, as well as bloating, cramps, excess flatulence, and general discomfort in the stomach.
Artichokes soothe inflamed gallbladders and can solve the common problem of a blocked duct in the organ, thereby allowing normal function. Therefore, in a way, artichokes can be said to stimulate the production and secretion of gastric juices, as well as bile, which also aids in smooth digestion.
5. Liver Health
Artichokes has cynarin and silymarin which has been shown to improve the overall health of the liver by reducing the presence of toxins and facilitating their elimination from the liver and the body. Some studies have even shown these antioxidants to actively promote regrowth and repair of damaged liver cells.
6. Brain Health
Potassium in artichokes acts as a vasodilator and allows more oxygen to reach the brain for elevated cognitive function. Phosphorous is also essential for brain health as it is found in the brain cells. Phosphorous deficiencies have been associated with a serious decline in cognitive ability.
7. Strengthens Bones
Magnesium, phosphorous and manganese found in artichokes are essential minerals of increasing bone health and density, thereby reducing the chances of conditions like osteoporosis.
8. Foetal Development
Artichokes are essential for pregnant women as it has folic acid that helps prevent neural tube defects from occurring in newborns. The neural tube closure process in vitro requires a certain amount of folate to occur properly, so folic acid is an essential part of a pregnancy diet.
9. Boosts Metabolism
Artichokes have magnesium and and magnesium which are essential for the metabolic process. Magnesium is an important part of protein synthesis throughout the body, as well as optimizing the intake of calcium by the body, further strengthening the bones. Manganese is slightly more involved than magnesium, and it impacts the metabolic rates of cholesterol, amino acids, and carbohydrates.
10. Skin Care
The antioxidants in artichokes helps reduce oxidative stress which contributes to skin diseases, such as dermatitis, aging, and skin cancer. A reduction in reactive oxygen species can reduce DNA and cellular damage. Cynaropicrin is a major bioactive chemical in globe artichoke extract. It reduces oxidative damage caused by UV rays and protects the skin.
Artichoke Side Effects
1. Artichoke Inulin is a FODMAP
Inulin in artichoke is a FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols). People who are sensitive to FODMAPs may react to artichoke extracts or other supplements that contain inulin. Some side effects include flatulence, a feeling of weakness, and hunger.
2) Allergies to Artichoke
Skin contact with the plant can cause allergic reactions. However, oral ingestion of the extract has not yet shown any allergic reactions.
Artichoke belongs to the daisy/Asteraceae family. People who are allergic to dandelions or other plants of the daisy/Asteraceae family might also be allergic to artichoke.
3) Avoid In Cases of Gallstones or Bile Duct Occlusion
Patients with gallstones or bile duct occlusion should not take artichoke extract because it stimulates bile acid production.
4) Don’t Take High Doses of Artichoke Extract
In cell-based and animal studies, high doses of artichoke leaf extract damaged the cells. It can lead to oxidative damage as well as DNA mutations.
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