Artichoke is a winter flower bud found in the Mediterranean regions and their cuisines. It is well-known for its culinary and health benefits which include certain medicinal effects. It scientifically belongs to the Cynara family.
Artichokes grow on trees or rather artichoke plants that are about one to two meters tall with silver-green leaves. The globes measure about six to ten cm in diameter with a weight of around 150 grams. The edible portions of its bud are the lower fleshy part and base. They are often categorized based on the size, color and spine of the cultivars. Artichokes are generally found in green and purple colors, in medium and big sizes.
Below listed are the artichoke health benefits.
1. Low Fat and Calories:
Artichoke enjoys a stardom status in many dishes prepared across various cuisines, while being low in fat content as well as calories. This enables you to enjoy it in good proportions in your meals without the guilt of gaining weight.
2. Dietary Fiber:
Fiber is a very important dietary component which helps to improve digestion by enabling better bowel movement. This ingredient is a rich source of dietary fiber, making it a favorite among digestion enhancers.
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3. Vitamin Source:
Another health benefit of artichoke is that it is a good source of folic acid that is a co-factor in enzymatic reactions. It is also beneficial for the synthesis of DNA during the pre-pregnancy period and to treat neural tube defects.
4. Cholesterol Reduction:
Artichoke contains components like cynarin and lactones that are helpful for preventing cholesterol synthesis, keeping the heart healthy. It improves the secretion of bile that causes the reduction of overall cholesterol levels in the blood.
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The artichoke is known to have antioxidants that are very important to prevent waste reactions occurring due to free radical formation. Even many cancerous reactions can be prevented by consuming this flower bud.
6. Inflammation and Infections:
A good proportion of Vitamin C in artichokes makes it possible for the body to resist inflammatory reactions and also to prevent infections to a good extent.
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7. Bone Health:
The Vitamin K content found in this food product is also known to improve bone health. It achieves this by promoting bone-forming metabolic activities. Neural damage to the brain is also prevented by the presence of this vitamin.
8. Alzheimer’s Disease:
Due to the strong effect of some vitamins like Vitamin K which is very useful for the neural system, artichokes are a good source for the production of Alzheimer’s drugs.
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9. Optimum Metabolism:
A number of vitamins found in artichokes like niacin, Vitamin B-6, thiamine and pantothenic acid are known to induce optimum metabolic activities, thus helping in keeping the body healthy.
10. Blood Pressure:
Potassium content in artichokes is known to regulate blood pressure, thus keeping the heart healthy.
Artichokes: Skin Benefits
11. Youthful Appearance:
Besides being excellent for health and metabolism, artichokes are known natural agents for better skin and hair. Wondering why? The rich supply of antioxidants and peptides in artichokes improves skin texture and nourishes the cells, getting rid of fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes for a smooth, youthful appearance! Antioxidants prevent damage to the skin that occurs as a result of free radical formation.
Individuals suffering from skin ailments can consume a concoction of artichokes for improved, nourished and younger looking skin. Wash an artichoke well, chop off the base of the vegetable and let it boil on high heat for about an hour. Reduce the heat after an hour let the vegetable simmer for about half an hour. Drink a glass of the artichoke juice in water. You can add a tablespoon of honey for taste. You can drink the liquid either hot or cold. This concoction is tremendously beneficial for the skin and one can notice an immediate effect on the skin quality in a few days of drinking artichoke juice.
12. Anti Ageing Products:
Many skin creams, gels, potions and lotions contain artichoke extracts for its skin luminosity and anti-ageing properties. The vegetable also promotes blood circulation throughout the body for improved and younger looking skin. Artichokes reduce the cholesterol in the blood, thus promoting a healthy liver, which in-turn leads to healthy and nourished skin as the liver eliminates toxins from the body.
What’s more? The benefits of the artichokes are not limited to just the skin! This vegetable also helps nourish and condition you hair. More about it follows!
Artichokes: Hair Benefits
13. Bouncy Locks:
Artichoke is a rich source of Vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium and phosphorus. These minerals replenish dry, damaged, dull and lifeless hair to improve the quality of your locks for voluminous, bouncy, smooth and soft locks. One can use artichoke juice by boiling green artichoke leaves for about half an hour. Allow the solution of artichoke juice and water to cool for about three hours. Strain the liquid and massage into the scalp. Leave overnight and wash with warm water and mild shampoo in the morning.
14. Cleans Dandruff:
The artichoke liquid helps repair damaged locks, form a protective layer over the hair shaft, restores minerals to dull hair and cleans the scalp of dandruff.
Selecting and Storing Artichokes:
Now that you are convinced and off to shop for artichokes, it is important you know how to pick for the freshest and choicest of the produce out on sale. When shopping for artichokes, pick out vegetables with a firm globe that is compact, solid and heavy. The artichoke should have tightly packed large leaves. The best artichokes to pick are those with firm heads. The stem should be fleshy. Brown stems are fine as long as they are turgid and not wilted, slimy or dry.
Store the artichokes in the refrigerator. This vegetable should be loosely wrapped in a plastic or aluminium film. Fresh vegetables last up-to a week but it is better to consume them as quickly as possible. Cooked artichokes should be cooled completely before storing in the refrigerator, if they are kept for more than a day or two. Do not place washed artichokes in the refrigerator for storage as the moisture causes the vegetable to spoil. Ensure raw or cooked artichokes are dry before storing in the refrigerator.
Cooking and Consuming Artichokes:
Artichokes possess a sweet, nut-like flavor. These artichokes are thorny and need to be cleared of all thorns before they can be cooked and served. To cook an artichoke, one must first wash the vegetables before cooking. Slice the stem end of the vegetable off and peel the outer layer of leaves closest to the stem. Remove the top from each vegetable. Use a sharp sturdy knife and trim about an inch from the pointed head of each artichoke. To remove the prickly tips from the outer set of leaves, use a pair of scissors to cut each leaf tip.
Ensure you brush the edges of the leaves after removing the tips with lemon to prevent browning of the vegetable. Remove any thorns visible to you to prevent damage to the mouth or throat while consuming the vegetable.
To consume the artichoke whole or a part of the vegetable, break each leaf off, dip into melted butter, mayonnaise or a jalapeno dip or any other sauce of your choice. Remove the tender portion of the vegetable by drawing the base of the leaf through your teeth. Once you have removed the leaves from the vegetable, the fleshy portion is exposed. This is the heart of the artichoke that you can cut into pieces and consume or add to a recipe and serve to your family and friends.
Hope this article on benefits of artichokes was informative and helpful. So try to incorporate artichokes into your daily diet for a fitter, healthier, better lifestyle! Stay healthy, stay happy.
Artichoke: Nutrition chart
About 100 grams of artichoke contains 47 kcal; 10.51 gram carbohydrates; 3.27 grams protein and 0.15 grams fat. With dietary fiber at 5.4 grams, this is a good source of basic nutrients and other minerals such as potassium, calcium, copper, iron and manganese.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.15 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||5.4 g||14%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.338 mg||7%|
|Vitamin C||11.7 mg||20%|
|Vitamin A||13 IU||0.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.19 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||14.8 µg||12%|
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