Artichokes are nutrient-dense members of the sunflower family that are native to the Mediterranean region. The high nutritional profile of artichoke contributes to its health benefits. They’re frequently served with vinaigrette, hollandaise, or butter-based sauces after being boiled, roasted, or steamed.
What Are Artichokes?
Artichoke, often known as globe artichoke and scientifically known as Cynara scolymus, is a sunflower family vegetable. The edible parts of the plant are the flower buds (before the flowers blossom). In German, it’s known as ‘artischoke,’ in French as ‘artichaut,’ in Spanish as ‘alcachofa,’ and in Chinese as ‘chao xian ji.’
The bioactive compounds apigenin and luteolin are abundant in artichoke, and the artichoke flower heads have the highest antioxidant activity of any vegetable. There are over 140 artichoke kinds, but only 40 are commercially farmed and sold as food.
Furthermore, artichoke leaf extracts are more healthy than artichokes. Because polyphenolic chemicals are found in higher concentrations in the plant’s leaves, this is the case. Cynarin, which acts on liver cells to increase bile production, is one of the most important chemicals in the artichoke leaf extract.
The globe artichoke extract (extract from the globe of the artichoke) and the cardoon extract (extract from the leaves) are two varieties of artichoke extract that both have strong antioxidant qualities.
What Is The Artichoke’s History?
The term ‘articiocco’ is thought to have given rise to the name artichoke (ciocco means stump). Artichoke eating can be traced back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. This plant may now be found throughout the Mediterranean region and is a staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Around 1530, the Dutch introduced artichokes to England. A French physician employed artichoke leaf extract to treat jaundice that didn’t respond to medications in 1850, prompting a surge in research. Artichokes’ health benefits were first publicized in the United States in the nineteenth century. California now produces nearly all of the artichokes in the United States. Green Globe, Big Heart, Desert Globe, and Imperial Star are some of the other artichoke kinds, with hues ranging from dark purple to pale green.
Health Benefits of Artichoke
Artichokes are high in fiber, which helps with digestion and weight loss. It also balances blood sugar and cholesterol levels, the latter of which improves heart health. While key antioxidants like quercetin and gallic acid aid to prevent cancer, other antioxidants found in artichokes help to promote skin and hair health.
(1) Prevent the spread of cancer
In multiple studies, artichoke extracts were discovered to have unfavorable effects on breast cancer cells. Artichokes have also been shown to reduce the activity of liver cancer cells in studies. All of this is due to silymarin, a flavonoid present in artichokes that have been discovered to be an anticancer agent.
The antioxidants rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid contained in artichokes were discovered to inhibit the formation of malignant cells. Artichoke polyphenols have also been reported to cause cancer cell death.
According to previous studies, the antioxidants in polyphenols also kill pancreatic cancer cells. Apigenin, one of the substances found in artichokes, is responsible for this.
(2) It improves heart health.
Artichokes have a lot of fiber, which is good for your heart. According to one Italian study, artichokes have a lipidic and glycemic-lowering effect, which significantly improves heart health.
Artichoke leaf juice was also discovered to have antihypertensive properties, particularly in patients with moderate hypertension. Lowering blood pressure is another strategy to keep the heart healthy and free of disease. This can be linked to the vegetable’s potassium concentration.
According to one German study, artichoke not only lowers bad cholesterol but also raises good cholesterol levels. The artichoke leaf extract increases bile flow, which is important for the removal of excess cholesterol from the body. The vegetables also include cynarin and lactones, which inhibit cholesterol formation.
(3) It Might Help Your Hair
Artichokes are high in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as phosphorus and calcium, which help to rejuvenate dry, dull hair and give it a lustrous, bouncy appearance.
Green artichoke leaves can be cooked for around half an hour. Allow the solution to cool completely before straining it. Massage the scalp with your fingers. You can leave it on overnight and wash it in the morning with warm water. This not only improves the appearance of your hair but also heals dandruff and dry scalp.
(4) It Has the Potential to Help You Lose Weight
Artichokes may help you lose weight because they’re high in fiber. Fiber aids in the removal of waste, sugar, toxins, and extra cholesterol from the body, all of which can contribute to weight gain. Fiber is one of the best ways to prevent visceral fat, according to studies (the kind of fat that gets accumulated around your internal organs).
Fiber can also expand in your intestines, keeping you full for longer. This, by default, keeps your body weight in check.
Artichokes are extremely low in calories and fat, making them a great choice for a weight-loss regimen. Artichokes have a high fiber content, which helps to speed up metabolism. Other nutrients, such as niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, have optimal metabolic activity as well.
(5) Boost your immune system
Artichokes may aid in the improvement of immunity.
One reason is that artichokes are high in vitamin C, which helps to keep your immune system in good shape. Also, because artichoke is a strong prebiotic, it increases gut flora, which boosts immunity.
Artichokes are also high in iron, which helps to maintain a healthy immune system. Furthermore, because vegetables are high in a variety of phytonutrients, they help the body’s defenses against disease.
Artichokes have a high protein content, which helps to boost immunity because protein is essential for cell renewal.
(6) Preventing Birth Defects
The fact that artichokes are high in folate explains everything. Adequate folate intake before and throughout pregnancy reduces the risk of birth abnormalities in the baby, which can include brain or spinal cord underdevelopment. These problems can be avoided by taking 400 to 800 mcg of folate every day. 107 mcg of folate are found in one medium artichoke.
Artichokes contain folic acid, which is a cofactor in enzyme activities and DNA synthesis, both of which are critical, especially during pregnancy.
According to some sources, getting enough folate can reduce the chance of birth abnormalities by up to 70%.
(7) Enhance your mental abilities
Artichokes provide the necessary vitamin K. This vitamin shields the brain’s neurons from harm. This can also assist to minimise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Artichokes also assist in the dilation of blood arteries, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain.
Then there are the anthocyanins in artichokes, which protect the brain and keep it functioning properly. Furthermore, the folate in the vegetable protects memory, and emotional health, and even aids in the treatment of depression.
(8) Assist In The Treatment Of Indigestion And Other Digestive Problems
Indigestion and other digestive problems may be helped by artichokes.
In some parts of the world, the artichoke leaf extract is used to alleviate dyspepsia. The extract boosts bile flow, which helps food move faster through the digestive tract. This is also why the extract can help with fullness and bloating issues.
Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms can also be relieved with artichoke leaf extract, according to a UK study. Furthermore, because artichoke is a fibrous vegetable, it feeds the beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut, improving gut health.
(9) Aid Detoxification And Improve Liver Health
Artichokes are well-known for their ability to cleanse the liver. Two chemicals found in artichokes, cynarin, and silymarin, have been shown to benefit liver health by lowering the number of toxins in the body. Milk thistle and globe artichoke both have liver-regenerating characteristics (a plant known particularly for its liver-enhancing properties). The vegetable is also believed to protect the liver from harm.
Artichoke leaf extract, according to one Turkish study, decreases oxidative stress in the liver.
(10) Enhance your skin’s health
Artichokes may aid in the improvement of skin health.
Artichokes are high in antioxidants, which help to improve skin health and appearance while also slowing down the aging process. They’re also high in vitamin C, which is one of the most important nutrients for collagen growth. And, because artichokes help with detoxification, this has a positive impact on your skin health, as getting rid of toxins in the body is one approach to improve skin appearance.
Using an artichoke-based mixture can help one’s skin look younger.
Artichokes’ antioxidants also help to avoid oxidative stress, which hurts skin health. Another essential ingredient found in the leaf extract is cynaropicrin, which protects the skin by reducing the damage caused by UV rays.
(11) Assist with Diabetes Management
Artichokes are a fiber-rich vegetable that can help diabetics maintain stable blood sugar levels. The fiber slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, reducing the risk of blood sugar rising. According to one study, Jerusalem artichoke may help diabetes people secrete more insulin.
Glucosidase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose and may cause blood sugar spikes, was discovered to be inhibited by artichoke extract.
(12) Defend Against Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning in the kidneys and other organs can be fatal. Artichokes, on the other hand, were discovered to have an antioxidant impact that reduced lead levels in the blood.
(13) Make Bones Stronger
Artichoke phytonutrients are linked to a variety of health advantages, including enhanced bone strength. They’re also high in magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus, all of which are crucial minerals for bone health.
The phosphorous in artichokes is something we should revisit. This mineral aids in the formation of bones by working in combination with calcium. Artichokes are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that help maintain bone health.
(14) Helps To Get Rid of a Hangover
Artichokes may aid in the treatment of hangovers since they have a favorable effect on the liver. However, we must state that the evidence is inconclusive. One study found that artichoke extract was useless in treating hangovers. As a result, we recommend seeing an expert before consuming artichoke for this reason.
Artichokes: How To Choose And Store Them
Choose artichokes with firm globes that are compact, substantial, and weighty when buying.
The artichoke should have big leaves that are closely packed.
Artichokes with firm heads are the best to choose from.
It’s best if the stem is meaty.
Brown stems are acceptable as long as they are firm, not wilted, slimy, or dry.
Refrigerate the artichokes until ready to use. Wrap this veggie in a thin layer of plastic or aluminum foil. Fresh veggies can stay up to a week in the refrigerator, but it is best to use them as soon as possible.
If you plan to keep cooked artichokes in the refrigerator for more than a day or two, let them cool fully before storing them.
Artichokes should not be stored in the refrigerator after being washed since the moisture causes the vegetable to deteriorate.
Before storing raw or cooked artichokes in the refrigerator, make sure they’re completely dry.
You’ll want to know how to prepare and cook artichokes once you’ve learned how to select and store them. Right?
Artichokes: How To Cook, Eat, And Serve
Artichokes have a nutty, sweet flavor. They are thorny and must be trimmed off all thorns before cooking and serving.
Before cooking, the vegetable must be washed. Peel the outer layer of leaves closest to the stem and slice the stem end of the veggie. Each vegetable’s top should be removed. Trim approximately 1 inch from the pointed head of each artichoke using a sharp, sturdy knife. Cut each leaf tip with a pair of scissors to remove the prickly points from the outer set of leaves.
To keep the vegetable from browning, brush the margins of the leaves with lemon after removing the tips. To avoid injury to the lips or throat while eating the vegetable, remove any apparent thorns.
Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, or baked.
Place the artichokes in a steaming basket with the stems facing up for steaming. When the water is boiling, let them in for around 30 minutes. You might also add some lemon juice to add taste.
To boil the artichokes, immerse them in boiling water for around 30 minutes. During that time, keep it on a high simmer.
Pull the petals apart and season the veggie with olive oil and other spices before baking. Place it on a baking pan after wrapping it in two layers of foil. Preheat the oven to 425°F and bake for one hour. Make sure it’s not overcooked.
Wait, even roasted artichokes are delicious. Even though it is not the usual manner of eating them, you can give them a try.
Artichokes that have been cooked to perfection are silky and creamy, and they hold together wonderfully.
Break each leaf off and dip it into melted butter, mayonnaise, a jalapeño dip, or any other condiment of your choosing to devour the artichoke whole or in half. Draw the base of the leaf through your teeth to remove the sensitive area of the vegetable. The meaty section of the veggie is exposed once the leaves have been removed. This is the heart of the artichoke, which you can eat whole or use in a dish to offer to your family and friends.
Artichokes can be served hot or cold. Remove and discard the fuzzy core at the base of the veggie with a spoon. What’s left is the artichoke’s heart, which is edible, nutritious, and delicious.
That’s fascinating information. However, the recipes you’ll see now will be considerably more entertaining (and delicious too).
What Is The Artichoke Dosage In Different Forms?
This is what the dosage of artichokes would be in various forms.
As Tea- In a cup of boiling water, add one spoonful of dried and crushed artichoke leaves. The tea can be had twice a day.
In tincture form -Mix one part herb with five parts bourbon. Add 15 drops of this tincture to a glass of water and drink it three times a day, before meals.
As a complement– Three times a day, take a 320 mg capsule. Alternatively, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Facts About Artichoke
Some interesting facts about artichoke are as follows.
- The artichoke is technically a flower bud that hasn’t yet flowered.
- The artichoke was thought to be an aphrodisiac by the Greeks and Romans.
- Given the vegetable’s aphrodisiac characteristics, women in some nations were forbidden from eating it until the 16th century.
- Spain and France are the world’s largest artichoke growers.
- Artichokes were first mentioned in a text on the medicinal applications of plants somewhere between 40 and 70 AD.
Where Can I Get Artichokes?
You can purchase them from your local grocery or order them online.
Are There Any Side Effects From Eating Artichokes?
Yes, there are a few.
(1) Liver and Gallbladder Problems
Artichokes are good for the liver, but patients with liver disorders should avoid them. Because the vegetable promotes bile flow, it may have an effect on the liver in some people.
Gallbladder contraction may also be caused by artichoke leaf extract. Anyone with a gallbladder condition should consult a physician before using it. If you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction, you should avoid eating artichokes.
Rashes or hives, itching, and difficulty breathing or swallowing are all examples of allergic reactions.
(3) Effects of Diuretics
Some people may experience more frequent urination as a result of eating artichokes.
Artichokes are vegetables from the sunflower family, and the edible part is the blossoming buds. Artichoke flower heads, which are strong in bioactive chemicals, have the highest antioxidant potential of any vegetable. Artichokes are high in dietary fiber, which can help with digestive issues as well as weight loss.
Artichokes may lessen your risk of cancer and diabetes while also benefiting your cardiovascular, liver, digestive, bone, and skin health. They aid in the cleansing and detoxification of your system, as well as improving your overall health and immunity. Artichokes can be included in your diet and health routine by steaming, boiling, or baking.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not to be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.