One of those plants that you might have a hard time convincing your young ones to eat, artichokes are a beneficial food that can be prepared in a lot of different ways. While most people correctly assume that the artichoke is a vegetable, there are many that simply know it as an edible flower. Whatever you refer to the artichoke as, just know that you should be eating more of them as it can do wonders for your body.
Artichokes are readily available around the world, with Italy, Egypt and Spain leading the way in production. So unlike some of our superfoods that we have looked at, artichokes are easy to find and are typically very cheap. What is it about artichokes that make them so good for you, though? Let’s take a look at some of the great proven health benefits that artichokes can bring.
Packed With Nutrients
Eating one medium artichoke can bring a ton of beneficial vitamins and minerals to your daily diet. There is a significant amount of protein (eight percent of daily recommendation), though the amount of fiber is amazing at 28 percent of your recommended value. You are also getting more than 20 percent of your recommendation of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate with each serving of artichokes.
Though not as significant, you are still getting a good portion of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and riboflavin through artichokes. As for the minerals, artichokes are a significant source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and copper. As if all of that wasn’t good enough, there are also omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to be found, making artichokes a very versatile food.
Artichokes are consistently rated as one of the best foods that you could possibly eat for weight loss. For starters, the glycemic index value for artichokes is only four, and it’s recommended that you keep your daily number below 100. The high fiber content will also help you feel more full and allow for better digestion, boosting your metabolism in turn.
Above all else, artichokes (especially when raw) are extremely low in calories. From one medium raw artichoke, you get all of those great nutrients that we had listed above, and all for just 60 calories. There aren’t many foods that are that nutrient-filled while still having very few calories, which certainly means you should be adding artichokes to any weight loss plan.
As science has progressed through the years, we have found out how important it is to incorporate more antioxidants into our diets. The buildup of germs and free radicals can cause some nasty diseases, with many of them chronic. Eating foods that are more rich in antioxidants ensure better overall health, and artichokes are toward the top of the list of best antioxidant foods.
In fact, one study showed that artichokes proved to have more antioxidants than fruits such as cranberries and blueberries, as well as pecans and red wine. It was a bit of a surprise when those figures came out, and has helped see a spike in artichoke sales. Keeping your body high in antioxidants will help your body fight off a bevy of diseases that range from minor inconveniences to life-threatening.
Clearing the Path
Many people suffer from frequent indigestion, and that can be helped out with regular artichoke consumption. One study has shown that artichokes (especially the leaf extract) can help to relieve digestive pain that is caused from indigestion and other disorders. Bloating, diarrhea, constipation and others can be relieved with eating artichokes, and getting rid of that pain naturally without pills might be a welcome sign for many.
Not only that, but the fiber content in artichokes will help your digestive system operate more efficiently overall. When you don’t have to constantly worry about going to the bathroom or trying to relieve pain, it’s going to make your day go much easier. Especially since you won’t fele as dragged down from an ailing digestive system, allowing for more energy.
There are millions of people that have been diagnosed with high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Incorporating more whole foods like artichokes can help you to control your numbers, and it actually doesn’t take very long. In one study, diets that contained more artichokes helped to lower LDL cholesterol by up to 20 percent, while lowering total blood cholesterol by nearly the same level.
Your blood pressure can see a benefit through the potassium found in artichokes, as well. The best way to do this is by eating artichokes raw, as many people boil and salt them to where it isn’t as effective. With the potassium and reduction of sodium, your body’s electrolyte levels will balance and flush out excess sodium in the body. This is also a helpful tool for those that have problems retaining too much water.
For Your Liver
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, and having it function at high efficiency will allow you to live a long and healthy life. Your liver cells can take a lot of damage from trying to process many of the foods and toxins that you have ingested, but that can be prevented through artichokes.
Many studies have shown that artichoke extract has the ability to prevent injury to the liver, while decreasing the fat and cholesterol levels. Without the accumulation of fat in the liver, the function will improve tremendously. Add in the benefits that the high fiber content brings, and your liver will finally be thanking you for once.
Summing it Up
Artichokes might not be your favorite tasting vegetable in the world, but it’s not like you have to scarf down pound after pound of them to get the great benefits. Just making sure that you are eating artichokes a few times per week will go a long way, and the better feeling that you get might convince you to eat them more often. Other than the taste you might like, however, are there any negative effects from artichokes?
You shouldn’t eat too many artichokes, as it can increase your body’s bile production to an unhealthy level. This could result in obstruction or gallstones, though it is a rare occurrence. Some people are also allergic to artichokes (again, this is rare) and pregnant women should be careful since there aren’t many studies on the effect of artichokes. Just use common sense, and speak with a doctor to find out if you are allergic to artichokes or any other vegetables.
Once those concerns are cleared up, add a few artichokes per week to your diet and start feeling better. Your liver, heart, waistline and more will all see the benefits within a short amount of time.