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Why You Should Be Eating More Artichokes?

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What’s not to love in artichokes? From its leaves to the heart, artichokes are simply healthy and delicious. But, you might not be aware of its position as a nutrient powerhouse and the amazing health benefits you can have, by adding this into your diet.

We listed down the artichoke’s many benefits to the 10 best and amazing ways that artichokes can positively impact your health.

artichoke
health benefits of artichoke / photo credit: pixabay

Health Benefits of Artichoke:

1. BLOOD PRESSURE

Foods that are rich in potassium such as sweet potatoes, bananas and artichokes, help to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes within your body.

Eating plenty of magnesium and potassium is vital for offsetting the potentially harmful effects of consuming too much sodium. In particular it can help to prevent or fight hypertension or high blood pressure.

2. BONE HEALTH

Artichoke is one of the best foods for acquiring minerals and vitamins, in particular minerals like phosphorous, magnesium and manganese. These minerals are important parts of increasing bone density and health, therefore reducing the chances of conditions like osteoporosis.

3. BRAIN FUNCTION

Artichokes provide at least 12% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K, offer protection against degeneration and neuronal damage, thereby helping to keep cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at bay in elderly people.

In a study which was published by the journal Nutrients, researchers found that consuming a diet that included more vitamin K was linked with better cognition in elderly people.

4. CANCER PREVENTION

Artichokes provide antioxidant protection and phytonutrients, but its cancer prevention benefits extend beyond this.

Quercetin, rutin and gallic acid, are able to induce apoptosis or cell death within the bod. While this may sound like a bad thing, it can actually help in preventing the proliferation of cells which leads to many forms of cancer.

Also, a study which was released by the University of Georg-August showed how phytonutrients present in artichokes can interfere with estrogen receptors and help to blunt the release of PSA or prostate specific antigen. This suggests of the use of artichoke leaf extract for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer in men.

5. DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS

Artichokes are a good source of dietary fiber, which is one of the most beneficial nutritional staples for improving the functionality and health of your digestive system. Fiber adds bulk to the food you eat, which keeps your bowel movements regular, and decreases the symptoms of constipation. Also fiber can reduce your chances of a variety of intestinal cancer and stomach cancers, as well as bloating, cramps, general discomfort in the stomach and excess flatulence.

Also, if you have problems with diarrhea, fiber can absorb excess liquid and form healthy, predictable bowel movements in patients. It also acts as a cleaning crew for excess LDL cholesterol, reducing your chances of heart disease and cleaning up your arteries .

6. FOLIC ACID

Artichokes provide about 107 mcg folic acid per serving. That is more than a quarter of the daily recommended amount of 400 mcg. Women who are pregnant or are attempting to get pregnant, should consume even more folic acid, since it is instrumental in preventing neural tube defects in developing embryos and increases fertility.

Also, folic acid has been associated to prevention of other complications that can occur during pregnancy and childbirth, including cleft lips, pre-eclampsia and congenital heart defects.

The list of pregnancy-related health benefits which are attributed to folic acid is growing, therefore artichokes are a good addition to the diet any nursing mother or pregnant woman.

7. HANGOVER REMEDY

Artichokes can reduce any blockage, is a great salve to your liver and reduce the levels of toxins in the blood by eliminating them from your body.

Therefore, artichokes can also be a perfect hangover cure! Some people chew on a few artichoke leaves after a night of drinking.

8. HEART HEALTH

Artichokes are considered to be a heart-healthy addition to your diet for a plenty of reasons. Certain ingredients presnt in the leaves of artichokes have been known to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL and increase the levels of good cholesterol HDL or omega-3 fatty acid.

Cholesterol is a type of fat that builds up within the arteries of your cardiovascular system. It increases blood pressure, blocks blood flow and can lead to potentiall fatal heart attacks and strokes.

9. LIVER HEALTH

A study published in the Journal of Biological Trace Element Research in 2010, showed significant reduction levels of cholesterol and lipids in the livers of mice fed with a high-cholesterol diet, when given an artichoke extract.

Artichokes and its extracts from the leaves and stems of the plant, have been recommended for liver health. Research indicates that artichokes have qualities that protect the liver and decrease blood lipids, like cholesterol, in the body. Among the most powerful phytonutrients present in artichokes, silymarin and cynarin, have strong positive effects on the liver.

10. METABOLIC FUNCTION

Manganese and magnesium are both vital parts of the body’s metabolic processes, and they are found in significant amounts in artichokes.

Magnesium is an essential part of protein synthesis throughout your body, as well as optimizing the intake of calcium by the body, which further strengthens your bones. Manganese on the other hand, is slightly more involved than magnesium, and it impacts the metabolic rates of amino acids, cholesterol and carbohydrates.

Serving Suggestion for Artichokes:

Before cooking the artichokes, cut and wash the little thorns which are at the end of the leaves. You may also cut the excess stem, as it may be bitter in taste.

You can cook artichokes in a pan of water, add herbs and spices for added flavour. Once cooked, it can be eaten cold or hot. Also it can be served with sauces and dips.

Notes:

Some individuals are sensitive to the effects of artichokes due to allergies, in particular artichoke leaf extract, due to its concentrated form. Since artichokes are technically a thistle and is not a vegetable, they are closely related to daisies, marigolds, ragweed or chrysanthemums. Some people who suffer from those allergies might also have a bad experience with artichokes.

Those individuals with gallbladder conditions or liver disease already, should not add artichokes to their diet because they can exacerbate certain negative aspects of the disease. It should be used as a preventative method for gallbladder and liver disease, not a cure. Also, it does make individuals urinate more frequently, so if you already suffer from an overactive bladder, artichokes could make your minor condition even worse.

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