Mistaken for vegetables at times, artichokes are a great way to improve your health and protect yourself from various diseases.
While they are often used as a vegetable, artichokes are, in fact, thistles. Native to the Mediterranean area and found in the cuisines that come from the same location, artichokes offer up several health benefits. Artichokes are a rich source of antioxidants – more so than red wine or even cranberries. Antioxidants, such as cynarine, silymarin, and sesquiterpene-lactones, work to fight against free radicals in the body that can lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Also aiding in the fight against free radicals are several important nutrients, including vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and helps in the prevention of free radical formation and several B-vitamins (vitamin B6, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and niacin) which are instrumental in cellular metabolic function.
Artichokes provide a high amount of fiber – a little over ten grams for every 120-gram serving. This is more than broccoli, prunes, or even lima beans. Not only does a healthy dose of fiber keep the digestive system in good order, it is vital in lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Also helping to lower cholesterol levels are cynarine and sequiterpene-lactones which both prevent cholesterol synthesis and promote its secretion in the bile. Lower levels of “bad” cholesterol mean a reduced risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke. Artichokes also have respectable amounts of vitamin K, calcium, and phosphorous – all three of which are necessary in maintaining healthy bones and preventing diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Vitamin K also helps to limit neuronal damage in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Important to one’s neurological health is vitamin B12, also found in artichokes. Pregnant women who eat artichoke will be happy to learn that it is a great source of folic acid, a B vitamin that prevents not only neural tube defects in still-forming babies, but congenital heart failure and other defects as well. While some artichoke is GMO, non-GMO artichoke is also on hand and should be purchased when available. GMOs, although still being studied day-to-day, have some serious health concerns and, in our opinion, simply isn't worth the risk of consuming them.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
- increased bile flow, possibly leading to bile duct obstruction
Ingredients to be aware of
- lowers cholesterol
- fights free radicals
- prevents heart disease
- strengthens bones
- boosts immunity
- helps maintain metabolic function
- promotes digestion
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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-27-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
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