The Many Health Benefits of Artichokes

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The Many Health Benefits of Artichokes

The many health benefits of artichokes, and the artichoke, or more specifically called the globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus), is actually a bud that grows on a certain kind of thistle. Because they are Mediterranean natives, those that are produced in the US are grown in warm climates such as southern California. These versatile vegetables are not just tasty, they have many benefits to your health as well. Here are some of them.

1. Liver Tonic
They contain cynarin, a phytochemical (or plant chemical) that improves liver function. It increases the production of bile. They can help to cleanse the liver of toxins and impurities, thus improving overall liver and body function. The herb milk thistle, which is well known as a liver tonic, and artichokes – also a thistle – are closely related.

2. Digestion

Dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome have both been shown to benefit from artichoke consumption. Dyspepsia is generally considered a result of low bile function, and as noted above, they can also help increase bile production. Their high fiber content can also aid with digestive problems as well.

3. Cardiovascular
These are very good for the blood. Not only do they contain iron, but they also enhance the speed at which blood clots. The cynarin in these vegetables also helps lower levels of blood cholesterol. This may be attributable to their liver-cleansing effect, since the liver is responsible for the processing of cholesterol. They are also a good source of fiber, and a diet rich in fiber is associated with cardiovascular health.

4. Vitamins and Minerals

These vegetables contain a lot of vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folate.

5. Diabetes

They can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. The reason is the presence of a carbohydrate, which takes the form of insulin. It acts differently than other carbohydrates (sugars), making it low in calories and an excellent food for diabetics.

6. Antioxidants

While berries and red wine get a lot of attention as containing antioxidants, globe artichokes were actually shown to contain more antioxidants than these foods in one study. Antioxidants are implicated in cancer prevention.

7. Urinary Health

Their high potassium content helps prevent kidney stones. They are also a mild diuretic, and have been implicated in aiding bladder problems.

When choosing artichokes to consume, look for compact, dark green leaves. The artichoke should feel heavy for its size. Steam the artichoke whole, after cutting off the stem and removing any damaged outer leaves. Some people slice off the top third or so of the artichoke, removing some of the pointy leaf tips.

When consuming artichokes, pluck off individual steamed leaves and dip them in lemon butter, then scrape the flesh off the base of the leaf with your teeth. Once the leaves are eaten, remove the stiff hairs from the heart and eat it, too. Chop the discarded leaves and brew them into a healing tea.

We hope that The Many Health Benefits of Artichokes helps you to eat healthier!

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