Have you been overlooking artichokes when shopping for food? How many times have you instead opted for asparagus or kale because of their many health benefits? Artichokes actually have a surprising amount of nutrients packed inside them offering many health benefits, maybe more so than other vegetables.
An artichoke has a mild flavor that can be compared to asparagus when boiled. A medium-sized artichoke contains almost 4 grams of protein and is packed full of many nutrients that offer plenty of health benefits. Popular health trends include drinking artichoke juice and artichoke extract supplements, embraced by many individuals in their quest for a healthier diet.
Rich in Antioxidants
One of the many health benefits of artichokes and artichoke extract is that they contain a high amount of antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonoids. Artichokes are loaded with many beneficial nutrients that can protect the body from a variety of illnesses and diseases.
Antioxidants are substances that may help to delay and even prevent cell damage in the body. Consuming antioxidants in large quantities can help the body against oxidative stress from harmful free radicals (unstable atoms).
An Excellent Source of Fiber
Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, which is essential for a number of functions in the body. Due to the high amount of fiber, artichokes can potentially prevent serious conditions such as heart disease and also have seen to have a positive effect on the liver.
Another great benefit is the high fiber content in artichokes aids in weight loss which is why there are many artichoke extract supplements and artichoke juices available. The high fiber content swells and expands in your stomach and intestines thus giving you the feeling of being full and makes it difficult for you to overeat.
Some studies have shown that consuming a considerable amount of soluble fiber, like that of in artichokes, is an excellent way to reduce and keep off visceral fat - a kind of fat which can lead to various diseases.
The high fiber content of an artichoke is crucial for keeping your digestive system healthy by promoting friendly gut bacteria, reducing your risk of certain bowel cancers, and alleviating constipation and diarrhea.
Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
Due to an artichoke’s high fiber content, it can help to normalize blood sugar levels, avoiding spikes and dips in insulin that can lead to serious problems for diabetics.
It also allows glucose to be absorbed in the blood more slowly, and as fiber is an easily digestible substance and does not require insulin, fiber will not count toward the amount of carbohydrates or glucose you consume.
Artichokes also have anti-inflammatory effects and artichoke extracts may aid in the prevention of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and inflammation.
One small study indicated that a boiled artichoke consumed at a meal reduced blood sugar and insulin levels 30 minutes after eating. This study however was conducted on adults with no preexisting metabolic conditions.
Fights Cardiovascular Disease
Artichokes are good for the heart too as they are rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, which are known to enhance our heart health. The artichoke leaves have been found to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the levels of good cholesterol including omega-3 fatty acids. Cholesterol is a type of fat that builds up in the arteries of the cardiovascular system and can lead to heart attacks.
The additional nutrients found in artichokes and artichoke supplements may also reduce inflammation in the body and improve blood flow. The cholesterol-lowering effects of artichokes can be attributed mainly to its soluble fibers, particularly inulin. Inulin is an effective prebiotic fiber which helps to promote a healthy gut.
Artichokes Detox the Liver and Digestive System
The liver is the largest organ within our body. It has many essential functions to perform including removing toxins from the body, storing energy as well as digesting food. That’s why keeping your liver healthy is a big priority.
We mentioned previously that artichokes contain plenty of antioxidants and some of these may aid in the positive health of the liver by reducing toxins and helping to eliminate them from the liver. Some of these antioxidants also promote the production of bile. Bile is essential for digestion and absorption. It is also responsible for getting rid of certain waste products from the body such as excess cholesterol (high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease).
One study has shown that artichoke leaf extract may promote the growth of new tissue on the liver. Another study conducted with 90 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease revealed that consuming 600 mg of artichoke extract daily for two months led to improved liver function.
Consuming artichokes whether in vegetable form or as an artichoke supplement extract may help protect your liver from damage.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Artichokes are a rich source of potassium - an essential mineral which positively impacts a number of organ systems within the body. Large amounts of sodium consumption can elevate your blood pressure and potassium aids your body in lowering the effects of this excess sodium consumption.
A reduction in blood pressure can also reduce the chances of heart attacks and coronary heart diseases.
Improves Skin Health and Appearance
Not only are artichokes packed full of antioxidants, protein and fiber, they include a number of vitamins such as vitamin C and E. Vitamins are essential to collagen production and aid in the recovery of skin conditions. Not eating a balanced diet full of a variety of vitamins can lead to premature aging of your skin. Artichokes have a positive health impact on your skin with multiple benefits. Consuming artichoke extracts and supplements helps increase your intake of these essential vitamins and nutrients.
Having a healthy gut and consuming adequate amounts of nutrients like those found in artichokes increases your immunity. By building up your immune system, you are able to protect your skin from infections and in turn have healthier looking skin.
Artichokes vs Artichoke Supplements
Those who may not be fond of eating artichokes may instead opt for artichoke supplements including artichoke extracts and artichoke juices. As artichoke supplements are made with more concentrated doses, these supplements may be better for the short term. Artichoke supplement juices are the main go to for those wanting to consume the many healthy nutrients packed within artichokes.
As with all things, artichoke extracts and artichoke juices should be taken in moderation. Artichoke supplements have a wide range of health benefits but if you suffer from certain pre-existing health conditions, consult with your doctor first before taking them. Additionally, Artichoke supplements and extracts should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with liver or kidney disease.