Artichokes are one of the healthiest foods around, offering numerous nutritional benefits to be incorporated into our daily diet. They take a bit of work to prepare, although you can skip much of the preparation by buying them canned or frozen.
Why we should eat artichokes
Nutritionists recommend adding artichokes to your daily diet for several health benefits. Scientists have found that eating artichokes can help treat chronic digestive disorders including irritable bowel, flatulence and irritable stomach. They also help treat liver and gall bladder conditions by promoting bile production in the body, protecting intestinal mucosa and increasing fat digestion. Bile is needed to digest food properly by detoxifying foods.
Artichokes prevent and treat high cholesterol in a non-toxic manner by increasing the breakdown of cholesterol to bile salts promoting digestion. They also lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, and increase HDL, the good cholesterol.
With all of the antioxidants jam-packed inside artichokes, they are superhero defenders in our bodies against heart disease, cancer, aging and other illnesses. They improve the immune system and fight free radicals.
There are many powerful antioxidants found in artichokes that researchers believe contribute to the prevention and management of leukemia, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
Studies show that the antioxidants rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid are able to reduce the proliferation of cancer cells.
A single artichoke contains one quarter of an adult’s daily fiber requirements which regulates constipation and diarrhea and prevents colon cancer.
Vitamins and minerals
Artichokes contain folic acid which helps during pregnancy to prevent defects in the newborn, Vitamin C for resistance against infections, colds and the flu, and Vitamin K which promotes bone health and is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Artichokes are rich in B vitamins including niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin and pantothenic acid that are needed for cellular metabolic functions.
In addition, artichokes are a rich source of the minerals copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
Potassium is an important part of cell and body fluids that control heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.
Manganese is used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells and iron is required for red blood cell formation.
Researchers at the University of Georg-August in Germany have shown that phytochemicals in artichokes help to block the secretion of cancer agents.