(NaturalHealth365) You don’t often hear artichoke’s mention as a super food. This extraordinary culinary delight is packed full of extremely beneficial illness fighting life extending properties.
The globe artichoke is the immature flowers of a thistle plant. It is also one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. There are several varieties of artichokes and the colors vary from dark purple to pale green.
The artichoke is a perennial plant, which means they are available all year. The peak season is in the spring and fall. There are over 140 artichoke varieties, but there are less than 40 types that are grown commercially. Most artichokes are cultivated in France, Italy, and Spain. They are used in many Mediterranean dishes.
The Spanish brought the artichoke to California in 1600, but they weren’t popularly used until the around 1920. There is a town in the California Central Coast area called Castroville, and it is also known as the “artichoke center of the world.”
California provides nearly all the available artichokes in America. The calories seem to vary according to type and size. California artichokes contain 25 calories, no fat, and 170 milligrams of potassium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and a good supply of fiber. The calories may vary according to size or type and the highest will come in at about 60 calories.
Artichokes contain an unusually high amount of anti-oxidants, in the form of phytonutrients. In a study by the United States Department of Agriculture, artichokes ranked number one in anti-oxidant count.
The exciting news it contains the most powerful phytonutrients such as Cynarin and Silymarin. This combination makes the Artichoke an amazing food.
The even better news is that it is packed with other phytonutrients such as quercetin, rutin, and galic acid. Working together they are proven to be extremely effective in protecting us from some of the modern day afflictions.
It also supplies fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements.
The benefit list is staggering. Artichokes and artichoke leaf extract has been studied since the 1970’s for its role in reducing cholesterol.This may be because it positively helps with liver function, which helps in lowering cholesterol, and thus protects against arteriosclerosis.
Historically the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions. This has meant that it aids digestion. Cynarin is known to stimulate the production of bile, this helps with both the digestion of fats and with the absorption of vitamins from our food.
Artichoke helps the digestive system, which means it is helpful for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dyspepsia, or upset stomachs. The boost to bile production that comes from the cynarin in this vegetable helps the liver remove toxins.
Also, silymarin stops the process of lipid peroxidation from occurring in the cell membranes of the liver. This is why eating artichokes with or before a meal is so beneficial.
Studies show that the antioxidants rutin, quercetin, and garlic acid found in artichoke leaf extract reduce the proliferation of cancer cells and induce apoptosis (cell suicide). Researchers have seen the many phytochemicals in artichokes inhibit angiogenesis, the growing of blood vessels that feed the cancer.
Artichoke is a vegetable that not only helps you control calories, but also your health. Preserving your health may not be more than making artichokes an addition to your meals. Artichoke seems to be a vegetable that offers targeted support for your liver. The artichoke seems to be the road to bliss, offering great taste, low calories, and optimal health benefits. For those on a high fat diet Artichokes should be a staple on their plates.
About the author Blanche has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in Natural Healing including Naturopaths, Scientist, and Energy Healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.