Artichokes can prevent cancer and protect your liver

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artichokes-prevent-cancer(NaturalHealth365)  Many people don’t think about including artichokes in their weekly menu, but their rich nutritional value, ability to help prevent cancer, and other health benefits are good reasons to reconsider.  Artichoke nutrition is comprised of a range of minerals, nutrients and valuable phytochemicals that can help to support the liver and prevent cancer.  They take a little effort to eat when preparing them fresh, but both the artichoke heart and especially the outside leaves offer tremendous nutritional support.

A study about the antioxidant content of a range of foods found that artichokes were among the top four vegetables tested.  Their phytonutrient content makes them valuable in protecting against health issues like liver problems and cancer.  They were also shown to be highly effective against heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

How do artichokes help to prevent cancer?

Artichokes are rich in polyphenol-type antioxidants that can help prevent numerous types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and leukemia.  Research conducted at Comenius University in Slovakia found that key antioxidants in artichoke leaf extract helped induce cell death (apoptosis) and slow cancer cell growth.

A recent study in Medical Oncology looked at whether artichoke extract could fight melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.  While artichoke has shown promise against other cancers, its effect on melanoma was unclear.  The study found that artichoke extract decreased melanoma cell growth and increased cell death.  It also changed the activity of certain proteins involved in cell growth and survival.  These results suggest that artichoke could be a potential treatment for melanoma, offering hope for new therapies.

German researchers at the University of Georg-August concurred, finding that artichoke phytochemicals were helpful in blocking cancer agent proliferation.

Improve liver health and function by eating artichokes

Artichokes also have a number of amazing benefits for the liver.  They contain silymarin, a flavonoid known for protecting the liver by optimizing cell function.  Consuming artichokes also results in an increase in bile production, which is associated with cynarin, a very beneficial compound for liver health.

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It is interesting to note that bile secretions from the liver help to clear out harmful toxins while also aiding in the digestion of fats.  These health qualities make artichokes extremely valuable for supporting liver health.

The best way to add artichokes to your diet

Artichoke hearts can be bought canned or in jars, but fresh, organic artichokes have the most nutritional value. When preparing a fresh artichoke, cut off the stem and trim away the sharpest leaf tips.  Pry open the leaves a bit so that they cook more evenly.  You can steam or boil it, and you’ll know it’s ready when you can easily pull out the central petal.

Serve cooked artichokes cold or warm. Eat each leaf by pulling it through the teeth to draw out the softened portion, discarding the rest.

Consider preparing your favorite dipping sauces, then pulling off the petals one by one and enjoying.  The heart will eventually be left at the center, and it is 100% edible.  Try cutting it into pieces and serving it in salads, sandwiches, or veggie pizza.

The state of California provides 100% of the artichokes consumed in the U.S., with a small city called Castroville at the heart of the farming country.  Artichokes can be bought year-round in the produce departments of most grocery stores.  Enjoy!

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