Artichokes: A Nutrient Packed Thistle!
Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetable to eat. Pickled or boiled, artichoke was more of a special dinner growing up because my family did not have it often. When we would have artichoke we would enjoy them boiled with mayo, which is not the healthiest way to eat them (tastes good, of course, but not healthy). Living a completely different lifestyle now, I will push aside the mayo and pull closer the artichoke as is. Not only because this thistle tastes delicious, but because artichokes are a healthy food in and of itself alone. (And yes, artichokes are giant thistles! I think that is so cool, kind like how fun it is eating broccoli imagining that you are eating tiny trees.) Keep reading how this giant thistle is beneficial for overall health.
Artichokes are a good source of antioxidants, protein, and fiber for overall health and is an awesome addition to one’s diet. And I do not mean as an ingredient in pizza or dips. Enjoy this delicious vegetable boiled or as an addition to salads.
In one medium artichoke (roughly 120g), boiled:
Lots of Protein
Artichokes have more protein compared to other veggies. Therefore, if you are trying to incorporate more protein into your diet, this low calorie, higher protein veggie is a great addition to do so. Especially for those who are trying to find more plant-based protein!
High in Fiber
Artichokes are also a great source of fiber with 7g per 120g serving. Fiber is super important for digestion and satiety. When eating good sources of fiber, fiber also helps the body absorb nutrients and acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics help to strengthen and encourage the probiotic microbes in the gut and digestion tract to aid digestion. Lastly, fiber is also great for heart health.
Great Iron Source
Artichokes are a great source of iron. Similarly, to protein, artichoke is a plant-based option for those who want to incorporate more iron into their diet. Increased iron consumption is beneficial for the immune system and help to prevent anemia.
Inulin (a type of fiber found in artichoke) is good for gut health. This fiber helps to prevent gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, helps the absorption of minerals and vital nutrients, and helps immune health. Being a type of fiber, it is a prebiotic.
The antioxidants found in artichokes include vitamin C, A, K, and E, Omega-3 and -6, folate, and polyphenols.
Polyphenols help to repair and prevent cell damage, protect the body, and is a type of phytochemical that gives fruits and vegetable their color. Folate is an important antioxidant for baby development during pregnancy.
The antioxidants and fatty acids found in artichokes can help to reduce high levels of LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and may improve blood flow.
This was a cool one to learn about when researching the health benefits of artichoke because previous posts discussing health benefits of whole foods have not discussed the liver yet. The flavonoid silymarin found in artichokes protects the liver and artichoke can help to regenerate liver cells. Cynarin, another antioxidant, stimulates the production of bile that is produced by the liver. This helps to enable digestion and nutrient absorption.
The high fiber content helps to manage blood sugar levels in the body. This is achieved by slowing the absorption of glucose during digestion.
Other benefits provided by artichoke include aid in inflammation, boost metabolism, improve brain function, and increase bone mineral density.
Same as with the health benefits of other whole foods (that are amazing for your health and are an important part of a healthy diet) more research is always needed and important. Plus, being able to identify and learn the benefits that are provided by whole, healthful foods is amazing because whole foods only nourish and sustain the human body for a lifetime and for the better. Not like the chemicals, additives, and toxins found in all processed, convenient, and fast food destroy the human body over time. So, remember, a diet full of whole foods is important!
How do you healthfully enjoy artichoke? Let me know in the comments down below!