Artichokes are one of the most underappreciated vegetables. They are so underappreciated, most people don’t even realize artichokes aren’t vegetables, they are actually considered thistles. If you don’t know much about artichokes or the health benefits they offer, thistle really open your eyes! (Sorry, had to do it)
Here now are 8 health benefits of artichokes. Once you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll want to start eating more of them.
1. Artichokes are Loaded with Nutrients
They may be a little hard to get into and eat, but once you do, you’re providing your body with powerful nutrients. First, they are low in fat but high in fiber, making them an excellent choice for people trying to lose weight.
Artichokes also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In fact, artichokes are actually ranked among the most antioxidant-rich of all “vegetables.” They boast high levels of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
2. May Lower ‘Bad’ Cholesterol While Increasing ‘Good’
One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to make sure your cholesterol levels are both optimum. Studies have found that artichoke leaf extract may lead to a reduction of LDL (AKA bad) cholesterol. Animal studies have also found that artichoke leaf extract may also reduce triglyceride levels. And further studies have indicated this extract may also boost your HDL (AKA good) cholesterol levels.
3. May Improve Liver Health
Studies have shown that artichoke leaf extract may help protect the liver from damage while also promoting new tissue development. But the good news doesn’t stop there.
Artichoke leaf extract also increases bile production. This is important because bile helps remove harmful toxins from your liver. Remember, your liver is what helps your body remove harmful toxins from your bloodstream. But those toxins have to be removed from your liver and taken completely out of the body. This is where bile comes in. So Artichoke leaf extract can help your body detoxify.
4. Helps Digestive Health
Remember I mentioned that artichokes contain a lot of beneficial fiber? Fiber promotes friendly gut bacteria, which keeps your digestive system healthy and reduces your risk of developing certain bowel cancers. Artichokes contain something called inulin, which is a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. That means it is a fuel source for the friendly bacteria in your gut.
Plus, fiber also alleviates constipation and diarrhea.
Artichoke extract has also been shown to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, boating and nausea.
5. May Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a condition that negatively impacts your digestive system, causing stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and flatulence. In one study, individuals with IBS took artichoke extract daily for six weeks and saw their symptoms ease. Even more astounding is that 96% of participants stated the natural extract was as effective if not more so than other IBS treatments they had tried.
6. May Help Lower Blood Sugar
According to some studies, artichokes and artichoke extract may help individuals lower their blood sugar levels. One study out of Italy found that when 39 overweight individuals consumed artichoke extract daily for two months, they lowered their fasting blood sugar levels.
Another study found that participants that ate boiled artichoke at each meal reduced their blood sugar levels 30 minutes after eating. While more testing will have to be done, it would appear that compounds in artichokes have the ability to slow down the activity of alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose, potentially impacting blood sugar.
7. May Help Prevent Cancer
Both animal and test-tube studies have noted that artichoke extract has the ability to impair cancer growth. This is most likely thanks in part to those antioxidants I mentioned earlier. These are called rutin, quercetin, silymarin, and gallic acid.
While more research is needed, particularly studies that involve humans, the data on hand already is promising.
8. May Help Regulate Blood Pressure
Artichoke extract has been shown to help people lower their blood pressure. In fact, in one study of 98 men with high blood pressure, consuming artichoke extract daily for 12 weeks reduced their diastolic and systolic blood pressure by an average of 2.76 and 2.85 mmHg, respectively.
In addition, artichokes are an excellent source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure as well.
Getting More Artichoke into Your Diet
Preparing artichokes can seem a little intimidating. The main thing to keep in mind is that both the leaves and the heart of an artichoke are edible and delicious. What needs to be removed and NOT consumed, is the fuzzy part called the choke.
Having said this, you can boil, grill, roast or sautée an artichoke. They can be stuffed or breaded and are an excellent appetizer or side dish. Do a search for recipes and you’ll no doubt find a ton to keep your mouth busy.
As for supplementing with the extract, it is generally considered safe, but there is chance of an allergic reaction. The best thing to do is speak with your doctor or work with a naturopath to see about adding artichoke leaf extract to your diet.
Are There Other Natural Ways to Control High Blood Pressure?
If you or someone you love suffers from high blood pressure, you may be concerned with the nasty side effects many blood pressure medications come with. If so, you’ll be happy to hear that beyond eating more artichokes, there are very powerful natural protocols that can lower your blood pressure once and for all.
If you’d like to find out how one doctor is helping her patients lower their blood pressure FOR GOOD, pick up your copy of The Blood Pressure Solution today.