Artichokes are an overlooked superfood. These buds of a thistle flower cultivated around the world are jam-packed with nutrients. They are low in calories but rich in fiber, carbs, and proteins. Artichokes contain vitamins C and K, and minerals like potassium and calcium! Here are six benefits backed by science.
1. Better Digestion
The wildly popular Delta 8 energy gummies provide digestive support, but you can also get it from artichokes! The fiber in them keeps you full and regular, while inulin — a prebiotic and type of fiber — improves digestion.
2. Better Liver Health
According to some nutritionists, artichokes help the liver by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. A study involving non-fatty liver disease patients revealed that consuming 600 mg of artichoke leaf extract daily improved liver function and lowered their levels of triglyceride and cholesterol.
3. Cholesterol: Out With the Bad, in With the Good
Artichokes have the power to decrease LDL and increase HDL cholesterol. Their leaves contain a lot of fiber, which prevents absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Just 5-10 grams of fiber per day will produce a positive effect.
4. Blood Pressure Regulation
A review of studies published in 2021 showed that participants with hypertension who consumed leaf extract daily for 12 weeks saw a noticeable decrease in blood pressure. This effect could stem from the high potassium content. However, artichokes did not seem to improve blood pressure in participants without hypertension.
5. Effects on Blood Sugar
High fiber content also helps with blood sugar control, as sugars are absorbed more slowly. Leaf extract may be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. However, most studies demonstrating this effect were either modest in size or conducted on rodents.
6. Antioxidant Effects
Artichokes contain plenty of antioxidants, which are beneficial for the heart. They have also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and boost health overall. Studies demonstrating the association between leaf extract and stopping cancer cell production were relatively limited, so this correlation must be researched further.
Cooking artichokes may seem intimidating if you have never done it before. One of the easiest methods is steaming:
- Wash one artichoke.
- Pour some water in a pot, add some salt, garlic cloves, and lemon.
- Boil the mixture.
- Slice off around ½ inch of the top of the artichoke.
- Flatten each leaf by trimming its spiky point with kitchen scissors.
- Put your artichoke into a steaming basket and place it in the pot for half an hour.
- Take the artichoke out and pour any dip over it — for example, mustard or Ranch dressing.
Eat the artichoke slowly one leaf at a time. Savor the flavor and texture! Steamed artichoke leaves are a bit tough on the outside but sweet and soft on the inside. If steaming does not work for you, cut the artichoke and grill it with a bit of salt and olive oil. Squeeze some lemon juice on top and enjoy!