Artichoke is one among the most common winter season edible flower bud. This plant is native to the areas of North Africa, the Canary Islands and Southern Europe. It’s one among the oldest medicinal plants, which dates back to the 4th century B.C, and was used by Romans and ancient Greeks to treat digestive problems. In the 16th century, artichoke was documented as an effective treatment for jaundice and liver problems. It wasn’t until the 20th century that artichoke became commonly known as a delicious food and a valuable medicine. Botanically, the plant belongs to the thistle family, Asteraceae and its scientific name is Cyanara scolymus.
There are numerous ways for you to reap the great benefits of this plant, and even though most people’s favorite part of the plant is the heart, the leaves actually contain most of artichoke’s strong health benefits. Here is a look at the top 10 health benefits of artichoke.
Artichoke is commonly known to help in the digestive tract. This plant is a natural diuretic, helps support digestion, improves gallbladder function and also benefits the liver. Experimental and clinical trials have proven that consuming artichoke could be useful in the treatment of chronic digestive problems like heartburn, irritable stomach, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel and nervous gastropathy. Since artichoke is rich in fiber, it can also help normalize the bowel function and avoid constipation problems, thereby reducing bloating and diarrhea.
2-Prevents and Treats Cancer
There are numerous polyphenol-types of anti-oxidants present in artichoke, which are believed by scientists to promote the prevention and even control of breast cancer, prostate cancer and even leukemia. Studies show that the anti-oxidants quercetin, rutin, and gallic acid present in artichoke have the ability to induce apoptosis, commonly known as cell death, and also reduce proliferation of cancer cells. Furthermore, artichoke contains flavonoids, which help reduce the possibility of breast cancer development.
3-Reduced Cholesterol Levels
Artichoke consumption has been clinically proven to be a non-toxic, safe and natural way to prevent and even treat high cholesterol. Artichoke has compounds such as sesquiterpene lactones and cynarin that help reduce the production of cholesterol and increase its breakdown to bile salt, thereby increasing the production and flow of bile, and regulating the overall internal production of cholesterol in the liver. Artichoke has also been proven to have the ability to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. In fact, this great plant had already gained so much popularity long before the advent of the cholesterol-lowering drugs.
4-Stabilized Blood Sugar Levels
Artichoke has the ability to stabilize the levels of blood sugar, hence helping prevent diabetes. This is the reason why this plant is recommended for diabetes patients. Even though artichoke may be used together with an ongoing diabetes treatment, it’s obviously important for the diabetes patients to always consult with their doctors first before carrying out any changes or additions to their current treatment method.
5-Improved Liver Function
Thanks to cynarin and silymarin antioxidants present in artichoke, this plant is known to be very helpful to the liver. Research shows that artichoke can even help rejuvenate the liver tissue and improve the health and performance of the liver in those who are already suffering from various liver problems. Artichokes have been used for a long time as an alternative treatment for liver problems. The natural qualities of this plant help the body to get rid of toxins and help the liver carryout its essential operations effectively.
6-Rich in Antioxidants
Artichoke contains higher amounts of antioxidants compared to other vegetables. Some of the great antioxidants present in artichoke are rutin, quercertin, cynarin, silymarin, luteolin, and anthocyanin. Antioxidants help protect the body from the effects of free- radical agents. They even help boost the immune system.
Artichoke contains high quantity of potassium, a mineral that’s normally good for your body. Potassium helps prevent too much sodium in the body. It’s also a vital constituent of cells and body fluids, which help manage the heart rate and blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium. It’s always a good idea for those taking some kind of anti-hypertensive drugs to consume foods like artichokes so as to prevent their body from being potassium deficient.
8-Promotes General Health
Artichoke helps promote general health with its perfect balance of vitamins. It’s a great source of vitamins, like vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin B complex. Folic acid acts as a key component for enzymes involved in DNA production. Furthermore, good folic acid levels in the body prior to conception and during the early stages of pregnancy helps prevent the development of neural tube defects in the infants. Vitamin C helps the body to gain resistance against the contagious disease agents. Vitamin K helps encourage the development of healthy bones and prevents any neuronal harm in the brain. This is why it’s wise for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to eat artichokes. Lastly, vitamin B complex is essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
9-Increased Hair Growth
The presence of vitamins A, B, C, phosphorus and calcium in Artichoke makes it good for hair growth. To use artichokes for hair, simply get green artichoke leaves, cover them with water, and then have them boiled. Once they’re boiled, remove them from the stove and allow them to cool for about three hours. Next, strain the liquid and massage the leaves on your head to promote hair growth.
Since artichoke has been shown to have positive effects on the liver, most people see it as a good remedy for hangover. The best part of the plant to use for this purpose is the leaves.
whether the artichoke is stuffed with seafood or dipped in melted butter or even cooked using any other method, this plant lends itself to various dishes and has numerous health benefits as mentioned above. Just remember not to pair it with a glass of wine, because you will be disappointed. The phytochemical cynarin present in artichoke has a strange effect on the taste buds, making anything you taste afterwards sweet and in turn ruining the actual taste of your favorite wine.