The artichoke was no longer strange with all people from the early 16th century after Le Roy Ladurie first published his book about the famous range of artichoke from Naples to Orange, Vaucluse. Actually, there was a record that artichokes were used as food by the ancient Greeks and Romans a long time ago.
Artichoke is a thistle which its leaves and buds can be contained in various cuisines on any levels of cooking. Like the daisy flower, the budding head of artichoke flower contains many small budding flowers along with bracts together to be a cluster and you can use the whole flower to cook meals. The blooming flower is not used because the structure of artichoke flower turns into coarse shape and this is inedible. That makes the cultivation of artichoke was one of the most concerns in the late 15th century. The various health benefits of artichokes make it the most versatile food in the world but what do people find attractive with artichokes? Do they have any benefits else apart from ingredients for the dishes? Yes, they actually do. We can profit from various health benefits extracted from artichokes.
Artichokes are not vegetable at all because the origin of artichokes is thistle as mentioned before. But they also have a rich source of fiber, minerals vitamins and very low amount of saturated fat and cholesterol.
A budding artichoke flower is a combination of both water-soluble vitamins and oil- soluble vitamins including B vitamins: thiamine, niacin, folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, cobalamin, acid ascorbic ( vitamin C) and all the oil- soluble vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E. The essential minerals like zinc, iron, manganese, potassium, sodium and phosphorus that our bodies can’t synthesis themselves are together in artichokes.
1. Heart health and blood pressure
Cholesterol is considered as the fat that adheres to arteries, blocks the blood flow and makes the pressure of flow rise leading to hypertension and many diseases related to the cardiovascular system. Artichoke leaves have been found to increase the amount of good cholesterol like HDL, omega- 3 acids and reduce bad cholesterol which can lead to stroke or arteriosclerosis, fatal heart attack and another cardiovascular disease. So the need of cholesterol control with any method, especially natural method is so worthwhile.
In addition, to reduce the cholesterol level- a direct cause of hypertension, the moderate level of potassium in artichokes is responsible for neutralizing the sodium amount which can cause hypertension because of water pulling ability and raising up the blood pressure. Therefore, preventing high blood pressure means to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.
2. Antioxidants in fighting cancer and good for liver health
USDA has made a study about the antioxidants content in all vegetables. And surprisingly, artichokes are on No.7, pass over more than 993 other types of food. And do you know what antioxidants mean? Neutralizing free- radical, defending the bodies against natural by-products in cell metabolism are the main function of antioxidants. These can cause a huge number of diseases and dangerous condition, spectacularly cancer. Polyphenol is the main source of artichoke’s antioxidants which can decelerate cancer development, stop and even completely overturn cancer’s effect on patients.
Two more oxidants, cynarin and silymarin have been proved to reduce the presence of toxins in the liver- which is known for eliminating contamination. That’s why in some Asian countries, dried artichokes are boiled to make a kind of tea. The people know that artichokes play roles in detoxifying bodies for rashes or hot flashes during summer time. There is also evidence that damaged liver tissues are promoted to heal and regenerate faster due to artichokes.
3. Helpful for obesity and diabetics
Dietary fiber is so well- known for improving the function of digestive system, spectacularly bowel movement. It also extends your full- feeling more to control your weight. Lower risk of hemorrhoids and pouches in the colon can help prevent diseases in the colon. Soluble- fiber in artichokes decreases total blood cholesterol amount, an ideal note for overweight sufferers, especially diabetics to hold blood pressure back and control some complications of diabetes.
4. Hangover remedy
The ability of detoxifying liver makes artichokes the best home remedy for over- drunken people. You can drink artichokes tea or just chew some piece of artichoke flower to fasten the filtration and urinary excretion. Otherwise, see home remedies for diziness here.
5. Birth defects
Folate in artichokes is essential with a pregnant woman in prevention the malformation in a fetus. In acid folic deficiency, mothers are more likely to give birth to premature newborn and maybe the baby with neural tube defect- a neurological disorder.
6. Metabolic and brain function
Two essential minerals in artichokes, manganese, and magnesium play important roles in metabolism process. While magnesium is necessary for protein synthesis and enhancing the calcium intake in the body, manganese has impacts on the cholesterol and carbohydrate metabolic rate.