Detox Your Body with Artichoke

Beneficial properties of artichokes have been documented since ancient times, and recent scientific research confirms that artichokes may positively affect the body on many levels.

In past centuries the artichoke was used as a diuretic. It was even thought to have deodorizing properties and was considered an ideal breath freshener.

In Turkey artichoke decoctions are used as blood cleansers and for detoxing the liver which in turn cleanses the skin. That country also considers the artichoke to be the ideal remedy for hepatitis.

Detox helper? Artichokes increase bile production. Bile helps the intestines eliminate toxins from the body. They also contain a substance that helps the liver break down fatty acids.

Artichoke Nutrition & Health Benefits

Fiber is a prime feature of this vegetable with one medium artichoke supplying a hearty 6 grams. Dieters can also enjoy the artichoke for its low count of only 60 calories.

The artichoke is a heavyweight on the protein chart offering 4 grams.

The artichoke is a no-fat, no cholesterol treat that offers a host of vitamins and minerals. These include magnesium, chromium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. The vitamin A content soars to 212 IU. For the B vitamin, niacin, it supplies 1.20 mg while vitamin B6 offers .13 mg. All-important folic acid adds up 61.2 mcg and vitamin C provides 12 mg.

Artichokes are a good source of calcium measuring 54 mg. Iron supplies 1.5 mg. Magnesium climbs to 72 mg while potassium scores an impressive 425 mg. Even zinc makes an appearance with .6 mg for a medium sized artichoke.

Because artichokes are so well endowed with nutrients and phytochemicals, many health researchers believe eating them may contribute to the prevention of certain types of heart disease, cancer, and birth defects.

Phytochemicals in Artichokes

Today, vegetables are recognized as mini packages of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. The artichoke is being examined in research labs to explore its phytochemical contents.

Two of these compounds, cynarin and silymarin, possess powerful antioxidant properties that may be beneficial in helping the liver to regenerate tissue growth.

Research has found that the phytochemical cynarin truly does stimulate the taste buds. It’s also responsible for bringing sweet flavors to any foods you eat immediately after eating the artichoke.

More research is needed in the future to determine all the phytochemicals in artichokes, and to define the specific roles they play in maintaining good health and preventing disease.

Artichokes and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem reported to affect up to 20 percent of the general population. Emerging research has shown artichoke leaf extracts may have the ability to reduce symptoms of IBS and improve perceived quality of life in otherwise healthy patients who suffer from indigestion.

Artichoke Legend

The artichoke, according to mythology, originated when Zeus fell madly in love with – and was rejected by – a beautiful girl named Cynara. To punish her, he struck her with a thunderbolt and transformed her into the first artichoke!

Artichoke History

The artichoke is an unopened edible bud of a perennial thistle plant native to the Mediterranean. The vegetable flourished in ancient Greece and Rome because of its flavor and perceived medicinal capabilities, but it remained relatively unknown in Europe until years later when Catherine de Medicis introduced the artichoke to France and made it a huge success. In the 19th century, European immigrants brought artichokes to the U.S.

In 2004, USDA researchers measured antioxidant levels in more than 100 foods commonly consumed in the United States. The study found that beans (red kidney, pinto), cooked artichoke hearts, and Russet potatoes were tops among vegetables; however, cooked artichoke hearts were found to be the best antioxidant source among all fresh vegetables. Cooking negatively affects antioxidant content in some foods, but it has a positive effect on artichokes.

The ancients considered artichokes to have many benefits. Artichokes, including leaves, were thought to be an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, a breath freshener and even a deodorant. Decoctions of artichoke leaves have been used as blood cleansers, cholerics, to improve bile production and secretion and to detox the liver and the skin.

Artichokes are nutrient dense, so, for the 25 calories in a medium artichoke, you’re getting 16 essential nutrients!

Artichokes provide the important minerals magnesium, chromium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and calcium. For example, that 25 calorie artichoke provides 6 percent of the Recommended Daily Value of phosphorus, 10 percent of magnesium, 10 percent of chromium, 5 percent of potassium, 4 percent of iron and 2 percent of calcium and iron.

In addition to all these important minerals, artichokes are a good source of fiber (12 percent of the RDV), vitamin C (10 percent of the RDV), and folate (10 percent of the RDV).

Artichoke Quick Facts

  • It is best to purchase artichokes from March through May.
  • Choose from compact, tightly closed heads with green, clean looking leaves.
  • The size of an artichoke is not related to quality.
  • Avoid artichokes that have brown leaves or show signs of mold. Leaves that are separated show that the artichoke is too old and this means it will be tough and bitter.
  • California is the main supplier of artichokes.
  • There are 50 varieties of artichokes grown worldwide.
  • A single artichoke is an unopened flower bud from a thistle like plant.
  • It is best to wear rubber gloves when working with artichokes.
  • Artichokes should never be cooked in aluminum pots. They tend to turn the pots a gray color.
  • Food tastes sweeter after you’ve just eaten an artichoke.
  • Artichokes will burn unless kept completely covered with water while they are cooking. However, they are easy to over cook.
  • When cooking artichokes you can obtain a better flavor if you add a small amount of sugar and salt to the water. They will be sweeter and will retain their color better.
  • Artichokes are low in calories and sodium, have no fat and no cholesterol.
Artichoke amazing facts

Artichoke Tips and Suggestions

You can purchase Tardin artichoke diet tea, which is rich in potassium and minerals, excellent for weight loss and fat burning. Plus, is thought to aid the prevention of kidney stones. The tea has an apple berry flavor, which tastes great. If you like your tea a little sweet add a 1/2 teaspoon honey or some sugar to taste.

  • For easier eating, whole cooked artichokes can be halved lengthwise.
  • Popular accompaniments for artichokes include lemon butter, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, tomato sauce, and buttermilk based salad dressing(s).

Cooking With Artichokes

Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, baked, fried, and stuffed. Cooked, they are delicious served hot or cold. They can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, a featured ingredient in soup, or even as a main course. The marinated variety offers great flavor simply served as a party appetizer along with a dip.

When you haven’t the time to cook artichokes from scratch, the water-packed canned ones are a delicious addition to any salad. You can add them whole or cut them into halves or quarters.

Canned, water-packed, cooked artichoke bottoms (or hearts) also make an ideal base for a party appetizer. Simply fill them with tabbouli, hummus, mock tuna salad (made from soy protein), guacamole, a finely minced marinated mushroom salad, or soy cream cheese sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

How to Cook Artichokes?

Here’s how: Put an artichoke in a steamer basket set over 3 inches simmering water. Cover tightly and steam until a petal near the center pulls out easily, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on size of your artichoke. Enjoy hot or chilled.

Add a small amount of lemon juice to the artichoke cooking water to retain the color of the artichoke.

Eating the Cooked Artichoke!

Remove cooked outer petals one at a time with your fingers. To eat, squeeze each petal with lemon (or dip it in your favorite low fat dressing). Pull base of each petal through your teeth to eat the soft, pulpy portion. Discard remaining petal. Repeat until all petals are removed. Scoop out fuzzy center at base of artichoke with spoon; discard. Cut up remaining artichoke and enjoy with more lemon or dressing.

Stimulate Your Taste Buds

  • Artichokes contain cynarin, which stimulates your tastebuds to make everything you eat and drink immediately afterward taste sweet.
  • Canned artichokes packed in brine can be rinsed and drained before serving to reduce the sodium content.
  • Many stores carry canned, jarred, and frozen artichokes that are ready to eat. This is a great way to enjoy the wonderful flavor of artichokes without much preparation.
  • There are about 50 different varieties of artichokes, but only the Green Globe is grown commercially in the U.S.

Did you know?

The United States Department of Agriculture ranked artichokes as the number one vegetable in antioxidant count. Among the most powerful phytonutrients are Cynarin and Silymarin, which have strong positive effects on the liver. In fact, over the years, artichokes have been reputed to help in the cure of liver diseases, liver cancer and to cure hangovers!

 

Artichoke FAQs

What part of the artichoke is poisonous?

The remaining parts of the artichoke, the outer portion of the leaves, the hairy stuff at the bottom (called the choke), and the stem, should never, under any circumstances, be eaten. No parts of the vegetable are poisonous, but attempting to eat an entire artichoke can have serious consequences.

What does an artichoke taste like?

When eaten raw, artichokes retain a much firmer texture and a bitter taste. Cooking both softens the texture and produces a blender flavor making it similar to boiled potatoes. As for whether you’ll like artichokes or not – they have a similar taste to asparagus and brussels sprouts with a mild nutty flavor.

What is the healthiest way to eat artichokes?

With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. Cut the heart into pieces and eat: Underneath the artichoke choke is the heart. Cut the heart into pieces and dip into melted butter, a vinaigrette, or a sauce to eat.

What happens if you eat too much artichoke?

Artichoke can cause side effects such as gas, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Artichoke might also cause allergic reactions.

Is artichoke good for weight loss?

In addition to being a fat-free, low-sodium food, artichoke is also rich in key nutrients, including: Potassium. Fiber

Can you eat artichokes raw?

Although most artichoke recipes call for the vegetable to be steamed, sauteed or braised, artichokes can also be eaten raw.

Can you drink artichoke water?

The Southern California company behind the new water says artichoke water is a superfood beverage containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and electrolytes found in artichokes.

How many artichokes should I eat a day?

The recommended daily amount of artichokes for men is between 30 and 38 grams per day and for women is between 21 and 25 grams per day.

Do artichokes make you poop?

Artichokes are an antioxidant rich, healthy whole food that provides you with 10.3 grams of fiber. It’s particularly high in insoluble fiber. This is the type that doesn’t absorb water, and bulks your stool. Think of it as a scrub brush going through your intestines.

Is Artichoke good for kidneys?

Artichoke is used to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, and this is thought to help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and alcohol “hangover.” Artichoke is also used for high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney problems, anemia, fluid retention (edema), arthritis, bladder infections, and liver

Can you eat all parts of artichoke?

When preparing an artichoke, discard the center “choke” (except in baby artichokes), but the base of the petals, the center of the stem and the entire artichoke heart are completely edible and easy to cook. That’s when all the fun begins!

Who should not take artichoke extract?

Do not use if you have problems with your bile ducts or have had gallstones. Take extra care if you are allergic to plants like ragweed, daisy, aster, marigolds, or chrysanthemums. Keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar.

Why do artichokes make you fart?

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) do indeed have a gassy reputation. The sweetness comes from high levels of inulin, a soluble fibre that passes intact through the digestive system until it reaches the colon, where gut bacteria break it down then release gas

What is the hairy part of an artichoke?

When you get to the heart of the artichoke, you will notice the fuzzy hair layer referred to as the “choke”. This part of the artichoke is not edible. Remove the choke by using a spoon to scoop it out.

Do artichokes taste like fish?

The flaky texture of artichokes is perfect to make vegan fish. It’s super easy to make: The artichokes are battered, fried, and served with potatoes and vegan tartar sauce. It tastes so similar to real fish. Lately, I’ve been experimenting a lot with vegan seafood.

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