Benefits of artichoke
. Artichoke is a plant. The leaf, stem, and root are used to make extracts which contain a high concentration of certain chemicals found in the plant. These extracts are used as medicine. 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 problems.
How does it work
. Artichoke has chemicals that can reduce nausea and vomiting, spasms, and intestinal gas. These chemicals have also been shown to lower cholesterol. In foods, artichoke leaves and extracts are used to flavor beverages. Cynarin and chlorogenic acid, which are chemicals found in artichoke, are sometimes used as sweeteners.
. The globe artichoke, or Cynara scolymus, is the immature flowers of a thistle plant and is known as one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. Most likely, artichokes originated in the Mediterranean, although they have been seen in ancient Egyptian writings as symbols of sacrifice and fertility. The Spanish eventually brought them to California in 1600, but they didn t actually catch on with Americans until the 1920s. California provides nearly 100 percent of the artichoke crop in the United States, with Castroville, a town in the California Central Coast farm country, calling itself the artichoke center of the world. There are several varieties of artichokes such as Green Globe, Desert Globe, Big Heart, and Imperial Star, ranging in color from dark purple to pale green.
. There are many other powerful polyphenol type antioxidants found in artichokes that researchers believe can contribute to the prevention and management of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. Studies have shown that the antioxidants rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid found in artichoke leaf extract are able to induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce the proliferation of cancer cells.
. High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. Artichokes and artichoke leaf extract reduce cholesterol levels. The efforts to study this idea date back all the way to the 1970s, when scientists began examining cynarin and cholesterol in their labs.
. The high concentration of cynarin in artichokes not only affects cholesterol, but also can contribute to aiding in digestive health. Cynarin is known to stimulate the production of bile, which enables us to digest fats and absorb vitamins from our food, making artichokes an excellent way to start any meal.3
. The boost in bile production you gain from eating artichokes can also be attributed to cynarin, which can be very beneficial to the health of your liver. The bile that your liver produces helps to remove dangerous toxins and digest fats. Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, a powerful liver protectant. Silymarin averts the process of lipid peroxidation from occurring in the cell membranes of the tissues of the liver, making the artichoke an ideal weapon in your arsenal to help you obtain optimal liver function.
High in Antioxidants
. A study done by the USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
. Studies done with artichoke leaf extract have found that they induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce cell proliferation in many different forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. An Italian study found that a diet rich in the flavanoids present in artichokes reduces the risk of breast cancer.
Increased Bile Flow
. The pulp of artichoke leaves contains a polyphenol antioxidant called cynarin which increases bile flow. Some people use artichoke for treating snakebites, preventing gallstones, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar; to increase urine flow; and as a tonic or stimulant.
. Good for the Liver Thanks to cynarin and another antioxidant, silymarin, artichokes are very beneficial to the liver. Studies have found they may even regenerate liver tissue. Artichokes have long been used in folk and alternative medicine as a treatment for liver ailments and the scientific studies are now proving them to be correct.
Improve galbllader system
. Artichokes help the digestive system. They are a natural diuretic, they aid digestion, improve gallbladder function and, as mentioned above, they are of great benefit to the liver. While artichokes may not be the easiest food to consume, the sheer volume of nutrients, minerals and phytochemicals found in this extraordinary vegetable make eating them well worth it. Most people s favourite part of the artichoke is the heart, but the leaves are actually the source of the vast majority of its health benefits. In clinical studies, artichoke leaf extract has been proven to have potent disease fighting and anti ageing properties.
. Thanks to their positive effects on the liver, many people swear by artichokes as a hangover treatment. Instead of the hair of the dog, try the leaves of an artichoke. Artichokes are probably best known for their cholesterol reducing and liver protecting properties. The French have known this for years and often take artichoke extract during periods of indulgence, such as at Christmas, as it helps digest fatty foods and ease indigestion. Far more palatable, I think, than glugging back a chalky liquid or sucking on a lozenge!
. Ingredients in artichoke leaves have been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG CoA reductase. They raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Artichokes are a Mediterranean delicacy which you ll also find in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese dishes. Again making the Mediterranean way of eating so healthy.
High in Fiber
. One large artichoke contains a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber. A medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes. Artichokes are a Mediterranean delicacy which you ll also find in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese dishes. Again making the Mediterranean way of eating so healthy.
Liver Function and Fatty Foods
. Bile produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder is what helps us digest fats and remove dangerous toxins. Cynarin in artichokes boosts bile production and is very beneficial to the health of your liver. Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, which protects the liver. Silymarin reduces the process of lipid peroxidation from occurring in the cell membranes of the tissues of the liver, making the artichoke the ideal vegetable to help your liver function better. Especially when you over indulge in fatty barbecues, Christmas feasts and birthday dinners.
How to prepare artichokes
. Artichokes can look a bit intimidating but, have no fear, you can master it. Start by removing the tough leaves from close to the base and trim the stem to about 2cm long (or, on good sized ones, remove the stem completely, so the artichoke will sit flat on its base). Cook in plenty of lightly salted, boiling water or in a steamer, simmer for 15 30 minutes, depending on size and freshness. Just cut artichokes need less cooking to become tender. If you grow your own, cooking them within minutes of cutting reduces the cooking time dramatically to only seven or eight minutes for a small one. The best test to check that it is cooked is when a leaf from the middle pulls away easily and the heart is tender when pierced with a knife.
How to eat artichokes
. In France, freshly steamed artichokes are typically served with a Hollandaise sauce or raspberry vinegar. After steaming, you can also slice them in half, brush with oil or melted butter and grill on a griddle pan or barbecue. Serve with a squeeze of lemon. Don t worry, the artichoke is one of the few foods that it is both proper and polite to eat with your fingers. Artichokes can be served hot or cold. To eat, just pull out the outer petals one at a time. Dip it in your favourite sauce and pull the leaves through your teeth, removing the soft pulpy portion. Discard the remaining tough portion of the leaf. Continue this until all the petals have been removed.
. An anti carcinogen flavonoid that works as an antioxidant to protect against cancer and heart disease. We all know the dangers of high cholesterol and the increased risk of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. Since the 1970s, scientists have been testing cynarin in artichokes and artichoke leaf extract for their ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Cynarin in artichokes has been conclusively proven to reduce bad cholesterol dramatically.
. A flavonoid which promotes cardiovascular health, helps prevent cell proliferation associated with cancer, and has anti inflammatory and anti allergenic properties. To further demonstrate the artichoke s heart healthy powers, scientists set up a randomised, placebo controlled study to examine the effect of artichoke leaf extract in patients with high cholesterol. All participants showed positive results.
. Color pigments in Artichokes that are powerful antioxidants. They are associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function and healthy aging. The high concentration of cynarin in artichokes not only affects cholesterol, but can also improve digestive health. Cynarin is known to stimulate the production of bile, which enables us to digest fats and absorb vitamins from our food, making artichokes an excellent way to start any meal, especially if it is rich and high in fat, the way the French often do it.
. A potent antioxidant also found in red wine and black tea. It has been shown to inhibit cell proliferation in prostate cancer cells. Over six weeks, participants were split up, with half receiving artichoke extract and the rest a placebo. The patients receiving artichoke were shown to have an 18.5 per cent reduction in cholesterol level. Pretty impressive!
Luteolin and Cynarin
. Very powerful polyphenol antioxidants that may lower cholesterol levels. Artichokes are very concentrated in cyanarin, which may also help in regeneration of liver tissue. Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, which protects the liver. Silymarin reduces the process of lipid peroxidation from occurring in the cell membranes of the tissues of the liver, making the artichoke the ideal vegetable to help your liver function better. Especially when you over indulge in fatty barbecues, Christmas feasts and birthday dinners.
Caffeic Acid and Chlorogenic Acid
. Contains anti cancer, antimicrobial, anti LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral properties. Studies have shown that the antioxidants rutin, quercetin and gallic acid found in artichoke leaf extract are able to induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce the proliferation of cancer cells.
. A powerful antioxidant that may aid the liver in regenerative tissue growth. One artichoke contains approximately one fourth of the average adult`s daily fiber requirements. It is also packed with vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and magnesium!!
Antioxidant Power of Artichokes Can Reduce Cholesterol
. Artichokes contain more disease fighting antioxidants than any other vegetable. In a review of the 100 most antioxidant rich foods from all food groups, artichokes came in at number seven!
Artichokes Are Cancer Fighters Too
. According to a study done in Italy, a diet rich in the antioxidants found in artichokes lowers your breast cancer risk.
When Not to Eat Artichokes
. If you ve already been diagnosed with liver, kidney or gallbladder disease, talk to your health care provider before adding artichokes to your diet. Since they stimulate bile production, they could complicate your present condition.
. The artichoke is a large thistle that belongs to the sunflower family. The green vegetable has several thick pointed leaves attached to a central heart. It resembles a large flower bud on top of a slender stalk. The soft petal bases and heart of the vegetable are the edible portions. It is one of the highly nutritious vegetables available during the winter. California leads in the cultivation of this vegetable where it is available throughout the year. This regally packaged vegetable has several nutrients.
High quantities of potassium
. Cardiovascular health the high quantities of potassium in the vegetable help to maintain normal heart rhythm. Research studies have shown a strong link between high potassium diets and reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also tones down the effect of sodium on blood pressure. This helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, which promotes good health of the heart. Certain phytonutrients in the vegetable help to lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
RICH IN DIETARY FIBER
. The vegetable is rich in dietary fiber which supports a healthy digestive system. This helps to prevent constipation. In research at Comenius University in Slovakia, artichoke leaf extract was studied for its ability to inhibit growth of leukaemia cells. Over a 24 hour period, leukaemia cells were treated with a variety of concentrations of artichoke leaf extract, with results suggesting that it slows down the reproduction of the leukaemia cells while inducing apoptosis of these cells as well.
. The original uses of artichoke (since ancient times) have been as an aid for indigestion and insufficient liver function. The mechanism of action, however, has been essentially unknown. Recent findings have provided a new foundation for our understanding and uncovered additional benefits of the extract, such as antioxidant and lipid lowering effects.
Effects on the Gastrointestinal System
. The importance of effective liver function for overall health, and proper gastrointestinal function in particular, is rarely emphasized in health discussions in the United States. One reason might be that there is neither laboratory evidence nor specific physical symptoms to reveal an overburdened liver in the beginning stages. The symptoms may be nonspecific, such as general malaise, fatigue, headache, epigastric pain, bloating, nausea, or constipation. Discomfort following meals and intolerance of fat are also notable indications of disturbances in the biliary system.
. Contraindications to the use of artichoke include allergy to Asteraceae family plants and any bile duct obstruction. In addition, researchers at the University of Georg August in Germany have found that the many phytochemicals in artichokes help to block the secretion of cancer agents, thus inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Pregnancy and Lactation
. Generally recognized as safe or used as food. Avoid dosages above those found in food because safety and efficacy are unproven. Artichokes can look a bit intimidating but, have no fear, you can master it. Start by removing the tough leaves from close to the base and trim the stem to about 2cm long (or, on good sized ones, remove the stem completely, so the artichoke will sit flat on its base).
. The artichoke is a member of the daisy family. It is a perennial herb, widely cultivated in the Mediterranean regions and adjoining parts of central Europe. This well known plant grows to a height of approximately 2 meters. It has a strong, erect stem and its large leaves are lobed and gray green. The edible flower bud is purple green in color, and has scales or bracts that enclose it. It blooms from July to August.
. Artichoke flower head is a vegetable usually available in groceries and markets. The globe artichoke is cooked and eaten as a delicacy. Artichokes can be served hot or cold. To eat, just pull out the outer petals one at a time. Dip it in your favourite sauce and pull the leaves through your teeth, removing the soft pulpy portion. Discard the remaining tough portion of the leaf. Continue this until all the petals have been removed.
. Artichokes can also be made into a
. Artichoke is the primary flavor of the 33 proof (16.5% alcohol) Italian liqueur
Capsules and tinctures
. Commercially prepared artichoke capsules and tinctures are also available in most health store. Use a spoon and remove the fuzzy centre at the base of the artichoke and discard it. What remains is the heart of the artichoke and it is entirely edible and delicious.
Low Fat and Calories
. Artichoke enjoys a stardom status in many dishes prepared across various cuisines, while being low in fat content as well as calories. This enables you to enjoy it in good proportions in your meals without the guilt of gaining weight.
. Fiber is a very important dietary component which helps to improve digestion by enabling better bowel movement. This ingredient is a rich source of dietary fiber, making it a favorite among digestion enhancers.
. Another health benefit of artichoke is that it is a good source of folic acid that is a co factor in enzymatic reactions. It is also beneficial for the synthesis of DNA during the pre pregnancy period and to treat neural tube defects.
Inflammation and Infections
. A good proportion of Vitamin C in artichokes makes it possible for the body to resist inflammatory. There are many other powerful polyphenol type antioxidants found in artichokes that researchers believe can contribute to the prevention and management of prostate cancer, breast cancer and leukaemia.
. Besides being excellent for health and metabolism, artichokes are known natural agents for better skin and hair. Wondering why? The rich supply of antioxidants and peptides in artichokes improves skin texture and nourishes the cells, getting rid of fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes for a smooth, youthful appearance! Antioxidants prevent damage to the skin that occurs as a result of free radical formation.
Anti Ageing Products
. Many skin creams, gels, potions and lotions contain artichoke extracts for its skin luminosity and anti ageing properties. The vegetable also promotes blood circulation throughout the body for improved and younger looking skin. Artichokes reduce the cholesterol in the blood, thus promoting a healthy liver, which in turn leads to healthy and nourished skin as the liver eliminates toxins from the body.
. Artichoke is a rich source of Vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium and phosphorus. These minerals replenish dry, damaged, dull and lifeless hair to improve the quality of your locks for voluminous, bouncy, smooth and soft locks. One can use artichoke juice by boiling green artichoke leaves
. The artichoke liquid helps repair damaged locks, form a protective layer over the hair shaft, restores minerals to dull hair and cleans the scalp of dandruff. Bile produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder is what helps us digest fats and remove dangerous toxins. Cynarin in artichokes boosts bile production and is very beneficial to the health of your liver.
Selecting and Storing Artichokes
. Now that you are convinced and off to shop for artichokes, it is important you know how to pick for the freshest and choicest of the produce out on sale. When shopping for artichokes, pick out vegetables with a firm globe that is compact, solid and heavy. The artichoke should have tightly packed large leaves. The best artichokes to pick are those with firm heads. The stem should be fleshy. Brown stems are fine as long as they are turgid and not wilted, slimy or dry.
. Store the artichokes in the refrigerator. This vegetable should be loosely wrapped in a plastic or aluminium film. Fresh vegetables last up to a week but it is better to consume them as quickly as possible. Cooked artichokes should be cooled completely before storing in the refrigerator, if they are kept for more than a day or two. Do not place washed artichokes in the refrigerator for storage as the moisture causes the vegetable to spoil. Ensure raw or cooked artichokes are dry before storing in the refrigerator..
Cooking and Consuming Artichokes
. Artichokes possess a sweet, nut like flavor. These artichokes are thorny and need to be cleared of all thorns before they can be cooked and served. To cook an artichoke, one must first wash the vegetables before cooking. Slice the stem end of the vegetable off and peel the outer layer of leaves closest to the stem. Remove the top from each vegetable. Use a sharp sturdy knife and trim about an inch from the pointed head of each artichoke. To remove the prickly tips from the outer set of leaves, use a pair of scissors to cut each leaf tip. Ensure you brush the edges of the leaves after removing the tips with lemon to prevent browning of the vegetable. Remove any thorns visible to you to prevent damage to the mouth or throat while consuming the vegetable.
. The German counterpart of the FDA approved fresh artichoke, the juice or the extract, to use for indigestion. The extract was particularly beneficial in helping people with chronic indigestion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome also known as IBS
. IBS causes chronic digestive problems such as abdominal pain and constipation. Because artichoke is good for indigestion (see number 3), research has shown it can help IBS sufferers. artichoke leaf extract for their ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Cynarin in artichokes has been conclusively proven to reduce bad cholesterol dramatically.
. Artichoke also has antimicrobial benefits. The plant inhibits the activity of some types of fungi and bacteria. The high concentration of cynarin in artichokes not only affects cholesterol, but can also improve digestive health. Cynarin is known to stimulate the production of bile, which enables us to digest fats and absorb vitamins from our food, making artichokes an excellent way to start any meal, especially if it is rich and high in fat, the way the French often do it.
. Artichokes should be washed under cold running water. Pull off the lower petals and cut the stems to one inch or less. Cut the top quarter of each artichoke and snip off the sharp tips. Artichokes turn brown very quickly once they are cut. To preserve the green color, one may dip in lemon water.
What does artichoke contain
. One serving size of artichoke is 56 g edible portion. One serving of artichoke contains 25 calories, 0 g of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 70 mg of sodium, 3 g of dietary fiber, 16 g of sugars, and 2 g of protein. It is also a source of calcium, iron and vitamins A, C. Artichoke leaves was found to contain anti hyperlipidemic sesquiterpenes and
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