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Include Artichokes in Your Diet to Promote Your Overall Wellness | Amoils.com

Added May 15, 2012, Under: Nutrition

Fortunate enough to have access to artichokes?  Then take the whole vegetable (stem and all) and steam it and you will have a magical meal full of health benefits.  This post is about the every day globe artichokes and not Jerusalem artichokes which are a different plant – not an artichoke and not from Jerusalem!

  • Artichokes have been found in studies to bring on apoptosis (cell death) while reducing cell proliferation in many different cancers including prostate, leukemia and breast cancer.
  • The pulp of the artichoke leaves contains a polyphenol antioxidant called cynarin which increases bile flow. Along with the cynarin, artichokes also have the antioxidant silymarin, providing health benefits for the liver and may even regenerate liver tissue. The natural properties of the artichoke help the body get rid of toxins and assist the liver in its vital operations.
  • Artichokes are a natural diuretic, aiding digestion and improving and stimulating gallbladder function. Like a variety of other green plants including parsley, the artichoke was often used to soothe the stomach in past cultures. Today the artichoke is often recommended as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
  • Studies show that the artichoke can help balance blood glucose levels and help with diabetes making it the perfect food for those dealing with a blood sugar imbalance.
  • Artichokes have a high level of potassium which helps to deal with excess sodium, and for those who are taking some kinds of anti-hypertensive drugs, foods like artichokes can be a way to hedge against a potential potassium deficiency. Artichokes are also very high in calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system.
  • Artichokes only have about 25 calories. If you include artichokes in your diet for a few weeks when they are in season, weight loss is easier as the metabolic assimilation of food is more efficient.
  • Not that you ever want to make alcoholic hangovers a regular thing, but the leaves of an artichoke can be an effective hangover treatment for some people.
  • Artichoke are particularly high in fiber.

Right back in fashion and popularly grown in home gardens for their strange, scaled flower heads

Aartichokes can be picked and eaten while still in bud.

And artichokes are easy to grow as all you need is some space to spare and with their large, silver grey leaves, they can become a great architectural element when grown among other plants or as a focal point in the herb garden.  The image illustrating this blog post is of artichokes grown in my daughter’s garden in Southern California. She has grown them successfully first time trying.

Buy young plants from your local garden center and plant them in well composted but free draining soil about 3 feet apart. Keep them well watered and be generous with their feeding as they will continue to bear for some three years. Even then, they carry on as you can propagate new plants from the young suckers taken from the base of the plant in early spring. Harvest the immature flower heads in spring, cutting the buds while still tight with a some stem attached and then steam and serve.

If you cannot grow your own, then use the freshest produce available. As well as a vegetable accompanying your meal, you can add artichoke to dips, salads, sandwiches and more for a great overall health boost and lots of extra nutrients.

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