Artichokes look like one of the most intimidating vegetables to grace the shelves of any supermarket. A widely consumed vegetable throughout the Mediterranean, it’s actually a member of the thistle family, as you might probably guess from its thick, almost thorn-like “leaves” and tough outer skin. The artichoke has long been utilized for its culinary and medicinal value, and with a history going back far enough to be written about by Homer and Pliny the Elder, you’re probably curious as to why it should be on your shopping list. Read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Artichokes!
1. Stacked with Fibre
Artichokes contain a solid amount of fibre with roughly 9g of dietary fibre per 100g of raw artichoke. Compared to the 2.5g per 100g that broccoli serves up, artichoke’s fibre-loaded nature make it an obvious choice for those making a conscious effort to eat more fibre and can help to prevent the progression of certain conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Two of the major health problems in the UK and developed Western nations.
2. Plant Protein
In addition to its abundant level of fibre, artichokes are also high in protein and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting ethically-sourced protein. As many people have been turning to a diet lighter on meat or, in many cases, completely meat-free vegetarian or vegan lifestyles. it’s good to know that protein, an essential macronutrient, can effectively be sourced from vegetables. A 100g serving provides 6% of an adult’s RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).
3. Contains Inulin (an important probiotic)
As we all know from years’ of “Yakult” commercials and medical TV shows; our bodies need a balance of many different things to stay healthy, one of those being gut flora. Healthy bacteria live in your gut aiding your body’s digestion, immune response and may even affect your mood. Growing a healthy community of gut bacteria is the job of many types of fibres. Inulin is part of a family of substances called polysaccharides, important for energy storage, bowel health, and keeping your GI tract healthy to function at its best.
4. Great For Liver Health (and hangovers!)
Artichokes contain a plethora of antioxidants for the everyday running of your body and two of the most powerful unique to artichokes are cynarin and silymarin, which assist your liver in the elimination of toxin build-up and facilitating their passing from your body. Many studies also show that these powerful antioxidants actively aid in the repair and regrowth of liver cells and flush many of the chemicals associated with, for example, heavy drinking out of your body. In other words, it’s a fine substitute for ‘hair of the dog’ and alleviating some of the more damaging effects.
5. Metabolism-Boosting (encourages weight loss)
Artichokes contain magnesium and manganese, both in significant quantities essential for your body’s different functions: magnesium helps protein synthesis and calcium uptake, increasing cell health and building stronger bones. Manganese plays a significant role in the uptake of carbohydrates and the metabolic processing of amino acids and cholesterol.
So there you have the lowdown on why you should eat these powerful, multi-talented and many-layered veggies! What are your thoughts on the good that these can do for you? Share your recipes with us in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. Munch on over to our other healthy food options and fitness articles to help you get YOUR Fit ON!