What are artichokes?
Artichoke is a variety of thistle grown for food. Artichoke is a perennial plant which is commonly grown in the Mediterranean region which explains why they play an important role in their cooking. The scientific classification of Artichoke is Cyanara cardunculus which is widely known as a cartoon. Artichokes can be found throughout Europe, the Middle East countries, and America, but less commonly encountered in Asian countries.
The time of harvest is extremely important for this plant because it must be eaten when the bud of the flower head has not fully flourished. When the flower fully blooms the bud becomes completely inedible.
The heart of artichokes is often regarded as a delicacy, which is actually the base of the artichokes from the where the rest of the buds spring. This is the most delicious part of artichoke and is relatively expensive than other parts of artichoke.
Health benefits of Artichoke
- Artichoke prevents the growth of cancer: A lot of studies have confirmed the negative effects of artichoke on breast cancer cells. Research also suggests that artichokes may slow the activity of cancer cells in the liver. All this can be attributed to the present of silymarin, a flavonoid in artichoke, which has been shown to be an anticancer agent.
It has been found that antioxidants in artichoke, namely rutin, quercetin and gallic acid, reduce cancer cell growth. It has also been reported that polyphenols in artichokes stimulate the death of cancer cells. According to other reports, antioxidants in polyphenols also kill pancreatic cancer cells. This can be attributed to apigenin, one of the compounds in artichokes.
- Improve liver health and assist in detoxification: Artichokes are very popular for liver detoxification. Cinarin and Silylamin, these two compounds which can be found in artichoke, are known to improve liver health by decreasing the level of toxins. Globe artichoke has the same liver-regenerating properties as milk thistle (a plant is known particularly for its liver-enhancing properties). The veggie is also known to prevent liver
- Lower cholesterol levels: As stated in its benefits for diabetes, artichokes help eliminate bad cholesterol in the body. HDL (good cholesterol) is essential for the body to produce vitamin D and also helps to boost brain health. When comparing artichoke extract and placebo, a study carried out in Germany on 143 patients in Germany showed that the artichoke extract was much more effective.
- It supports Healthy digestion: the presence of caffeine and flavonoids in artichokes gives artichokes the ability to lessen gastric problems and aid the proper function of the digestive system. The fibers which are found in artichokes also contribute to regular bowel movements, getting rid of toxins from the body. Hence keeping the stomach free of all kinds of diseases related to stomach and even colon cancer.
- Improve brain function: Phosphorus and vitamin C are needed for an active brain. Majority of the brain disorders have been connected with lack of phosphorus in the body, and a food amount of phosphorus are present in artichokes. Regular consumption of artichokes is of important benefit to the brain.
- Anti-aging: Aging is considered to be a natural process in the life of human being but premature aging, on the other hand, seems not. Stress and unhealthy diet are considered to be one of the major causes of aging. Artichokes have a great number of antioxidants which helps to fight against aging. One of the antioxidants known as cynaropicrin can actually have a positive effect on the aging process of the skin and helps to reduce the process of aging.
- Prevention of viral infections: The presence of vitamin C in artichokes help in promoting the immune system of the body and also show antimicrobial properties that can protect the body against the harmful effect of viruses. Flavonoids are also found in artichokes which help to guide the body against infections.
- Artichoke is a good source of protein: Artichokes contains a considerable amount of protein. For vegetables, artichokes can provide a good protein that promotes muscle regeneration.
- Artichokes aids in the regulation of blood pressure: Artichokes contains a significant amount of potassium which is an essential mineral that impacts various organs throughout the body. Potassium helps neutralize the effects of excess sodium, which is known to increase blood pressure.
- Promotes Heart Health: Artichokes contains fibers which have been found to contribute to heart health. According to one study carried out in Italy, artichokes display lipidic and glycemic-reducing action, which improves heart health to a great extent.
It has also been found that artichoke leaf juice has antihypertensive effects – especially in those patients that have mild hypertension. One of the ways to in protecting the heart from damage and disease is by lowering blood pressure and this can be attributed to the potassium present in the vegetable