Artichokes contain both prebiotics and probiotics which have been shown to positively impact the composition of gastrointestinal microbiota, leading to improved immunity, digestion, and nutrient absorption1. The gut microflora is essential for inhibiting pathogenic bacteria growth2.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is classified by low grade chronic intestinal inflammation which can elicit an autoimmune response and result in digestive disruption. Artichokes have long been used as a digestive aid to reduce inflammation and therefore symptoms of IBS, including bloating, abdominal pain and cramps, as well as reducing both diarrhea and constipation through normalization of GI mobility.3
Extracts from artichoke leaves have also been used to reduce IBS symptoms and evaluated in at least two clinical studies.4,5 Both trials reported significant improvements in IBS symptoms, specifically in normalizing GI mobility and reducing bloating as well as relieving distension, abdominal pain and cramps.6
Oxidative stress occurs due to a build up of free radicals in the body that are products of environmental toxins, poor diet and lifestyle choices, and chronic stress. Oxidative stress is related to several chronic diseases as well as compounding aging14. Free radicals are combated in the body by antioxidants.
Artichokes rank number one over all vegetables in terms of antioxidant count, according to research conducted by the US Department of Agriculture15.
A recent study testing polyphenols in artichokes found them to be potential anti-inflammatory agents by protecting the lymphatic vessels from oxidative damage as well as improving the expression of genes involved in anti-aging processes16.
People who incorporate more fiber into their meals generally report feeling more satiated and eat less. Prebiotic fiber like inulin, which is found in artichokes, appear to have additional benefits in terms of healthier body weight.
Researchers found that daily prebiotic consumption reduces appetite, lowers body weight and/or fat mass, and improves glucose tolerance 7.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 30% of adults have symptoms of Insomnia, with 35% sleeping less than 7 hours per night 10, 11. Repeatedly getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is linked to increased health risks such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, depression, and diabetes 11.
A double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial found that supplementation of magnesium helped improve subjective measures of insomnia, sleep efficiency, and sleep time as well as early morning awakening in elderly people 12.
Just one medium artichoke contains 77 mg of magnesium, almost 20% of the recommended daily intake 13.
Often referred to as "good bacteria", probiotics are similar to the bacteria found naturally in the body; prebiotics such as the inulin in artichokes stimulate the growth and health of these probiotic "good bacteria".
In a recent review study, researchers concluded that probiotics (such as yogurt) can help reduce inflammation, increase insulin sensitivity and reduce autoimmune response 8.
Specifically, in a double-blinded clinical study, people with type 2 diabetes experienced reduced fasting glucose and HBA1c levels after consuming one yogurt daily for six weeks 8.
Scientists believe that healthy gut bacteria may play a role in reducing the risk of insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes 9.
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome 17. Cornell researchers found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome had less diversity or different type of bacteria compared to those without it 17. Poor gut flora has been linked to decreased nutrient absorption and therefore less efficient energy production.
Since artichokes are a good source of pre- and pro-biotics, they can help combat fatigue and promote increased energy for those who regularly consume them.
Because artichokes are gluten and grain free, dairy free, nut and nightshade free, and low in carbohydrates and fat, they fit into any diet and lifestyle. Whether you prefer paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30 and/or keto, artichokes can be a welcome part of your diet.