The Biggest Health Benefits of Artichokes
I often sing the praises of artichokes being easy to prepare, fun to eat and a great ingredient in salads to desserts. However, today I want to make sure that you are aware of the superior nutrition benefits found in this edible flower bud! Immunity and nutrition is top of mind for many of now as we protect ourselves from cold and flu season (Covid too).
I've listed eight nutritional highlights from gut boosting properties to fatigue-fighting benefits found in fresh Artichokes and backed by science. Hang onto this information as you decide on the fresh veggies to add to your shopping list and meal rotation.
Artichokes contain both prebiotics and probiotics which have been shown to positively impact the composition of the gastrointestinal microbiota, leading to improved immunity, digestion, and nutrient absorption. The gut microflora is essential for inhibiting pathogenic bacteria growth which is essential for a healthy gut!
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. Extracts from artichoke leaves have also been used to reduce IBS symptoms and evaluated in at least two clinical studies.
Artichokes rank number 1 over all vegetables in terms of antioxidant count, according to research conducted by the US Department of Agriculture. 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 processes.
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.
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.
Just one medium artichoke contains 77 mg of magnesium, almost 20% of the recommended daily intake.
Blood Sugar Balancing
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 probiotics "good bacteria". In a recent review study, researchers concluded that probiotics can help reduce inflammation, increase insulin sensitivity and reduce autoimmune response.
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. . 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.
What is one Artichoke benefit you never knew about?
View our full Artichoke Nutrition breakdown here!