Nature has abundant supply of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers that are rich in nutrients and natural sources of inner healing and good health. A unique vegetable ‘Artichoke’ with the shape of a flower bud that appears like a thistle is highly fascinating to look at. Artichokes improve overall health and are found to be highly beneficial to humankind.
The botanical name of artichoke is ‘Cynar scolymus’. Latin Canina means Canine and Greek Skolumos means thistle. They belong to the sunflower family. Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region and researchers reveal that mankind has been consuming artichokes from 3000 years. Catherine de Medica, wife of King Henry II of France introduced the French to artichoke after her marriage. She brought them to Franch from her home in Italy.
Different varieties of artichokes are available of which such as Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) and Cynara cardunculus originating from Ethiopia. Italy is the world’s largest producer of artichoke. Artichoke pokey leaves have to be removed until you reach the edible part which is its flower base.
20 benefits of Artichoke:
1. Artichoke is a fat free vegetable that is low in calories and therefore apt for health conscious individuals’ consumption. Being low in calories and sodium, artichokes have no fat or cholesterol.
2. It contains vitamin C that possesses cancer fighting ability as well as developing resistance against infections.
3. The dietary fibres present in artichokes prevent constipation, decreases bad cholesterol (LDL- Low Density Lipids) and also prevents the risk of colon cancer.
4. Artichoke is rich in potassium that protects from formation of kidney stones.
5. Consumption of artichokes during preconception or in early pregnancy prevents harmful neural tube defects in the foetus because artichokes are rich in folic acid.
6. Artichokes lower cholesterol. The fibre and nutrients present in artichoke helps in clearing bad cholesterol from the individual’s bloodstream. Cholesterol synthesis is aided by luteolin presence in artichokes with cholesterol lowering properties.
7. Artichokes are able to reduce triglycerides, total serum cholesterol and therefore improve heart health.
8. Artichoke is a rich source of B-Complex group of vitamins like thiamine, pyridoxine, niacin, and pantothenic acid that are vital for optimal cellular metabolic functioning.
9. The chemicals present in artichoke causes the liver to release more bile which aids in minimizing the fat levels in the blood. It protects liver cells and maintains liver health.
10. Artichoke is a medicinal her with diuretic and digestive properties. It stimulates appetite and diuresis. It is useful in preventing kidney disease. It helps in relieving abdominal pain, heartburn and bloating.
11. Artichoke stimulates appetite.
12. It increases blood secretion.
13. It protects the negative effects of alcohol.
14. Artichoke controls blood sugars in diabetics.
15. Artichokes improves digestive health disorder, prevents heart diseases and liver damage thus contributing to overall good health.
16. Artichoke is rich in manganese which enhances the thyroid function. Manganese helps the thyroid gland to convert inactive thyroxin into active triiodothyronine, which boosts metabolism and your mood.
17. It is used in pizzas, casseroles, lasagna, pasta dishes and stir fries.
18. Artichoke contains insulin that helps to reduce bloating and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
19. The stem of artichoke dipped in butter and cooked makes for a tasty snack.
20. Artichokes make a delicacy when melted in butter and stuffed with seafood and breadcrumbs
Author’s brief: Juliet Coutinho is a professional in student conduct administration in higher education since a decade. Juliet comes with 23 years of full time national and international work experience. She is passionate about her work, enjoys reading, writing, teaching, researching, mentoring and counseling on conduct and mental health issues. ‘Simple living and high thinking’ is Juliet’s philosophy of life.