People who are at risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders would do well to add artichokes (Cynara scolymus) in their diet to lower their chances of getting the disease, according to researchers from the University of Sfax in Tunisia. In their study, which was published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the team looked at the anti-diabetes properties of artichoke leaves using alloxan-induced rat models. The researchers also designed the study to determine the antioxidant properties of the leaves, in particular, its ability to prevent free radical damage in the liver, kidney, and pancreas, as previously noted. Here Joanne Washburn, Food.news, reflects on amazing benefits of artichokes for your health:
“Artichokes are regal-looking veggies that pop up often in salads and dips. Rich in calcium, iron and vitamins C and A, among other nutrients, artichokes are incredibly healthy superfoods that boast a wide range of benefits for your health, from better digestion to a lower risk of cancer.
While most experts recommend eating fresh produce raw to retain vitamins and minerals as much as possible, you can make an exception with artichokes. For one, raw
artichokes aren’t exactly palatable. Artichoke’s tough outer leaves also only have a small portion of edible material. In most cases, recipes would call for inner leaves, which are tender and fleshier. Meanwhile, the heart and the stem can be eaten whole after cooking.
The many health benefits of artichokes
Whether steamed, boiled or roasted, artichokes pack an impressive list of health benefits. These include:
- Provides many nutrients – Artichokes are a staple of Mediterranean diets because of their nutrition profile. For one, they are rich in vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. They also provide dietary fiber and contain antioxidants, including luteolin, apigenin and chlorogenic acid.
- Combats inflammation – The heads and leaves of artichokes have high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation caused by free radicals.
- Reduces cholesterol – Artichokes are a heart-healthy food because they help reduce your cholesterol levels. Fiber contributes to this effect, as do some of the antioxidants in artichokes. Anthocyanins, phenols, flavonoids and other antioxidants in artichokes also prevent cholesterol oxidation.
- Boosts digestion – In folk medicine, artichoke is used to enhance digestion because of cynaropicrin, a bitter-tasting compound primarily found in artichoke leaves. Plus, artichoke hearts are loaded with fiber, which helps keep food moving along the digestive tract.
- Regulate appetite – Natural healers in several European countries, such as Germany and Finland, also make herbal preparations from artichoke leaves to stimulate appetite, especially in children.”
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