Artichoke Health Benefits
- Artichoke is low in calories and fat; nonetheless, it is a rich source of dietary fiber. It provides 5.4 g per 100 g, about 14% of RDA fiber. Dietary-fiber helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad or “LDL” cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines and help prevent colon cancer risk by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.
- Artichoke contains bitter principles, cynarin and sesquiterpene-lactones. Scientific studies show that these compounds inhibit cholesterol synthesis and increase its excretion in the bile and overall helps to the cholesterol reduction in the blood.
- Fresh artichoke is an excellent source of vitamin folic acid, it provides about 68 µg per 100 g (17% of recommended daily allowance). Folic acid acts as a co-factor for enzymes involved in the synthesis of DNA. Scientific studies have proven that adequate levels of folates in the diet during pre-conception period and during early pregnancy, help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn baby.
- Fresh globes also contain good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin C which provides about 20% of recommended levels per 100 g. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- It is one of the vegetable sources of vitamin K which provides about 12% of DRI. Vitamin K has an important role in bone health by promoting the formation of bones. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, it is also used in the treatment of patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Great source of antioxidants such as silymarin, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid, which help the body to be protected from harmful free-radical agents. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of artichokes (globe or french) is 6552 µmol TE/100 g.
- This vegetable is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid, which are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
- Further, artichoke is a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids that help controlling the heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
- Another benefit is that it contains small amounts of antioxidant flavonoid compounds like carotene-beta (font of Vitamin A, which fights against free radicals, improving eye and skin health), lutein (eye and heart health), and zea-xanthin (eye benefits).
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