Saturday, February 20, 2010

Artichokes: Healthy Benefits

Aside from their aphrodisiac allure, the health benefits of artichokes are quite impressive. A quick health overview:
  • Artichokes are not only delicious when prepared by themselves, but they’re also a great partner for other healthy ingredients (e.g., with tomatoes in pasta).
  • One medium Artichoke is an excellent source of dietary fiber (10.3 grams!). It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, and a good source of folate and magnesium.
  • Artichokes have no fat, cholesterol or trans fat, so they’re a healthful source of protein at four grams per serving.
  • Artichokes are being called a nutritional “superfood” because they are a great source of powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. In fact, recent research shows cooked artichokes are the best source of antioxidants among all fresh vegetables.
  • Potassium
    Artichokes are an under-recognized source of potassium, a mineral that's vital to maintaining normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, muscle and nerve function. One medium Artichoke provides more than 400 milligrams of potassium, about as much as a small banana. There is strong evidence that a diet rich in potassium is linked to reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure.
  • MagnesiumMagnesium is used in building bones, manufacturing proteins, releasing energy from muscle storage, and regulating our body temperature. Many adults — especially women — aren't getting enough of this mineral. Artichokes are a good source.
  • Vitamin C
    Artichokes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that functions as a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system. It also is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to our bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron.
  • Dietary Fiber
    Found only in plant foods, fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system, lowers blood cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease and may prevent certain types of cancer. Fiber also works to keep blood-sugar levels stable, which is especially important for people with diabetes. It can also help us feel full, aiding in weight control. Artichokes are very fiber-rich, providing 10.3 grams in one Artichoke (120 grams).
    Protein
    The
    USDA 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more plant-based protein in place of animal-based protein as a way to help reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake. With no fat, cholesterol or trans fat, Artichokes are a healthful source of protein. One medium Artichoke provides four grams. (source: oceanmist.com)
Now that we got past all that, make sure you know how to eat artichokes properly. We have provided some videos for your enjoyment. Enjoy!


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