Ah, the beautiful and seductive artichoke!
Artichokes are gorgeous unopened edible flowers from a thistlelike plant that pack a powerful nutritional punch and are crazy fun to eat. They are grown in California but most are grown in Italy, France, and Spain.
Artichokes are a fabulous source of magnesium (which most of us do not get enough of today), chromium, vitamin C, folate, biotin, manganese, and many more minerals and vitamins.
They are an awesome source of dietary fiber and amazing for blood sugar regulation. This is partly due to the fact that the fiber in artichokes is primarily in the form of inulin, which the body does not treat like other sugars. According to leading nutrition expert Dr. Mercola, along with stabilizing blood sugar, fiber in artichokes helps us stay regular (aka Poop regularly), maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports heart health, and reduce inflammation.
The average amount of fiber to shoot for in a day is 30 grams. A medium artichoke provides about 5.5 grams of fiber, 4.2 grams of protein, and .2 grams of fat.
The cynarin (a phytochemical) in artichokes increases bile production in your liver and increases flow to the gallbladder. It is a powerful food for nourishing the liver. According to Dr. Murray artichoke leaf extracts have shown significant liver protecting effects and have been shown to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels in humans as well.
When picking a fresh artichoke make sure they are dense/heavy for its size and leaves should be tightly packed together and green. Artichokes can be enjoyed from a jar or freezer as well. Either way, don’t miss out on this delicious and nutritious spring vegetable.
My favorite irresistible fresh artichoke recipes-
- Steamed artichokes with Herbed Lemon Dipping Sauce (recipe from Dr. Mark Hyman)
Cut off top 1/3 of artichokes and rub with lemon. Place artichokes upside down on steam rack over boiling water. Cook for 30 minutes or until leaves soften and pull out easily and bottom is tender. Place on plate and enjoy dipped in sauce.
Herbed Lemon Dipping sauce- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 2 T lemon juice, 1.5 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp minced parsley, 2 tsp minced tarragon, 2 tsp minced chives, 2 tsp minced mint, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 6 T olive oil. Directions- Put all ingredients in a jar and shake. Enjoy with artichokes!
Dr. Joseph Mercola https://foodfacts.mercola.com/artichoke.html
Murray, Michael. Healing Foods. Astria Books. New York, NY 2005