Artichoke Nutrition – Know The Benefits

Three globe artichokes on a white background.

Despite its odd, even slightly alien-like appearance, artichoke nutrition is valuable and, some would say, vital to a healthy balanced lifestyle.

About Artichokes

Artichokes are native to countries around the Mediterranean, and they have been a highly prized commodity since ancient Greek times. Romans valued artichokes so highly that they exported and cultivated them around the empire after conquering new territories.

The Greeks started to grow globe artichokes in Sicily. They domesticated the plant and improved its taste and texture; wild artichokes could be harsh and unpleasant. Cultivation of the globe artichoke continued in Spain while it was under Muslim rule during medieval times. Wild artichokes can still be found in some parts of North Africa.

There is a strong argument that Globe Artichokes are the original European superfood and should be more widely treasured as a source of positive nutrition.

Artichokes were introduced into England by the Dutch in the mid-16th century and to Louisiana and California in the US in the early 19th century.

Artichokes The Aphrodisiac

In the 15th century, the aphrodisiac qualities of artichokes were identified, and with this, women were banned from eating them (makes sense), which is reserved only for men. Thankfully attitudes have loosened somewhat, and everyone can enjoy the stimulating benefits of globe artichokes.

Artichoke Health Benefits

Instinct drove early man to eat this brightly coloured, uninviting flower. As usual, instinct was right. Today we know artichokes are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Back then, they just made people feel better.

The makeup of individual elements within the flower makes artichokes particularly useful for those with liver issues. For example, Cynarin and silymarin contain antioxidants that stimulate tissue regrowth and cell regeneration in the liver. The exact balance and makeup of these compounds are of interest to scientists.

In ancient times artichokes were fed to those suffering from a loss of appetite; again, early instincts were right. We know today that cynarine stimulates the appetite and makes all foods consumed shortly afterwards taste sweeter.

Artichoke Nutrition

Artichokes provide significant health benefits because they are packed with a range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals easily absorbed by the body.

An average artichoke weights about 120g and contains in no particular order the following nutrients:

  • vitamin C 8.9 mg – 15%
  • vitamin K 17.8 mcg – 22%
  • folate 107 mcg – 27%
  • magnesium 50.4mg – 13%
  • phosphorus 87.6 mg – 9%
  • manganese 0.3 mg – 13%
  • dietary fibre 10.3 g – 41%
  • protein 3.5g – 7%
  • niacin 1.3 mg – 7%
  • riboflavin 0.1 mg – 6%

As well as many more mineral elements, trace minerals and omega -3 & 6 essential fatty acids while containing zero fat and no cholesterol.

With all this vitamin and mineral goodness, artichokes contain only 60 calories. The anomaly of this potent flower isn’t dissectible into any individual element. Instead, the balanced makeup of all the combined features seems to make them have such a healing impact on the body.

There is a consensus that because artichokes are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, eating them regularly may prevent some cancers and diseases, especially liver cirrhosis.

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