While intimidating to many there are many reasons to include artichokes into your diet.
Artichokes are low-fat vegetables high in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. In fact, for less than 70 calories, artichokes are packed with 7 grams of fiber, and almost 4 gms of protein. We know fiber is good for our gut, but artichokes have a unique form of fiber called inulin which works as a powerful probiotic to our good gut bacteria.
In a study in the journal, Gut, inulin was found to drive the production of a compound called propionate, a short-chain fatty acid produced by gut bacteria. In the study, the researchers found that propionate increased the production of two hormones PYY and GLP-1. While you may not be familiar with these hormones, they are important because they are two of your body’s major hormones responsible for the regulation of satiety and metabolism. As they go up – satiety goes up and so does our metabolism.
Artichokes may also boost your immune system.
They rank high in immune-boosting compounds and antioxidants. They are also high in polyphenols, phytonutrients and phytochemicals in plant foods which show medicinal benefits. In fact, artichokes are one of the highest sources of a particular flavonoid called apigenin, which has been shown to kill pancreatic cancer cells and reduce breast cancer cell growth in laboratories. (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research; Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition)
Now that you are motivated to eat an artichoke here are some tips to prepare:
- Add a tablespoon of salt to the bottom of a steamer pot. And fill halfway with water.
- Trim the stem of the artichoke and clip the spiky leaves to remove the sharp ends.
Using half of a lemon rub the juice over the artichoke. Squeeze the remaining juice into the water in the pot. Place a steamer basket or steamer pot over the water and bring to a boil. Add artichokes, cover pot, and reduce heat. Steam for 25-30 minutes or when leaves can easily be removed.
- The traditional dip is butter but healthier alternatives include balsamic vinaigrette, aioli, tzatziki, or this Lemon Dijon dipping sauce
How to Eat an Artichoke:
You can search out a YouTube video if you want but enjoying the artichoke is simple. The edible part is located at the base of each petal. Pull off the petal and dip in the desired sauce. Pull the base gently through clenched teeth. Once you get to the heart or base of the artichoke you will see a fuzzy area termed the “choke” It is not edible, and you will want to scoop it out with a spoon. Now you are left with the best part- the heart. Enjoy.
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Lemon Dijon Dipping Sauce
- 3 T Greek yogurt
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 1/8 t coconut sugar
- ¼ t garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients and mix well with a wire whisk.
If you liked learning about artichokes be sure to check out the program “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” where we cover the powerful benefits of food for optimizing health.