One of the best foods known to humans is artichokes. Belonging to sunflower family, Artichokes are exotic to Mediterranean and Canary Islands. Artichoke comes at number one among all the vegetables when it comes to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
What Is Jerusalem Artichokes?
Artichoke is the bud of a flower. The center called “choke” sits on top of the core called the heart. The leaves cover up both the core and the choke. The heart part of the artichoke is edible. The leaves are a bit hard and they have to be scraped off while the choke is very fibrous in mature buds but can be eaten in baby buds.
How Are Jerusalem Artichokes Used?
Artichokes are now grown in Italy, France, and Spain, but California supplies all of the artichokes consumed in the United States. Artichokes are the native plant of the Mediterranean. The climate of California resembles the Mediterranean that’s why almost all of the artichokes of the United State are cultivated in California.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Jerusalem Artichokes?
USDA stated that one artichoke contains 7 grams of fiber which provides one-third of the daily intake of fiber. Fiber not only aids in weight management and digestion but also helps in maintaining blood sugar and insulin levels. Fiber also feeds the gut bacteria that in turn promotes immunity.
NAFLD (non-alcoholic liver disease) is the most prevalent cause of liver disease worldwide. Healthy eating, weight management along with other precautions can reduce the risk of NAFLD but artichoke also plays a role in preventing this disease. A study published in 2018 showed that patients suffering from NAFLD who took artichoke showed improvements in quality of life as compared to the placebo group. Artichoke extract also reduces the amount of bad cholesterol LDL in the body.
Green artichokes that are available in the market are unrelated to the Jerusalem artichokes that are not green. Jerusalem artichokes are also called sunchokes and they can be eaten cooked as well as raw. These artichokes are loaded with insulin which is prebiotic with multiple health benefits.
Improve gut health:
Feeding beneficial bacteria artichokes also improve the absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. A paper published in 2020 in the “Cellular and Molecular Biology” journal stated that the Jerusalem artichokes have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antifungal properties. They lower the level of triglycerides and bad cholesterol and also help in managing high blood sugar levels. Artichokes help in the detoxification of heavy metals and alcohol and support immune functions.
Irritable bowel syndrome:
IBS is a digestive system disorder characterized by flatulence, diarrhea cramping vomiting, and stomach pain. Research conducted on people with IBS showed that people who took artichoke extract for 6 weeks continuously noticed significant ease in their symptoms. 96% of the people who participated in the study reported that artichoke leaf extract is as potent as other IBS medicines like antidiarrheals and laxatives. Artichoke contains antispasmodic compounds that stop muscle spasms common in IBS.
What Makes Jerusalem Artichokes An Anti-cancer Food?
Artichokes have the highest content of antioxidants (flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins) as compared to other vegetables. In addition to these, they also contain other nutrients that help fight cancer. A single artichoke provides 25% of the daily dose of vitamin C. Research suggested that people who eat vitamin C-containing fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of breast, colon, and liver cancer.
Studies carried out on animals and in vitro also showed the growth impairing properties of artichokes for cancer cells. Antioxidants like quercetin, silymarin, and gallic acid are responsible for fighting cancer cells. Silymarin prevented skin cancer in animal and test-tube studies. But further human research is needed.