Long considered a delicacy around the globe, artichokes are actually the unopened flower of a thistle like plant. Artichokes are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, and were brought to North America by French and Spanish explorers. Today, approximately 99% of artichokes grown in North America are from California.
- Artichokes are rich in many vitamins and minerals such as: magnesium, mineral chromium, vitamin C and A, folic acid, biotin, manganese, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, potassium, and fiber.
- A medium-sized globe artichoke has only 60 calories, all free of fat.
- Artichokes contain carbohydrates in the form of inulin, which can improve blood sugar control, making them beneficial to diabetics.
- Artichokes contain caffeoyliquinic acid that helps protect and regenerate the liver.
- Extracts from artichoke leaves have been shown to help lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as improve the function of cells that line arteries.
Excellent steamed baked or boiled, artichokes have long been considered a lovely appetizer or meal. Try stuffing them with quinoa or as a topping on a pizza as a way to change up their preparation. For more information on the nutritional benefits of artichokes and other foods, you can purchase a copy of the The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods here.