Is it a Flower or a Vegetable: Discover the Artichoke

Posted by Nicki Cooper on

Artichokes are one of the most elegant vegetables to serve from their round, lush layers to their smooth, buttery texture.  When served whole, it seems as if a rigid, green flower sits on your plate, and in fact it does.  The artichoke is a thistle, meaning part of the daisy family.  It is technically a wild flower.  Each little layer we eat is a flower bud that has yet to bloom.  They are quite beautiful when fully mature as hundreds of delicate little purple petals burst open.  Combined with all their natural beauty is a nutrient packed vegetable with health benefits that may surprise you.

5 Reasons You Should Eat Artichokes

     1. Artichokes have one of the highest reported antioxidant capacities of all fruits or vegetables. Move over cranberries, we’re having flowers tonight!

     2. With one small artichoke (100 grams), you get 20% of your daily fiber! There is more fiber in one artichoke than an oat bran muffin or a cup of lima beans.

     3. According to a study in Germany, artichokes can significantly lower cholesterol when ingested regularly. The cynarin in the artichoke increases bile production in the liver which aids in ridding excess cholesterol from the body.

     4. Artichokes are a mild diuretic and naturally assist in eliminating extra liquid from the body; i.e. ladies they slim you down. They are also a natural electrolyte with high levels of potassium and magnesium.  This helps lower blood pressure!

     5. There is so much more, but overall it is packed with vitamins and minerals like 12% DV of vitamin K for brain health, high levels of cynarin and silymarin for liver health, rutin, quercetin and gallic acid for cell health in prevention of cancer, one quarter of your daily value of folic acid and nearly 20% of your daily vitamin C to support your immune system and collagen growth.

3 Reasons Artichokes Are Exceptional

     1. According to history, the Greeks and Romans considered the artichoke a powerful aphrodisiac. So much so that until the 16th century, women were prohibited from eating them in many countries. 

     2. Catherine de Medici, King Henry II’s wife, brought artichokes to France claiming women were so bold at the time that the artichoke could do no further harm to their reputations, so eat up. 

     3. In keeping with the artichoke’s provocative side, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the first honorary Artichoke Queen for Castroville, California in 1947.

Do we really need any more reasons to add artichokes to the grocery list?  They have a wonderful flavor, a unique visual appeal, a colorful history and so many health benefits that it just makes sense.

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