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Benefits of Artichoke
Artichoke is a plant. The leaf, stem, and root are used to make extracts which contain a high concentration of certain chemicals found in the plant. These extracts are used as medicine. Artichoke is used to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, and this is thought to help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and alcohol hangover. Artichoke is also used for high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney problems, anemia, fluid retention (edema), arthritis, bladder infections, and liver problems.
2. How does it work
Artichoke has chemicals that can reduce nausea and vomiting, spasms, and intestinal gas. These chemicals have also been shown to lower cholesterol. In foods, artichoke leaves and extracts are used to flavor beverages. Cynarin and chlorogenic acid, which are chemicals found in artichoke, are sometimes used as sweeteners.
The globe artichoke, or Cynara scolymus, is the immature flowers of a thistle plant and is known as one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. Most likely, artichokes originated in the Mediterranean, although they have been seen in ancient Egyptian writings as symbols of sacrifice and fertility. The Spanish eventually brought them to California in 1600, but they didn t actually catch on with Americans until the 1920s. California provides nearly 100 percent of the artichoke crop in the United States, with Castroville, a town in the California Central Coast farm country, calling itself the artichoke center of the world. There are several varieties of artichokes such as Green Globe, Desert Globe, Big Heart, and Imperial Star, ranging in color from dark purple to pale green.
4. Cancer Prevention
There are many other powerful polyphenol type antioxidants found in artichokes that researchers believe can contribute to the prevention and management of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. Studies have shown that the antioxidants rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid found in artichoke leaf extract are able to induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce the proliferation of cancer cells.
5. Cholesterol Fighter
High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. Artichokes and artichoke leaf extract reduce cholesterol levels. The efforts to study this idea date back all the way to the 1970s, when scientists began examining cynarin and cholesterol in their labs.
6. Digestive Health
The high concentration of cynarin in artichokes not only affects cholesterol, but also can contribute to aiding in digestive health. Cynarin is known to stimulate the production of bile, which enables us to digest fats and absorb vitamins from our food, making artichokes an excellent way to start any meal.3
7. Liver Function
The boost in bile production you gain from eating artichokes can also be attributed to cynarin, which can be very beneficial to the health of your liver. The bile that your liver produces helps to remove dangerous toxins and digest fats. Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, a powerful liver protectant. Silymarin averts the process of lipid peroxidation from occurring in the cell membranes of the tissues of the liver, making the artichoke an ideal weapon in your arsenal to help you obtain optimal liver function.
8. High in Antioxidants
A study done by the USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin.
9. Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Studies done with artichoke leaf extract have found that they induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce cell proliferation in many different forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. An Italian study found that a diet rich in the flavanoids present in artichokes reduces the risk of breast cancer.
10. Increased Bile Flow
The pulp of artichoke leaves contains a polyphenol antioxidant called cynarin which increases bile flow. Some people use artichoke for treating snakebites, preventing gallstones, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar; to increase urine flow; and as a tonic or stimulant.
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