The Amazing Artichoke



The Nutritional Profile of Artichokes


I don't know about you, but I am a big fan of artichokes. The artichoke is a superfood vegetable and a great source of prebiotics - undigestible sugars that feed the beneficial microbes in the gut and improve digestive and immune health. (1)


A medium size artichoke (cooked or raw) has only 13 grams of carbohydrates and about 60 calories, but it provides 7 grams of fiber (25% of the required daily intake), 4 grams of plant protein, as well as essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, folate and vitamin K, which are important for normal nervous system function, blood pressure, bone and heart health. (2)


Artichokes are also rich in health-promoting polyphenols and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.(3) Research has shown over and over again that artichokes have important medicinal qualities. Most significant appears to be their beneficial effect on the liver.(4) In animal studies, ethanol (alcohol) extract from artichoke leaves was shown to significantly reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic rats as well as total cholesterol, triglycerides and low density lipoproteins (LDL), all of which are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the extract exerted potent anti-oxidative activity demonstrated by the increase of SOD (superoxide dismutase) and GSH (glutathione) activities in liver, kidney and pancreas of diabetic rats. (5)


Artichokes and Gut Health


Artichokes are also amazing for the integrity and health of the gut as they are rich source of indigestible sugar polymers such as inulin -- a type of prebiotic. Prebiotics are soluble fibers that alter the composition of the gut microbiota in a beneficial manner. Inulin has been shown to promote the growth of several Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strains, which reduce the proliferation and activity of pathogenic microorganisms in the gut and also produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) -- a nutrient source for the cells of the intestinal lining. (5), (6)


To help you incorporate artichokes into your diet, I want to share with you a delicious salad recipe which has become a staple in my house -- it provides a great deal of nutrient-dense, prebiotic-rich vegetables and zesty flavor. This recipe is truly amazing, so be sure to try it for yourself. It is very easy and quick to toss, but oh so yummy and satisfying!

Warm Artichoke & Arugula Salad {Recipe}


INGREDIENTS:

Servings: 3-4

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Salad

  • 1 can/jar of marinated artichoke hearts (I like to use this brand)

  • 3 cups of fresh arugula, washed

  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

  • 1 Tbsp fresh goat cheese (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (we use cold-pressed, organic olive oil)

  • juice of one lemon/lime

  • sea salt to taste

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • water to desired consistency


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all salad ingredients, except for artichoke hearts, in a salad bowl and toss together.

  2. Lightly sauté the artichoke hearts in their marinade for about 3-5 min, turn off the heat and let cool for a few min.

  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing by blending all ingredients until smooth. You may need to add more lemon juice or some water to make the dressing less thick.

  4. Add the warm artichoke hearts and tahini dressing to the salad and mix well to combine.

  5. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Please leave me a comment below to let me know if you enjoyed this recipe and please share your favorite way to prepare artichokes. Thank you!


#Plantbasedmeals #Artichokesalad #Healthyfoods #Arugula #Bostonnutritionist #Nutrientdensefoodsf

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