Artichokes are delicious but most importantly, loaded with nutrients that help maintain optimal health. They protect the liver, heart, and digestive tract from different health problems, and help reduce any inflammatory process that’s going on in your body.
They are a great addition to your diet and a fantastic source of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. One medium artichoke contains around 20 percent of the recommended daily dosage of vitamin C.
What’s more, it is a low-calorie food that is rich in fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants.
The inner part of artichokes called the ‘heart’ is the most commonly used part of this vegetable. You can use it for salads to pizza.
But, how do artichokes affect your blood sugar levels? Should you eat more or less of them if you have diabetes?
In this post, you’ll learn not only that but all other nutritious and health-beneficial facts about artichokes.
Nutrition Facts about Artichokes
One medium artichoke contains the following:
- Low in calories – 60 calories;
- High in fiber – 7 grams;
- A medium artichoke has 4 grams of protein and is essentially fat-free;
- No fat;
- 4 grams of protein;
- High levels of antioxidants – a cup of artichokes has 150 percent more antioxidants than a cup of blueberries;
- High levels of iron, calcium, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin K.
Health Benefits of Artichokes
The high levels of antioxidants like quercetin, anthocyanins, and vitamin C help protect against cancer and heart disease, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system.
When it comes to its rich fiber content, it helps cut the risk of gut-related issues and helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This is because it contains soluble and prebiotic fiber.
Vitamin K in artichokes helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s and other diseases related to the brain. What’s more, it supports bone health and prevents blood clotting.
On the other hand, its potassium content helps control blood pressure.
Artichokes and Diabetes
The liver stores extra glucose as glycogen which is turned into sugar when there are low supplies of blood sugar in the body. But, sometimes the production of glucose in the liver is higher than normal, leading to diabetes and other health issues.
Animal research showed that the artichoke compound called Cynarin helps prevent the overproduction of glucose. Even though more research is needed, researchers strongly believe that this compound can one day help the diabetes management of diabetics who are not insulin-dependent.
Another rat study found that consuming this vegetable can help regulate blood sugar levels, especially post-meal blood glucose.
Their rich fiber content helps keep blood glucose stable, preventing insulin spikes and dips which can cause serious diabetes complications.
Nevertheless, the soluble and prebiotic fiber it contains makes it extremely beneficial for people with diabetes.
Choosing the best Artichokes
Always buy artichokes with an even green color. Avoid ones that look dried out, wilted, and moldy.
The most delicious ones are those that fit in the palm of your hand with small hearts and are quite heavy.
How to Cook Them
This is quite a versatile vegetable that can be boiled in salt water or steamed in a steamer. You should cook them in boiling water only for half an hour.
Also, you can rinse them with some water and microwave them wrapped in a microwavable plastic wrap together with one ice cube. Microwave them until their base meaty part is tender.
As you can see, artichokes are not only beneficial for people with diabetes but for everyone thanks to their rich nutrient content. They help prevent and treat many health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and problems with the immune system and heart.