Artichokes not only taste good on pizza or in salads, they are also particularly healthy and popular as medicinal plants. We’ll tell you what nutritional values these heart-shaped vegetables contain and how many calories they contain.
Even in ancient times, people valued the artichoke as a food and medicinal plant. At that time, however, only a few people could afford the rare vegetable. In the Middle Ages, the popular, heart-shaped plant was brought to Europe from Persia and North Africa, where it was very popular. Today, however, the artichoke no longer exists as a wild plant, but only in a cultivated form from Central and Southern Europe, South America and North Africa.
The artichoke plant can reach a height of 1.5 meters. The purple-colored flowers of the flower heads sit on the large leaves, inside of which is the culinary object of desire: the slightly bitter-tasting artichoke hearts.
1. Nutritional values of artichokes
Admittedly, these artichokes aren’t real nutritional miracles. Compared to other vegetables, they contain few carbohydrates and proteins, no healthy fatty acids and only 41 calories per 100 grams, which should please figure-conscious people. When it comes to fiber, there are per se better sources. Nevertheless, artichokes can score here, because: They are rich in inulin, a soluble fiber that has a beneficial effect on digestion and the intestines.
What makes artichokes healthy? Here you will find an overview of the most important nutritional values of 100 grams of artichokes:
Artichokes per 100 grams Calories 41 g protein 2 g Fat 0 g Fiber 11 g carbohydrates 2.9 g
When it comes to minerals and vitamins, the daisy family cannot provide any remarkable quantities. Only the potassium content of 350 milligrams per 100 grams is worth mentioning, as this ensures that unwanted water retention in the body is excreted faster. The artichoke also contains beta-carotene, B vitamins, calcium and iron.
2. Miracle weapon against fat deposits
Artichokes are not necessarily one of the largest suppliers of nutrients and contain only small amounts of minerals and vitamins compared to other vegetables. Still, fans swear by the bitter, edible thistles. Because they are supposed to be real fat burners because they are practically calorie-free and contain no fat.
And indeed: artichokes contain substances that stimulate the flow of bile and facilitate the digestion, especially of fatty foods. The substance cynarin they contain is said to stimulate salivation and gastric acid production. In addition, the vegetables have a slightly detoxifying effect and should have a positive effect on the fat level in the blood. By the way: the light bitterness of the artichokes is due to the substance cynarin.
3. Help against gas and bloating
Those who frequently suffer from gas, bloating or constipation should include artichokes in their diet. Why? In addition to cynarin, the bitter substance cynaropicrin in the plant helps to digest fatty and heavy meals more easily by stimulating the liver’s bile production and getting the intestinal muscles going. Another point that makes artichokes healthy.
With a special artichoke extract obtained from the leaves, the calming effect on the gastro-dam tract comes into its own. It is used for digestive disorders for this reason. But be careful: If you have diarrhea, an artichoke extract should not be taken, as this could worsen the symptoms.
4. Ideal vegetables for diabetes
Artichokes have turned out to be the ideal vegetable for diabetes because they contain a relatively large amount of inulin. This special fiber turns into fructose when cooked, which the body can process without releasing insulin. One study has shown that fasting blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics improved significantly after they had been given fresh plant juice made from artichoke flower buds.
If you suffer from diabetes, artichoke juice is an ideal addition to the menu. Artichokes also lower blood fat levels and are said to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Cynarin is also said to be responsible for this – but this effect has not yet been sufficiently scientifically proven.
5. Strengthening the liver
Probably the most important reason for consuming green vegetables is their positive effect on the liver and gall bladder. The flavonoids they contain can protect the liver from cell-damaging substances and at the same time promote the flow of bile.
The leaves of the medicinal plant also have a detoxifying effect and thus support the liver in its function. In the case of gallstones or an obstruction of the biliary tract, however, preparations made from artichoke extract are not recommended.
Knowledge to take away
While artichokes aren’t one of the biggest sources of nutrients, there are a number of reasons why the green vegetable should end up on your diet more often.
The plant is ideal for weight loss, among other things, as it contains hardly any calories and fat. In addition, the bitter substances cynarin and cynaropicrin ensure that fatty and heavy meals are digested more easily by stimulating the liver’s bile production and getting the intestinal muscles going.
Interesting for diabetics: Artichokes are the ideal vegetable for type 2 diabetes because they contain a lot of inulin. This fiber turns into fructose when cooked, which the body can process without releasing insulin. As an artichoke extract, the leaves of the medicinal plant also have a particularly healing and detoxifying effect on the body and liver.