Artichokes don’t often make it on the easiest-to-grow or easiest-to-prepare lists of gardeners and foodies. But that doesn’t mean they’re not well worth growing and/or bringing into your kitchen. They are a nutritious, delicious treat.
The globe artichokes you see in the store are the edible flower portion of a larger, peculiar-looking plant. The edible, fleshy portions, including the heart, are rich in nutrients. According to fitday.com, eating artichokes provides the following health benefits:
Cardiovascular health: The high quantities of potassium in the vegetable help to maintain normal heart rhythm. Research studies have shown a strong link between high potassium diets and reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also tones down the effect of sodium on blood pressure. This helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, which promotes good health of the heart. Certain phytonutrients in the vegetable help to lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Immunity: The artichoke is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. This helps to boost the body’s immunity against diseases. It also promotes good health. These potent nutrients have been found helpful in the maintenance of healthy cells especially in cases of prostate cancer. This is because they inhibit the proliferation of the cancerous cells. The vegetable has high contents of vitamin C which supports a healthy immune system. Color pigments in the vegetable reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Digestion: The vegetable is rich in dietary fiber which supports a healthy digestive system.
Bone and muscle health: Vitamin C assists in the formation of collagen. This protein supports the development of cartilage, bones, muscles and blood vessels. Magnesium helps to build healthy bones. It also supports muscle functions. Potassium supports the central nervous system and muscle functions.
You can prepare artichokes in many ways, from steaming to stuffing them with yummy ingredients. You can even pickle them, or perhaps use them as a base for creamy dips.
To enjoy an artichoke all on its own—maybe just with some melted butter to go along with it—follow the fun, tantalizing instructions in How to Cook an Artichoke.
To prepare stuffed artichokes, trim the artichoke and then scrape out the center (called the choke). Stuff the artichokes with a mixture of your choice and then set in a bit of stock in a baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. For completed instructions and stuffing combo ideas, see Stuffed Artichokes Recipe.
Need additional ideas and tips? Here you go!
Artichokes are most often grown in areas with lengthy growing seasons, but thanks to varieties that mature faster, there’s a good chance you can grow artichokes where you live. An annual variety called ‘Imperial Star’ is a good option to try.
If you try this variety, grow in an area that gets full sun and amend the soil with plenty of compost.
See Artichokes for Every Climate for more tips and seed sources.
Check out these additional articles on healthy foods:
- Enjoy Healthy, Tasty Asparagus
- An Easy, Yummy Way to Prepare Nutritious Quinoa
- Growing and Cooking with Super-Nutritious Sweet Potatoes
Photo by Tim Nauman