Visually the artichoke looks just like a decorative plant. But, according to nutritionist Renata Guirau, this herb is edible and full of benefits for the health of the liver, heart and brain.
“In terms of food, it fits into the group of vegetables . The edible part of this plant is its inflorescences, popularly called artichoke buds or flowers ”, explains the Oba Hortifruti professional.
However, you can still make tea from the infusion of the leaves. This, being a diuretic, helps in the weight loss process . Therefore, the nutritionist advises the drink for those on a diet.
In addition to tea, the flower can be consumed in some recipe and it is still possible to take advantage of the medicinal properties of the plant through the long ones, also known as capsules.
What are the benefits of artichoke?
This plant has antioxidant, diuretic and digestive action. In addition, it is composed of vitamins A, C and the B complex. All this without counting the minerals present in it, such as calcium and iron .
1. Protect the liver
According to Guirau, consuming artichoke regularly can be beneficial for people with liver problems, as the plant has choleretic and cholagogue action.
In the first case, it means that it stimulates the secretion of bile from the gallbladder to the duodenum. Choleretic is a stimulating effect on the gallbladder. In other words, it encourages the liver to produce bile. Thus, in both cases, the plant contributes to the emulsification (breakdown) of fats.
2. Lowers cholesterol
“Artichokes, in food or in the form of encapsulated extract (supplementation), proves to be beneficial for improving the cholesterol profile, increasing HDL and reducing LDL”, explains the nutritionist.
This therapeutic effect is related to the presence of luteolin, an antioxidant that inhibits cholesterol biosynthesis. In other words, it prevents the formation of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
In this way, the plant can help in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases , such as high blood pressure , stroke, arrhythmia, etc. In general, these health problems are still the main causes of premature death in the world. ( 2 , 3.4 )
“An Italian study found that the consumption of artichoke extract improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduced cardiovascular risk in adults,” he adds.
3. Prevents chronic diseases
“In addition, artichoke has a great antioxidant potential , favoring the protection of cells and tissue, preventing chronic diseases”, informs Guirau.
In practice, the substances act by preventing the oxidation of cells, an aggressive action initiated by free radicals. With this effect, the aging of the skin and the appearance of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are avoided .
4. Helps in the treatment of diabetes
Also according to nutritionist, in patients with metabolic syndrome, the flower can help improve blood glucose , contributing to the treatment of this condition.
Diabetes mellitus is another health problem that is involved with oxidative stress caused by free radicals. But it can be prevented through the antioxidants present in the plant.
In addition, it is indicated to complete the diet of diabetics due to its composition. This is because the vegetable has low calories, high fiber content, good amounts of iron, low fat content and a good percentage of carbohydrates. ( 5 )
5. Protects the nervous system
“Another research found benefit from the consumption of artichoke extract in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, reducing oxidative stress in markers related to the central nervous system”, says Renata Guirau.
6. Lose weight
In every 100 grams of the plant there are approximately 40 calories. For this reason, the nutritionist classifies the food as having a low calorie value.
In addition to this factor, Guirau also mentions the diuretic effect that tea made from the leaves of this vegetable has. With this, the drink can reduce fluid retention , reducing measurements and causing a feeling of weight loss.
Therefore, the professional explains that the infusion and the vegetable can be used as an aid in nutritional strategies to reduce body weight.
7. Aids in digestion
“It is a good source of fiber , which helps with intestinal health and good digestion”, says the nutritionist. For those who don’t know, fibers are substances that are not digestible by the body, but they contribute to the proper functioning of the intestines.
Its benefits begin right at the first stage of the digestive process, in the mouth. As they need more chewing, they increase the feeling of fullness .
In the stomach, in turn, they form a gel that increases in size, taking up more space. Consequently, there is a lower caloric intake.
Finally, they act beneficially on the intestine, as they contribute to peristaltic movements and the elimination of feces. In practice, fiber reduces the risk of constipation, also called constipation or constipation .
But beware, for this to occur in a healthy way, you need to consume 25 grams of fiber per day. In addition to drinking plenty of water to maintain a good balance. ( 6 )
8. Strengthens the organism
“It has vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin
B complex, important for bones, teeth, blood pressure control, improved antioxidant function and anemia prevention ”, concludes Renata Guirau.
Artichoke tea: what is it for and how to make it
According to the nutritionist, the tea from this plant has diuretic and digestive effects , so it is indicated for those who want to lose weight. In addition, it helps improve cholesterol levels and liver health.
Learn how to make the drink following the nutrition professional’s recommendations:
- Heat 250 ml of water until it starts to boil.
- Turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of artichoke leaves.
- Cover the container and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Drink then.
“Artichoke capsules are usually the dry extract of the plant, with herbal actives that can act on cholesterol, liver and stomach health and improve digestion and intestinal function”, teaches the specialist.
Also according to Renata, the amount, frequency and time of use will depend on each patient. For this reason, it is advisable to seek help from a nutritionist.
In addition to defining these treatment issues, he should also recommend the concentration of actives present in the pill.
Stuffed artichoke recipe
This dish indication was made by the nutritionist. Learn it!
- 2 medium artichokes
- 3 tablespoons of bread bran
- 2 tablespoons of chopped leeks
- 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 1 small grated onion
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 crushed garlic clove.
Cook the artichokes in water for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and scrape the inside of the artichokes with a spoon.
Heat the butter, saute the garlic and onion. Add the leeks, parmesan, parsley, breadcrumbs, lemon juice. Mix everything together and stuff the artichokes.
Drizzle with oil and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Contraindications and side effects
“Consumption of concentrated artichoke extract should be done with the
recommendation of a health professional and monitored, as it can present side effects, such as liver poisoning ”, alerts the nutritionist.