The globe artichoke Cynara Cardunculus is one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables; originating from Ethiopia, with Italy currently being the world’s largest producer. It was valued in ancient Greece and Rome as a digestive aid, available only to the wealthy.
It was the French and Spanish explorers who first brought artichokes to the United States, and today virtually all of the globe artichokes grown in the US are produced in Castroville, California.
Historically considered an aphrodisiac, artichokes literally feed the heart. In a recent study assessing heart health promoting antioxidants; artichoke hearts ranked the highest for vegetables.
Globe artichokes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, magnesium, and the trace mineral chromium. They are a very good source of vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, and the trace mineral manganese. They are a good source of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, and potassium.
Reduces LDL Cholesterol
The artichoke has strong choleretic activity (promotes bile secretion in the liver), and choleretics increase the excretion of cholesterol and decrease the manufacture of cholesterol in the liver.
Dyspepsia is often attributed to insufficient flow of bile from the gallbladder, and there is evidence that the artichoke leaf has the ability to stimulate this flow.
The carbohydrate in artichokes is in the form of inulin, which has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics. The artichokes must be fresh, as the inulin will eventually convert to other sugars as the artichoke ages.
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