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Artichoke

While artichokes may not be the easiest food to consume, the sheer volume of nutrients, minerals, and phytochemicals found in this extraordinary vegetable make eating them well worth it.

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Health benefits

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Artichokes are filled with antioxidants, that help with everything from staving off cancer to bolstering your immune system. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked artichokes as even higher than dark chocolate, blueberries, and red wine as having the most antioxidants per serving. They’re number 7 of 20 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.
  • High in Fibre: Artichoke wears the crown for highest natural fibre content of any vegetable and over most grains.
  • Lowers Cholesterol: Artichokes have demonstrated time and time again that they are effective at lowering cholesterol.
  • Liver Function: Your liver produces bile to eliminate dangerous toxins and digest fats. Artichokes help immensely with this process, by boosting bile thanks to its cynarin content. Artichokes are also filled with the flavonoid silymarin which prevents free-radical damage from occurring in the cell membranes of liver tissues.
  • Improved Digestion: The cynarin and fibre in artichokes make them a great tool in maintaining a healthy digestive system. The bile-producing cynarin alleviates bloating and other digestive pain. Fibre helps break down food and keep the digestive system moving. 

Botanical characteristics

The artichoke is a robust perennial plant growing up to 2 metres high. It has large, simple to cleft leaves, which are downy on the underside, arched and tapered in pointed thorns.

Today, most cultivated species do not have any thorns. The impressive flower heads are between 8cm and 15cm in diameter.

The fleshy ’hearts’ are filled with blue-violet tubular blossoms and are surrounded by blunt husk leaves arranged like roof tiles.The artichoke flowers from July to August.

Preparation

A.Vogel/Bioforce uses fresh artichoke leaves grown in our own controlled organic cultivation.

The chopped leaves are macerated with alcohol and water. Fresh or dried leaves are commonly used as a tea. However, the content of active ingredients decreases considerably when the leaves are dried.

The fresh herb is squeezed for juice or processed with wine to produce an aperitif. The fleshy husk leaves and ‘heart’ are greatly prized as a delicacy.

Fun facts about Artichoke

  • In 1947, California selected its first official Artichoke Queen: Marilyn Monroe
  • The artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed.
  • Until the 16th century, women were prohibited from eating them in many countries because they were considered to have aphrodisiac properties.
  • Artichokes should never be cooked in aluminum pots. They tend to turn the pots a gray color.

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