Surprised to be considering raw artichokes in your juice or smoothie recipes? Well, you're about to be even more surprised by the powerful disease-fighting compounds in artichokes.
But first, let's briefly look at the fascinating history and latest research involving artichokes!
A Little History
It's easy to be intimidated by this member of the thistle family, but nearly all the artichoke is edible!
In recorded history, artichokes date to the Mediterranean nearly 3000 years ago, from where they spread north to Italy, Spain and France, and south and east to North Africa and Arabia.
The artichoke was used by ancient Romans and Greeks as both a food and for medicinal purposes, particularly as an aphrodisiac. The ancient Greeks believed the artichoke was created when Zeus was angered by a beautiful woman who thwarted his attentions and turned her into a thistle!
In the 1800’s this wonder food made its way to the US via French and Spanish immigrants.
Latest Exciting Research
Research has proven that artichokes relieve a number of issues, acting as an analgesic for pain related to indigestion and acid reflux, but also artichokes diminish constipation and stomach ailments.
Another study reported by the Langone Medical Center of New York University showed that artichoke consumption alleviated dyspepsia, bloating, stomach issues and diarrhea.
Studies have also shown that powerful compounds in artichokes lower bad (LDL) cholesterol while raising good (HDL) cholesterol.
Still other studies demonstrate that artichokes contain cancer-preventing compounds.
Low in calories and fat, artichokes are rich in fiber, antioxidants, folic acid, flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.
The nutritional benefits of artichokes rank them among the world's ‘super foods.’ Vitamins include A, C, E, K, D and a wide array of B-complex compounds.
The wealth of minerals in artichokes range from calcium and iron to phosphorus, potassium, manganese, zinc, sodium and copper.
Surprisingly, artichokes rank among the highest for antioxidants. In fact, science has ranked artichokes #7 among the top 20 foods that deliver the highest amount of antioxidants!
Gather the ingredients.
Add only 3 to 4 greens leaves because they are bitter and also because too many can upset your stomach.
Wheatgrass is the most nutritious of all the greens. Instead of using 3 to 4 leaves, use a 1-inch thumb thickness of wheatgrass for each recipe.
Using sweeteners is not recommended even for smoothies! Whether it's processed or an all-natural alternative such as coconut sugar or agave nectar, it's still sugar! Here's why you might be concerned about how much sugar you eat!