13 Health Benefits of Artichokes (Backed by Science)

Ancient Romans and Greeks were the first to use artichoke as food [1].

But nowadays, it is popularly used in many parts of the world including Europe and the Americas.

This thistle species is much loved not only for its rich flavor but also for its powerhouse of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and dietary fiber.

Highly valued for its nutritional and medicinal value, artichokes can definitely help keep you in top shape.

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Key Nutrient Facts of Artichokes

A big artichoke contains no fat and only 25 calories. But it’s loaded with folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein, ferulic acid, caffeic acid and silymarin.

The list below contains nutritional information based on a 100-gram serving of artichokes.

  • Calories 47
  • Carbohydrates 51 g
  • Protein 27 g
  • Fat 15 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Dietary Fiber 4 g
  • Folate 68 µg
  • Niacin 046 mg
  • Pantothenic acid 338 mg
  • Vitamin C 7 mg
  • Vitamin A 13 IU
  • Vitamin E 19 mg
  • Vitamin K 8 µg
  • Sodium 94 mg
  • Potassium 370 mg
  • Calcium 44 mg
  • Copper 231 mg
  • Iron 28 mg
  • Magnesium 60 mg
  • Phosphorus 90 mg
  • Carotene-alpha 8 µg
  • Lutein-zeaxanthin 464 µg

Now, let’s discuss the amazing health benefits of artichokes.

1. Artichokes Can Prevent Cancer

A potentially fatal health condition, cancer is characterized by the abnormal spread and growth of cells that invade healthy tissues in the body [2].

Over 100 types of cancer have been identified, and many of these can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet [2, 3].

Eating foods rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants like artichokes can certainly help reduce cancer risk.

According to research, an artichoke contains a high concentration of phenolic compounds that have chemopreventive properties [4].

Artichoke prevents the metabolism of carcinogens and proliferation of cancer cells in the body [4].

Simply put, it destroys cancer cells, and prevents them from spreading to other parts of the body.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cancer is a condition in which cells replicate abnormally and invade healthy tissues.
  • This disease, which has more than 100 types, is potentially fatal.
  • Reducing cancer risk is possible with antioxidant-rich foods like artichokes.
  • Phenolic compounds in artichokes have strong anti-cancer properties that can significantly reduce risk of several forms of cancer.

2. Artichokes Can Improve Heart Health

Mayo Clinic defines heart disease as an umbrella term used for conditions involving the blood vessels, heart rhythm and heart defects.

A leading cause of death anywhere in the world, heart disease has been linked to the high levels of cholesterol in the plasma [5].

If only people exercise caution in what they eat and do, the risk for heart disease will surely go down.

One thing that can be done is to eat heart-healthy foods such as artichokes.

In 2008, researchers from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom analyzed the effects of artichokes on cholesterol levels [5].

High cholesterol levels have been associated with the increased risk of heart disease [5].

A total of 75 adults were randomized to receive either artichoke extract or a placebo daily for 12 weeks [5].

Total cholesterol level was reduced by an average of 4.2 percent among artichoke users, and was increased by 1.9 percent among the placebo takers [5].

It’s safe to conclude that incorporating artichokes in your daily diet can do so much in improving your heart health.

Key Takeaway:

  • Eating artichokes can lower levels of cholesterol in the plasma, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease.

3. Artichokes Can Be Used as a Liver Tonic

The liver is not only the body’s largest organ, it is also responsible for many vital processes including digesting food, storing energy, flushing out toxins and more [6].

Unfortunately, many diseases can affect the liver, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease [6].

Protect your liver from these diseases by eating foods that cleanse this organ and purge out toxins, such as artichokes.

Artichokes’ phenolic compounds keep the liver healthy by detoxifying it and promoting proper flow of bile, reports a 2003 study [7].

Cynarin is one of the antioxidants in artichokes that have been found to have strong hepaprotective effects [8].

Key Takeaways:

  • The liver takes care of many important bodily processes such as detoxification, food digestion and energy storage.
  • Diseases like hepatitis, fatty liver disease and cirrhosis can affect liver health and function.
  • Artichokes can help protect the liver by cleansing it and getting rid of toxins.
  • It can also promote proper flow of bile with its phenolic compounds.

4. Manage Diabetes with the Help of Artichokes

Diabetes is one of the major health problems of the 21st century [9].

This refers to a “chronic disorder of glucose metabolism” that is caused by improper functioning of the pancreas that leads to resistance to insulin [9].

If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to dangerous complications such as kidney damage, heart disease, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and nerve damage.

If you have been diagnosed with this condition, it’s a must to monitor blood sugar levels regularly.

Eating foods that can lower blood glucose can also help.

Results from a 2006 study published in the Pakistan Journal of Nutrition show that artichokes have hypoglycemic effects [9].

Artichokes reduced not only the fasting and postprandial blood glucose but also the total cholesterol level [9].

Researchers therefore advise diabetic patients to include this vegetable in their daily diet [9].

Key Takeaway:

  • Diabetes can lead to dangerous complications, and should therefore be managed properly.
  • Artichokes are recommended for people suffering from diabetes, as they have hypoglycemic effects that can lower blood sugar levels.

5. Eating Artichokes Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

If you’d like to keep yourself in good health then be sure to monitor your cholesterol levels regularly.

Cholesterol is the waxy substance present in the cells of the body, necessary for making vitamin D, hormones and digestive juices [10].

To investigate the efficacy and safety of artichokes in lowering cholesterol levels, researchers from Munich, Germany asked 143 patients to take in either 1,800 mg of artichoke extract or a placebo everyday for six weeks [11].

Artichoke was found superior to the placebo in reducing the total cholesterol level [11].

The rate of reduction in the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was 22.9 percent for artichoke users and only 6.3 percent for the placebo group [11].

Also called the “bad cholesterol”, LDL cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries and cause heart problems or stroke.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream by eating artichokes more often.
  • Accumulation of LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease or stroke.

6. Artichokes Contain Potent Antioxidants

Did you know that free radicals can seriously affect your health?

Research says that free radicals can cause oxidative stress inside the body, which in turn can lead to various ailments [12].

Some of these health problems include cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

A good way to fight cellular damage caused by free radicals is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants like artichokes.

Several studies confirm that artichokes are packed with powerful antioxidants that have free radical scavenging properties [13, 14, 15].

Key Takeaways:

  • Free radicals can cause many serious health problems including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer.
  • Fight cellular damage and oxidative stress caused by free radicals with the help of foods rich in antioxidants including artichokes.

7. Resolve Digestive Problems with Artichokes

If you’re always feeling bloated or uneasy after a meal, you might want to try eating artichokes.

Artichokes have been found to have soothing effects on the stomach, and at the same time, are able to aid in digestion [16].

Clinical findings show that artichokes can be an effective treatment for various digestive issues including nausea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite [16].

Its positive impact on the digestive system is linked to the presence of caffeic acid and flavonoids [16].

Key Takeaways:

  • Artichokes can prevent indigestion, bloating, nausea and many other digestive complaints.
  • These are due to the presence of flavonoids and caffeic acid.

READ MORE: 19 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast

8. Artichokes Can Boost Bone Health

If you don’t take proper care of your bones, they can grow weak and fragile over time.

With this, there’s an increased chance of fractures and other bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that causes bone tissue loss and fragility, increasing the risk of injury and fracture.

Sufficient intake of foods that are rich in vitamin K such as artichokes can prevent this from happening.

According to research, vitamin K not only plays a significant role in blood clotting, it also regulates calcium and activates proteins that are necessary in maintaining bone health [17].

Key Takeaway:

  • Vitamin K in artichokes can help maintain strong and healthy bones by activating proteins and regulating calcium.

9. Artichokes Enhance Brain Function

To keep your brain healthy and functioning optimally, make sure that you’re not deficient in phosphorus.

Scientists have indicated that insufficient intake of this important mineral can lead to cognitive decline [18].

This is why, it’s important to eat artichokes, which are a good source of phosphorus.

In addition to that, artichokes are said to have vasodilating properties that allow more oxygen to enter the brain, resulting in better functioning, reports Organic Facts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Deficiency is phosphorus can lead to cognitive decline.
  • Eat phosphorus-rich artichokes to improve brain function including memory, learning and logical reasoning.

10. Artichokes Are Good for the Gallbladder

Gallbladder problems can manifest as severe pain in the abdomen, which worsens even more after eating heavy or greasy meals [19].

The gallbladder, which is the small sac located beneath the liver, stores and releases bile used for digesting food [19].

You can just imagine how difficult and debilitating a gallbladder problem can be.

It’s important that you take care of your gallbladder to ensure that none of these happen.

Eating artichokes is a good way to keep gallbladder in top health.

What artichoke does is that it ensures that bile is produced sufficiently and transported properly to the gallbladder [20].

Artichoke’s choleretic properties can be attributed to its phenolic acid called cynarin [20].

Key Takeaways:

  • Problems in the gallbladder, the small sac that can be found behind the liver, cause pain in the abdominal area particularly after eating greasy and heavy meals.
  • Artichokes can help by making sure that there’s sufficient bile transported to the gallbladder.
  • Contributing to this beneficial effect is the phenolic acid in artichoke known as cynarin.

READ MORE: 10 Home Remedies for Gallbladder Pain (& How to Use Them)

11. Artichokes Have Anti-Aging Properties

Although there’s no stopping the hands of time, you can certainly look a lot younger when you eat the right kinds of food.

Antioxidant-rich artichokes, for example, have been found to delay aging of the skin.

In 2013, a group of researchers found that artichoke’s cynaropicrin can suppress skin aging caused by overexposure to UV radiation [21].

Photoaging of skin triggers the excessive proliferation of melanocytes and keratinocytes, which in turn, cause wrinkles and age spots [21].

Key Takeaway:

  • Artichokes can be your modern-day fountain of youth, inhibiting the aging of the skin caused by excessive sun exposure.

READ MORE: 11 Ways to Get Rid of Wrinkles Using Home Remedies

12. Artichokes Can Fight Viral Infections

Another important benefit of artichoke that many could surely make use of is its ability to fight viral infections.

A 2009 study established artichoke’s antiviral properties against parainfluenza (PI-3) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) [22].

The active compounds in artichoke work by controlling the growth, formation, and spread of viral cells in the body [22].

Apart from these two specific viruses, there are many other harmful microorganisms that can be combated with frequent intake of artichokes.

Their antiviral activities can be attributed to the presence of flavonoids, which have also been linked to other pharmacological effects like anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory and so on [23].

Key Takeaways:

  • Viral infections can be combated with frequent intake of artichokes.
  • Artichokes’ virucidal activities lie on their ability to suppress the growth and spread of viral cells.
  • Artichokes also work as a potent anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory.

13. Artichokes Can Cure Hangover

Nursing a hangover?

Artichokes can definitely help!

As you know, an alcohol hangover can cause many unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, headache, dry mouth, dizziness, abdominal pain, anxiety and feeling of illness.

These symptoms can last for 24 hours or more.

For many years, artichoke has been used as a remedy for hangovers, among other ailments [24].

Some believe that artichokes work because they are a natural diuretic, enabling the body to get rid of alcohol more quickly [24].

Key Takeaways:

  • Artichokes can help soothe the unpleasant symptoms caused by alcohol hangovers.
  • It is a natural diuretic that can help the body expel alcohol more easily.

READ MORE: Essential Oils for Alcoholism: 5 Natural Alcohol Detox

Bottom Line

Artichokes have many fascinating benefits that you’d surely want to make use of.

Not only can it help maintain top health, it can also ward off a number of ailments even serious ones like cancer and heart disease.

It can also help keep bodily organs like the liver and gallbladder functioning optimally.

Let us know your queries and feedback regarding artichokes. Write in the comment section.

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