Thursday, 9 January 2020

14 Amazing Benefits Of Artichokes For Skin, Hair, And Health

The fiber in artichokes aids digestion and contributes to healthy weight loss. It also regulates the levels of blood sugar and blood cholesterol, the latter enhancing heart health as well. While the important antioxidants like quercetin and gallic acid prevent cancer, various other antioxidants in artichokes help improve the health of the skin and hair.

1. Help Treat Indigestion And Other Digestive Issues

Artichoke leaf extract is recommended in several parts of the world to treat indigestion. The extract increases the flow of bile, and this speeds the food through the digestive tract. This is also the reason the extract can ease the symptoms of fullness and bloating.
One UK study also talks about how artichoke leaf extract can help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (1). And given artichoke is a fibrous vegetable, it feeds the healthy probiotic bacteria in the gut and improves gut health (2).

2. Prevent Cancer Growth

Artichoke extracts were found to have negative effects on breast cancer cells in several studies. Research also states that artichokes can slow down the activity of liver cancer cells. All of this can be attributed to silymarin, a flavonoid in artichoke, which was found to be an anticancer agent.
The antioxidants in artichokes, namely rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid, were found to reduce the growth of cancerous cells. The polyphenols in artichokes were also found to induce cancer cell death (3).
As per other reports, the antioxidants in polyphenols kill pancreatic cancer cells as well. This can be attributed to apigenin, one of the compounds in artichokes (4).

3. Improve Liver Health And Aid Detoxification

Artichokes are quite popular for detoxifying your liver. Cynarin and silymarin, two compounds in artichokes, are known to improve liver health by reducing the amount of toxins. Globe artichoke has similar liver-regenerating properties like milk thistle (a plant known particularly for its liver-enhancing properties). The veggie is also known to prevent liver damage.
According to one Turkish study, artichoke leaf extract reduces oxidative stress on the liver (5).

4. Enhances Heart Health

The fiber in artichokes can contribute to heart health. And as per one Italian study, artichokes exhibit lipidic and glycemic-reducing action, which improves heart health to a great extent (6).
Artichoke leaf juice was also found to have antihypertensive effects – especially in those patients with mild hypertension (7). Lowering blood pressure is also one way of protecting the heart from damage and disease. And this can be attributed to the potassium content in the vegetable.
One German study had also proved that artichoke not only lowered bad cholesterol but also increased the levels of good cholesterol. The artichoke leaf extract boosts the flow of bile – and this plays a key role in the excretion of excess cholesterol from the body. The veggies also contain cynarin and lactones, compounds that prevent the synthesis of cholesterol.

5. Improve Skin Health

Artichokes are super rich in antioxidants, which improve skin health and appearance and slow down skin aging. They are also rich in vitamin C, which is one of the biggest contributors to healthy collagen development. And since artichokes aid detoxification, this reflects on your skin health as well – as getting rid of toxins in the body is one way to improve skin appearance.
Using a concoction made of artichokes can give one younger-looking skin.
The antioxidants in artichokes also prevent oxidative stress, which affects skin health. The leaf extract also contains another important chemical called cynaropicrin, which reduces the damage caused by UV rays and protects the skin (8).

6. Might Benefit The Hair

Being a rich source of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as phosphorus and calcium – artichokes revive dry and dull hair and give it that shiny and bouncy appearance.
You can boil green artichoke leaves for about half an hour. Allow the solution to cool and then strain it. Massage into the scalp. You can leave it on overnight and wash with warm water in the morning. This not only improves the appearance of your hair but also treats other hair issues like dandruff and dry scalp.

7. Aid Diabetes Treatment

Being fiber-rich vegetables, artichokes can keep blood sugar levels stable, which is very important for diabetics. The fiber allows glucose to be absorbed into the blood more slowly, and this prevents sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. As per one study, Jerusalem artichoke might improve insulin secretion in diabetic humans (9).
Artichoke extract was also found to inhibit the activity of α-glucosidase, which is an enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose and might spike blood sugar levels (10).

8. Might Aid Weight Loss

Being rich in fiber, artichokes might aid weight loss. Fiber helps the body get rid of waste, sugar, toxins, and excess cholesterol – all of which might lead to weight gain. Studies have shown that taking plenty of fiber is one great way to prevent visceral fat (the kind of fat that gets accumulated around your internal organs).
Also, fiber can expand in your intestines and keep you full for long periods. This, by default, regulates your body weight.
Artichokes are also low in calories and fat, and hence make for an excellent food choice in a weight loss diet. The high fiber content in artichokes also boosts metabolism. And so do the other nutrients like niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid – all of these exhibit optimum metabolic activities.

9. Protect Against Lead Toxicity

Accumulation of lead in the kidneys and other organs can be lethal. But the antioxidant effect of artichokes was found to reduce the concentration of lead in the blood (11).

10. Boost Immunity

One reason is the vitamin C – artichokes are rich in this nutrient, and that pretty much takes care of your immune system. And since artichoke is a good prebiotic, it enhances gut flora, and this also improves immunity.
Artichokes are also a good source of iron, which contributes to a strong immune system as well. And given the veggies are rich in numerous other phytonutrients, they boost the body’s defenses against disease (12).
The high amount of protein in artichokes also enhances immunity – as protein is required for the regeneration of cells.

11. Strengthen Bones

The phytonutrients in artichokes are credited with various benefits, one of them being increased bone strength. They are also rich in magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus – minerals important for bone health and density.
What we need to look at again is the phosphorus in artichokes. This mineral works in tandem with calcium to build bones (13). Artichokes are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants known to keep the bones strong (14).

12. Prevent Birth Defects

Artichokes are rich in folate, which explains everything. Adequate intake of folate before and during pregnancy cuts the risk of birth defects in the newborn – some of which include the underdevelopment of the brain or the spinal cord. Taking 400 to 800 micrograms of folate each day can prevent these defects. One medium artichoke contains 107 micrograms of folate.
The folic acid in artichokes is also a co-factor in enzymatic reactions and DNA synthesis – both of which are important, more so during pregnancy.
Some sources say that adequate intake of folate can cut the risk of birth defects by as much as 70% (15).

13. Might Cure Hangover

Now this is interesting, isn’t it? And probably useful too.
Since artichokes have a beneficial effect on the liver, they might help cure hangovers. But we want to tell you that the evidence is inconclusive. In fact, one study states how ineffective artichoke extract was for curing hangovers (16). So, we suggest you talk to an expert before taking artichoke for this reason.

14. Improve Brain Function

The vitamin K in artichokes does the job here. This vitamin protects the neurons in the brain from damage. And this can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s as well. Artichokes also help expand blood vessels, which allows more oxygen to reach the brain.
And then, we have anthocyanins in artichokes, which guard against brain ailments and maintain mental functioning. And the folate in the veggie preserves memory, emotional health, and even helps treat depression.
Great. Now you know the benefits, and you want to pick a few of these wonder veggies right away. But there’s a catch. You also need to know how to pick ’em. And how to store ’em.

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