Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean and are classified as a member of the sunflower family. Originally grown in Italy and Sicily as far back as 300 BC they were a delicacy to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In 800 AD the artichoke was introduced to Spain by the African Moors who brought the plant from Sicily. The artichoke we know today was developed in this region and eventually brought to Louisiana in the 1800s by French immigrants escaping the wrath of the French Revolution. Spaniard settlers brought the plant west in the late 1800s to the Salinas Valley of California where it thrives to this day and where nearly all of the US production originates.
8 Amazing Health Benefits of the Artichoke
1.High in antioxidants: The USDA found that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable, and they ranked seventh in a study of antioxidant levels of 1000 different foods. A Harvard study found that the best way to add antioxidants to your diet is to eat the foods in which they occur naturally, rather than from supplements.
2.Cancer prevention and treatment: Studies have shown that artichokes induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce cell growth in many different forms of cancer. Artichokes contain 3 different cancer-fighting molecules. A ¼ cup per day of artichoke hearts may help prevent the growth of cancer cells.
3.Increased bile flow: Artichokes contain cynarin which increases bile flow. Bile helps to emulsify the fats in food, which aids in the absorption of the fat-soluble substances, such as essential vitamins A, D and K.
4.Digestion aid: Artichokes are a natural diuretic, aid digestion, improve gallbladder function and greatly benefit the liver.
5.Healthy liver: Thanks to the antioxidants in artichokes, studies show that they are very beneficial to the liver and may even regenerate liver tissue. For centuries folk and alternative medicine have professed the benefits of artichokes for the liver, now scientific studies are proving them correct.
6.Cholesterol reduction: Artichokes have been shown to lower cholesterol by inhibiting the production of cholesterol producing enzymes by the liver. They raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
7.High in fiber: 6 oz. of Monterey Farms ArtiHearts supply half the recommended daily intake of fiber. Eat your bag-a-day.
8.Hangover cure: Because of the positive effects the artichoke has on the liver it has long been considered a hangover cure. Instead of “hair of the dog”, try a bag of ArtiHearts.
Sources: healthdiaries.com, health foods.com, doctoroz.com