While physical activity is integral to a healthy lifestyle, diet is equally important to wellness. A wholesome diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy can help you avoid major illnesses and ensure you have plenty of energy.
Certain foods also contain important vitamins and nutrients, which offer unique benefits. Take artichokes, for instance, which are brimming with nutrition. A type of thistle plant, artichokes are usually steamed and added to recipes like soups, salads, pasta, and more.
When it comes to nutrition, artichokes are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They offer a variety of benefits, from decreased disease risk to improved brain development in babies. Here are a few great reasons to incorporate this amazing food into your diet.
Regulate Your Blood Pressure
Nearly half of all American adults have hypertension or high blood pressure. Unmanaged high blood pressure can increase the chance of stroke, as well as raise a person's heart disease risk. Artichokes contain lots of potassium, which is thought to relieve tension within blood vessels. While high blood pressure can be managed with medication, changing your diet is a good step towards improved wellness.
Decrease Blood Sugar Levels
While research is still being conducted, some studies indicate that consuming artichokes can manage blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is usually linked with diabetes, which can cause a wide range of effects and complications. In addition to insulin therapy, medical professionals also urge people with diabetes to alter their diets to regulate blood sugar. Artichokes are a great dietary addition, as they slow down the process where starch is converted into glucose.
Boost Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is an essential aspect of a healthy diet. Not only is it integral to the digestive process, but it also reduces cholesterol levels and helps maintain a healthy weight. While plenty of fruits and vegetables contain plenty of fiber, artichokes are brimming with it. In fact, a medium-sized artichoke can account for a substantial percentage of a person's recommended daily fiber intake.
Speaking of digestion, artichokes contain a very specific type of fiber that has been shown to balance bacteria levels in the gut. Good gut bacteria ensure food is properly digested, which reduces symptoms like bloating and heartburn. It also lowers your chance of developing bowel cancer in the future. In addition to eating artichokes on their own, you can also use an extract to treat symptoms of digestion.
Lower Your Disease Risk
Artichokes are also a great source of antioxidants. These molecules fight compounds called free radicals, which are associated with a range of serious diseases and medical conditions. Eating foods rich in antioxidants ensures the proper balance of free radicals in the body, which reduces disease risk and enhances overall health. They also help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can result in a better immune system response.
Ensure Healthy Fetal Development
Diet is a crucial concern for pregnant women, as nutritious foods help with proper fetal development. Folate, also known as folic acid, is commonly recommended to pregnant women, as it can reduce the chance of birth defects involving the brain and spine. Folate can also be found in many foods, including artichokes, leafy greens, and beans. In addition to a reduced birth defect risk, proper intake of folate is also linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
Cooking artichokes can be a little intimidating for the uninitiated. The real deliciousness is in the heart at the center of the vegetable, which entails a little cutting and trimming to get to it. Once the artichoke has been prepped, it can be easily steamed and enjoyed in a variety of preparations.