Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Superfood of the Week: Health Benefits of Artichokes

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Artichoke
Spring is in the air, which not only means blooming flowers and warmer weather, but delicious and in-season foods that are good for your body and your health. Spring vegetables are fresh and delicious, and many add beneficial nutrients to your every day diet. When I’m looking for a refreshing go-to food, I instantly think of one that provides essential vitamins and does wonders for your body: the artichoke!

If artichokes aren’t at the top of your shopping list, it may be because they may seem unfamiliar and hard to prepare. Have no fear: this super-food is easy to get a hang of, and definitely a must-eat!

Health Benefits of Artichokes

With 60 calories and no fat in an artichoke, this food is great for weight loss and weight maintenance while providing many other health benefits as well:

Artichokes are the vegetable ranked highest in antioxidant levels. They are very high in a certain antioxidant known as phytonutrients in the form of cynarin and silymarin, which can aid in digestion, liver problems, gallbladder function, and cholesterol levels.

Artichokes are high in essential nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium for disease prevention and healthful living.

They are also high in dietary fiber, providing about 25 percent of the daily recommendations.

Preparing Artichokes

Even though artichokes may look hard to handle, if you follow a few easy steps you’ll be able to enjoy them in no time! Pick artichokes that have a deep green color and leaves that are close together. If you squeeze the artichoke and it squeaks, that is a sign it is ripe and ready for cooking. To prepare:

  • rinse the artichoke thoroughly before cooking
  • remove the tough, lower petals
  • slice off the stem, and the top of the artichoke
  • stand artichoke in a large saucepan, cover halfway with water and simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes
  • check for doneness by pulling on a center petal - if it removes easily the artichoke is done

And that’s all! To eat, take each leaf by the non-fleshy side, and pull the other side through your teeth to remove the tender flesh.  Discard the rest of the petal. When you get to the heart, remove the hair and eat the delicious part underneath.  For a delectable meal or side dish, try this steamed artichoke recipe for great nutrition with all the taste. Enjoy!

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Tags: Antioxidants , Superfood of the Week , Vegetarian

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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