This delicious, fiber-rich vegetable contains silymarin, which has been studied and found to reduce inflammation and growth of tumor cells in the liver. These studies showed benefits for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, liver toxicity due to drugs and chemicals, and increased survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis. Silymarin also helped improve insulin resistance. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434).
A widely used source of silymarin is from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, commonly taken as a supplement. Milk thistle can also be brewed as a tea.
Artichokes also contain silymarin! They aid the liver and gallbladder by helping to break down fatty foods, which can help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and help to lower cholesterol.
Artichokes are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and folate, all of which are important for heart health.
You can cook fresh artichokes, buy them frozen, or keep canned artichoke hearts on hand. Canned ones (I prefer those in glass jars) should be packed in water or extra-virgin olive oil. Read the labels!
I often top my pizza with artichoke hearts to add fiber and help digest fat in the cheese. Many pizza places offer artichokes as a topping. Add them to a green salad, chicken or tuna salad, eggs, meat and pasta dishes, or eat them with cheese and crackers, etc. Try the easy recipe below for a quick dip, spread, or pesto.
Amazing Artichoke Topping
Blend until smooth:
Approximately 10 jarred artichoke hearts (drained)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc.)
1/8 teaspoon mineral-rich salt
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (pressed)
Eat as is, or get creative and blend in some fresh spinach or parsley, pine nuts, or beans. Adjust liquid (a little water or liquid from the jarred artichokes) and seasonings to taste. Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy version.
Eat with 100% whole-grain crackers, cheese from grass-fed cows or sheep, and/or raw veggies. Use as a sandwich spread. Mix into pasta or rice, or use a topping for chicken, fish, or beef.
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP
1 Corinthians 10:31– “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.