Pop quiz: Which of these two foods has more fiber, oats or artichokes?

If you thought oats have the highest amount of fiber, you’re incorrect! Artichokes have more dietary fiber than any vegetable or grain. A medium-sized artichoke has 7 grams of fiber – 28 percent of daily recommended fiber.

But the benefits of artichokes don’t end there. Here are 7 reasons you should eat artichokes or take artichoke leaf extract.

1. Regulate cholesterol levels

Artichokes contain cynarin, an acid that increases bile production in the liver and consequently lowers cholesterol levels in the body.

It’s also worth noting that fiber helps remove bad cholesterol from the body. According to this study, cholesterol levels of participants who took artichoke leaf extract (ALE) for 12 weeks were reduced by 4.2 percent.

2. Improve your digestion

Artichokes will improve your digestion, thanks to fiber and cynarin. For one thing, cynarin eliminates bloating and helps relieve digestive pain.

Fiber improves bowel movement thus preventing constipation and gas. But for fiber to work, you have to be properly hydrated.

3. Improve liver function

Artichokes will improve liver health due to their strong antioxidant properties. In fact, they can lower risk of liver cancer. In this study, researchers found that artichokes slowed down activity of liver cancer cells.

4. Lower blood pressure

Artichokes contain potassium which helps offset the effects of high sodium intake. And as you may know, high sodium intake increases blood pressure. It’s also worth noting that potassium helps reduce water retention and bloating.

5. Fight free radicals

Did you know that a medium-sized artichoke contains 25 percent of daily recommended vitamin C? This vitamin has antioxidant action that stops free radicals from stressing and damaging your cells. Vitamin C also helps wounds heal fast and strengthens the immune function.

6. Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Artichokes contain vitamin K. This vitamin is widely known for helping blood clot, but it can also improve brain function and consequently lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Vitamin K regulates calcium levels in the brain (and bones as well). Research shows that people with low levels of vitamin K have dysregulated calcium in the brain and this can cause Alzheimer’s.

7. Boost metabolic function

Artichokes will boost your metabolic function because they contain manganese. This nutrient is used in the metabolism of fatty acids, cholesterol and amino acids. Your body absorbs nutrients optimally when it gets enough manganese.

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-benefits-of-artichokes-you-didnt-know.html

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