Who here loves artichoke and spinach dip?
What if we told you that artichokes have the power to clear your skin from the inside, aid liver detox and functions, and even lower cholesterol?
Bet you’d want some more!
The magic of nature never ceases to amaze us. There’s a wealth of options to improve our health and get our bodies thriving with the right foods. And while we’re not saying a super cheesy and oily - yet delicious - spinach and artichoke dip is the answer, we’re sure once you read this post, you’ll be running to the nearest organic supermarket!
In this post we’ll cover:
- The artichoke as a medicinal plant
- Artichoke leaf benefits
- How to add artichoke leaf to your diet
- Artichoke leaf extract benefits
The Artichoke as a Medicinal Plant
Artichoke is a superfood rich in antioxidant and prebiotics, that has been linked to gut flora rehabilitation, weight loss, and cardiovascular health prevention. Although they’re consumed often as a vegetable, they’re actually categorized as a “thistle,” flowering plants with sharp prickly edges.
You might be familiar with delicious artichoke leaf snacks (hello artichoke dip!) but new to artichoke leaf health benefits. However, the health benefits of artichoke leaves have been known to Mediterranean natural medicine for centuries!
Cultivated both by the Greek and Romans, traditional medicine leveraged artichoke leaf benefits for digestion and healthy liver function. Later in Europe artichoke leaf became a plant reserved for royals, used both in meals and as a diuretic. In the 1900’s it was used as a "choleretic" allegedly stimulating bile flow.
The artichoke leaf health benefits gained popularity when cynarin was discovered, a chemical compound in the artichoke leaf.
You may not recognize the name, but it became a drug used in Italy and France to treat high cholesterol in animals, and later in people.
Fast-forward to today, artichoke leaf benefits continue to be investigated by western medicine. Artichoke leaf extract is now used as a popular supplement, with more and more benefits being studied and recorded.
Artichoke Leaf Benefits
To understand the artichoke leaf benefits, one must know its chemical composition and where to find them:
- Artichoke contains some bioactive agents called apigenin and luteolin.
- Its main component is Cynarine, a chemical of the Cynara family, that has been linked to cholesterol control and hepatoprotective properties.
- Most of the cynarine in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves.
- Artichoke leaf extract health benefits are more readily available, than when you eat an artichoke on its own.
Here’s a list of artichoke leaf benefits that will make you want to add artichokes to your diet, as well as some tips on how to do just that.
#1 An Artichoke Leaf is Nutrient-Packed
A medium artichoke (128 grams raw, 120 grams cooked) has vitamins, minerals, fiber, and one of the highest antioxidant percentage of all plant-based nutrients.
120g of Boiled Artichokes have:
- 6.8g of fiber
- 3.5g of protein
- 14.3g of carbs
- 0.4g of fat
- 27% of the RDI of Folate
- 22% of the RDI Vitamin K
- 15% of the RDI of Vitamin C
- 5% of the RDI Vitamin B
- 13% of the RDI of Magnesium
- 9% of the RDI of Phosphorus
- 10% of the RDI of Potassium
- 4% of the RDI of Iron
- 5% of the RDI of thiamine
- 6% of the RDI of riboflavin
- 7% of the RDI of niacin
Artichoke benefits the immune system with their antioxidant properties, and provide an important source of Vitamin K which the liver leverages in blood clotting. At nearly 7g of fiber per medium artichoke, this unseemingly mighty thistle provides 23-28% of the recommended daily intake.
The best part?
There are only about 60 calories in that medium artichoke plus nearly 4g of protein - a really high number for a plant source - and they are delicious!
#2 May Help Lower “Bad” Cholesterol
Artichoke leaf benefits have long been considered to include lowering cholesterol, in fact, a 700 people case study followed the benefits of artichoke leaf extract for up to 13 weeks, noting “significant reduction in both total and LDL cholesterol.”
A parallel study concluded that artichoke leaf extract benefits people at risk of coronary art disease, atherosclerosis, and hyperlipoproteinemia. The study followed 143 subjects, divided into two groups: the group exposed to artichoke leaf extra saw a reduction of 18.5% in LDL levels.
Similar animal studies reveal consistent results.
#3 May Help Aid in Healthy Digestion
Because of its high fiber content artichoke leaf benefits the digestive tract and system, promoting healthy gut bacteria, regular bowel movements. When regular in your diet, this could potentially help with dyspepsia, indigestion, and reducing associated bloating.
#4 May Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
According to research, artichoke leaf benefits patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) through inulin, a prebiotic substance that helps balance gut flora and may help reduce or stop muscle spasms.
#5 Might Support Liver Function
Cynarin (that active ingredient we mentioned above) has also been linked to the production of bile which helps the liver remove toxins from the body.
#6 Could Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Artichoke leaf benefits include slowing the activity of alpha-glucosidase, according to research, an enzyme that breaks down starch to form glucose, which may potentially influence blood sugar levels.
Interestingly, a small study following healthy individuals and metabolic syndrome patients found that boiled artichoke leafs reduced insulin and blood sugar levels for healthy individuals, but not for the patients. More research is needed, but it’s a promising feature of artichoke leaf and artichoke leaf extract.
#7 May Have Antimicrobial Properties
Artichoke leaf extract health benefits seem to include antimicrobial properties, in test tube studies, artichoke leaf extract inhibited the fungal activity of eight different types of fungi. Additionally, research shows its phenolic compounds worked against bacteria, mold, and yeast.
#8 May Work Against Lead Toxicity
In animal studies, artichoke leaf extract helped reduced lead toxicity in the blood of affected rats. More insight is required, but its main compound, cynarin, could be used to help humans in the future.
#9 It Could Clear Your Skin
Artichoke leaf benefits your skin through the antioxidant properties it carries. Oxidative stress accelerates aging, damages healthy tissue, and slowly -but steadily- leads to decay. Cynaropicirin, present in artichoke leaves, reduces oxidative stress produced by UV rays, thereby protecting the skin and supporting a clear visage.
#10 May Protect Against Heart Disease
Artichoke leaf extract health benefits have long been thought to help reduce cholesterol. In addition to that, animal studies showed that artichoke leaf benefits the heart in a different way: not only does it protect the arteries from excess fat build-up but it inhibits MMP-9, a metalloproteinase involved in plaque accumulation in the veins and arterial rupture.
#11 Could Slow or Stop Cancer Growth
The antioxidants found in artichoke leaf and artichoke leaf extract, specifically quercetin, rutin, and gallic acid, inhibit cancer cell growth. Additionally, a medical investigation revealed that “long term exposure” to the artichoke’s polyphenols stopped breast cancer cells from dividing and spreading.
Artichoke leaf benefits may include reduced abdominal bloating and even a little weight loss, as they promote healthy bowel movements, have the potential to control blood sugar spikes and are super low-cal!
How to Add Artichoke Leaf to Your Diet
The edible portion of the artichoke plant is the flower bud before it blooms.
This artichoke flower-head is a cluster of multiple budding flowers. To get the health benefits of artichoke leaf, one would have to consume a large number of artichokes. It is mostly recommended in extract form, which has a concentrated amount of the natural compound cynarin.
Nevertheless, it’s always good to consume plants in their natural form, therefore:
Eat Artichoke Leaf
There are many delicious recipes, and you can even add them to juices (more on that soon), but for now, just know you can eat them:
Remember that the power of cynarin is in the leaf - not the heart! They’re called artichoke leaf benefits for a reason!
Get Artichoke Leaf Extract Health Benefits
Research shows that the best dosage is 300–640 mg of artichoke leaf extract three times a day. Artichoke Leaf Extract is made from dehydrated and concentrated artichoke leaf and artichoke leaf active compound Cynarin.
It is considered safe to consume and it is available in many natural and herbal remedies stores.
- Easier nutrient absorption
- Faster results
- Liver and immune system boost
- A more effective way to track your health progress
Organifi is excited to announce that our latest superfood blend, Organifi Liver Detox, is now available! We've carefully measured the ingredients to ensure the right concentration in order to maximize the positive effects of each one. That means that your superfood blend will include these incredible artichoke leaf benefits, combined with other nutrients designed to help your body run like a well-oiled machine - always vegan, natural, and healthy.
We can’t wait to share it with you and get you on your way to a happy, healthy liver! In the meantime, have some boiled artichoke snacks and get that system-boosting plant rotating in your menu.
And tell us how it went - because we’re in this together.