Whether you boil, steam or braise an artichoke, this vegetable is packed with a host of health benefits.
Experts say that artichokes are high in antioxidants — more so than most vegetables. Antioxidants neutralise and remove free radicals from your bloodstream, thereby maintaining good health. Artichokes contain antioxidants like rutin, cynarin, quercertin, silymarin, luteolin and anthocyanins.
Certain studies reveal that women who regularly consume artichokes have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who don't. Artichoke leaf extracts induce cell death and reduce cell proliferation in prostate cancer and leukemia. Artichoke leaves have a polyphenol antioxidant known as cynarin, which is said to increase bile flow. The antioxidants present in artichokes also protect the liver and even regenerate liver tissue. Being natural diuretics, artichokes are an excellent digestive aid. They improve gallbladder function and ensure that your digestive system works smoothly. The leaves of artichokes are said to have properties that reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, raising good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). Packed with fibre, artichokes help maintain bowel health.
Boiling artichokes Cut off the stems first and then remove the hard outer leaves, which are there near the stem. Wash them with lukewarm water and let them dry naturally. Cut the top of the artichokes. Add salt to a pan of water and heat it until it is boiling. Add the washed artichokes and place them so that they stand upright. On low heat, cover the pan and let the artichokes boil for about 20 to 30 minutes. An easy way to see if they are boiled, is to pull out the inner leaves. If they come out easily, your artichokes are boiled.