Artichokes do not get the credit that they deserve as a superfood. But their antioxidant capacity puts them in the top four vegetables and seventh overall according to a study conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The Artichoke, also known as cynara, is a member of the thistle family, a group of flowering plants that have sharp leaves (and also Winne the Pooh’s friend Eeyore’s favorite food!). The edible part of the plant is the flower base which if allowed to blossom, can create a beautiful huge purple flower.
A wonderful spring vegetable that are packed with phytonutrients, artichokes were prized in Ancient Roman times as an aphrodisiac. A wonderful natural remedy for elevated cholesterol, the artichoke doesn’t just lower cholesterol, it optimizes it – lowering LDL levels, and raising HDL levels. A double-blind placebo controlled German study found 1,800 mg of artichoke extract to lower LDL by 22.9% in just 6 weeks (compared to 6% in the placebo group), read more! Artichoke is also supportive of liver detoxification, which is important for healthy cholesterol levels, hormone regulation, and much more.
Although most people’s favorite part of the artichoke is the heart, the leaves contain the vast majority of the cynarin, which offers the powerful health benefits. You can buy the extract, or artichoke supplements, but one of the best ways to extract the nutrition is to make organic artichoke tea.
Note: if your tea is a drab brownish green color, you might have overcooked it. Sometimes, the tea will start out a lightish green and will brighten in the refrigerator over a few hours.
*If you can not find an organic artichoke, or do not want to go through all the above steps – you could use an artichoke tincture, or organic artichoke tea bags.
Artichoke tea supports the liver to cleanse by enhancing the excretion of unwanted toxins in bile. When the liver is better supported, it can help to improve hormone regulation, and improve the quality of the skin:
The above recipe is one of the over 50 recipes in Sara’s book The Perfect Metabolism Plan.
**Note: Persons taking prescription medications, an allergy to the thistle family, or with an existing health condition should consult a doctor before taking the above foods, herbs, vitamins or supplements to be sure there are no interactions. Do not stop taking your prescription medications without consulting your doctor.
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
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