Artichokes are like most other vegetables in that the mere act of cooking them destroys some of the valuable nutrients within. The most common method of cooking artichokes is boiling and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But if you really want to take advantage of the nutritional goodies that artichokes have to offer, you should consider switching over to a method of steaming. Steaming the artichokes will keep more of the nutrients from wasting away than boiling them and you may even find that the result tastes better.
Folate is one of those nutrients that is going to get winnowed out of the meal if you boil artichokes rather than steam them. Since one large raw artichoke contains about 30% of the daily recommended amount of folate the average person needs, you should do whatever you can to keep the vitamin packed in there. Pregnant women need more than the average minimum so this is especially good advice for those who are expecting. Doctors recommend pregnant women increase the amount of folate they consume because studies have linked it to a decrease in the potential for neural tube defects in babies. But even those who aren’t pregnant women can get something from the artichoke. Studies have indicated great potential for folate to decreasing the risk of developing macular degeneration as you age. When taken with other members of the family of B-vitamins, folate just may have the power to keep you seeing well as you enter your twilight years.
A unique acid known as cynarin is found in artichokes that can go beyond nutrition to make artichokes worthy of addition to your diet. Cynarin works a little bit of scientific magic on your taste buds so that any food eaten after you have consumed artichokes will taste just a little bit sweeter. The alchemy at work here could have the effect of making other nutritious vegetables you don’t particularly care for taste just sweet enough to refashion your opinion. That’s certainly a possible value of eating artichokes for the cynarin. But wait, there’s more. Cynarin is also a phytochemical with antioxidant properties, meaning that eating artichokes also carries with it the possibility of fending off cancer and lowering levels of bad cholesterol.
That very same large raw artichoke also provides one-quarter of the amount of magnesium you should be getting each day. Magnesium is a mineral that is absolutely vital to the process of heart maintenance. If you don’t get the magnesium you need, you could be facing a future of irregular heartbeats. Besides keeping the rhythm of the heart in motion to the tune of health, magnesium can help fend off unpleasant bouts of constipation as well as possibly play a part in maintaining mental equilibrium. Artichokes could be one small part of your path toward a health heart and a health brain.