It’s time for this fabulous vegetable to shine for the next couple months. Take advantage right now of artichokes because when they are in season (March May), they are amazing!! If you have been intimidated by them, now is the time to conquer that fear. Maybe you are training for your first triathlon, your first half Ironman or your first marathon? This word fear has no place in your life, right?! But shouldn’t food be easier than this, should you really have to take a lesson on how to eat something? Why, yes, you should and here is why. Clinical and experimental trials have shown eating artichokes may be useful in treating chronic digestive complaints including irritable stomach, nervous gastropathy, flatulence, and irritable bowel. But endurance athletes aren’t really concerned with their digestive health, now are they? You ever been flatlined in a race because your stomach just didnt cooperate? Well, get your artichoke on.
Check out the many other benefits from the foodmatters.com website. Artichokes are useful in treating specific liver/gallbladder conditions with elevated blood fat values by promoting bile flow in the body, increasing fat digestion and protecting the intestinal mucosa. Bile acids stimulate intestinal peristalsis resulting in better digestion. Bile moves toxins that are ingested through food, water and the air from the liver on to the intestine for further elimination, making it a powerful detoxer.
Artichokes have been proven through clinical studies to be a safe, nontoxic, natural way to prevent and treat high cholesterol. They increase the breakdown of cholesterol to bile salts, thus increasing bile production and flow, and regulate the internal production of cholesterol in the liver.
Artichokes have been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). One study showed a decrease in total cholesterol of 18.5 and LDL cholesterol by 23. This amazing plant had actually gained widespread popularity in the 1950`s and 60`s before statin drugs came along. They contain high amounts of luteolin, which is known to play a role in it cholesterol lowering abilities.
So, really, deciding to cook an artichoke for maybe the first time really is a simple decision when you put it in the right context.
Here are a couple of links to great uses and cooking methods for artichokes. I prefer to steam them as opposed to boil them. I also LOVE to dip them in lemon spiked olive oil, but honestly, I can eat them just plain because they are that good. Each bite gets you closer to the prize on the inside…the glorious “heart” of the artichoke that really is what all the work is for. Funny story, my motherinlaw used to tell my husband that once he ate all the leaves off the artichoke, you were done. So, when he got to the heart and the “hairy” part, he thought that was it. Then, she would clear their plates and head into the kitchen where she would precede to eat all of the hearts for herself!! Awesomeness!
Did I mention how they look in your hair as a beautiful flower? Or how portable they are on the bike? I mean, the pouches on the back of your cycling jersey are there for a reason. Think out of the box sometimes ya know. You can just grab a leaf as you ride and you have constant nutrition for your long ride. Yeah, maybe not, but still eat em!
Check out these sites for some ideas on how to prep and cook them:
Thanks for joining me on another Foodie Friday! Food is a constant journey that takes you to new places… & I love being part of your journey.