Before the health Benefits of the Mediterranean diet were well-known, there was probably no single food more emblematic of Mediterranean cuisine than the globe artichoke. And indeed, artichokes contain fructans, such as inulin; cynarin, which appears to help lower cholesterol and protect liver cells; and luteolin, an antioxidant that may also be involved in healthy carbohydrate metabolism.
The edible part of the artichoke is the flower bud. The feathery part known as the “choke” is the immature flower. If it is allowed to bloom, the flower resembles a thistle, with a purple feathery top. Artichoke hearts are well worth the effort of nibbling away the leaves and peeling back the choke, for they are very rich in antioxidants.
A cup of artichoke hearts has as high an Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) rating as a cup of blackberries.
Artichokes are a good source of the minerals magnesium, chromium, manganese, and potassium, as well as vitamins A and C, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and biotin. They also provide dietary fiber.Nutritional Facts
One medium boiled artichoke provides 150 calories, 33.5 g carbohydrate, 10.4 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 16.2 g dietary fiber, 531 IU vitamin A, 30 mg vitamin C, 3 mg niacin, 153 mcg folic acid, 1062 mg potassium, 285 mg sodium, 258 mg phosphorus, 135 mg calcium, 3.87 mg iron, 180 mg magnesium, and 1.47 mg zinc.