This exquisite, healthy vegetable offers many health benefits. The artichoke is bursting with vitamins including several B vitamins - B1, B2, B3, B4, B5 and B6.
This vegetable also contains vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K which are essential to our health and vitality as they significantly encourage and improve bodily functions.
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These important vitamins found in artichokes can energize the body, making us feel more alert and energetic. The vitamin C content in artichokes assist the immune system by strengthening it which in turn helps us to ward off colds, flu, illness and major health diseases.

Artichoke is recognized for its therapeutic and healing qualities and it can even reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, aid the digestive system by helping it to break down fat, and relieve water retention. Another great benefit of artichokes is that eating them can help to keep the liver protected. The artichoke provides many nutrients including beta-carotene, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.

Artichokes are low in calories, they are full of goodness and vitality! The amount of calories in artichoke depends on the way that this vegetable is cooked, for example if the artichoke is baked, grilled, roasted, steamed or boiled. The following calorie guide can be used to calculate the amount of calories in artichokes:

Artichoke Calories per 100 grams:
Boiled Globe Artichoke base, leave and heart - 18 calories
Boiled Jerusalem Artichoke flesh - 41 calories

Artichoke is a large, healthy vegetable that is either purple or green in color. Artichoke grows on stalks and looks different, perhaps a little unusual. The tight leaves form the shape of a globe. The inner leaves are tightly wrapped around the centre of the artichoke. The actual artichoke is the unopened flower bud of a perennial plant. Each individual artichoke bud consists of tough outer leaves. The tips are hard and inedible. The base is quite the opposite as it's tender and fleshy. The leaves are wrapped tightly around the heart of the artichoke. The heart is also known as the thistle or choke as it is a part of the flower bud and it looks like a cone of light colored leaves.

The History of Artichoke
This is a unique and interesting vegetable that originated in the Mediterranean. The artichoke is sometimes confused with cardoons which are closely related but are an uncultivated form of artichoke that were commonly grown in Southern Europe. It is believed that the artichoke first became popular in Italy. This green, healthy vegetable is grown in many European countries as well as other parts of the world. This vegetable is widely grown in France in the area of Brittany.

Picking and Storing Artichoke
Eat artichokes as soon as possible after buying them as the nutritional content will be at its highest. Artichoke can be stored for 2-3 days in the refrigerator if necessary. Try to pick lively and vibrant looking artichokes that are as fresh as possible with tight leaves.

Preparing Artichoke for Cooking and Eating
Remove the stalk by twisting it off. Chop the bases flat and remove any little leaves from the base. Spiky leaves can be trimmed slightly. Wash the artichoke under cold running water.

Boiling Artichoke
Place the artichoke in a pan of water and add the juice of half a lemon to the water. Cook larger sized artichokes in simmering water for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Smaller varieties will take less time to boil. To check if the artichoke is cooked properly, pull off an artichoke leaf. If it's cooked properly, the leaf should pull away easily and the base of it should be tender. Other alternative cooking methods that are suitable for this vegetable include steaming, baking and roasting.

Artichoke is great served with a dip or sauce, such as a vinaigrette dip or garlic butter dip which are very suited to this vegetable and compliment it lovely. There are many artichoke recipes bursting with health benefits and nutrition to try such as stuffed artichoke!

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